MD2450 London Borough of Culture 2019 – 2024

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
08 April 2019
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor has established a London Borough of Culture award, inspired by the European and UK City of Culture programmes, where winning London boroughs are the focus of a celebration of their unique arts, culture and heritage. MD2107 and MD2287 approved total expenditure of £4.537m to launch the first competition and announce two title awards for winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020 and a further six Cultural Impact Awards.

This decision seeks approval for new expenditure of £4.86m for round two of the programme from 2019/20 – 2023/24, running a further competition and announcing two title award winning boroughs for 2021 and 2023 and three Cultural Impact Awards.


That the Mayor approves:

1. Revenue expenditure of £4.86m between 2019/20 to 2023/24 on round two of the London Borough of Culture Programme; and

2. Delegations to the Executive Director for Communities and Intelligence to:

· Approve (via a decision form) detailed expenditure plans for the cultural partnerships and youth programme strand outlined in this decision, once full details have been developed;
· Receive £200k of grant funding as a contribution towards the London Borough of Culture programme as detailed in this decision; proposals for the expenditure of the grant funding will be detailed and approved via director decision form(s); and
· Receive additional financial contributions from third parties, which may include sponsorship, towards the London Borough of Culture programme, to enhance programme delivery; proposals for the expenditure of these contributions will be detailed and approved via director decision form(s).

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background
  • The Mayor launched London Borough of Culture in 2017 and it is a flagship commitment in his Culture Strategy, ‘Culture for all Londoners’. London Borough of Culture is an award that celebrates the unique and distinctive character, people and heritage of London’s boroughs – a vivid tapestry of distinctive neighbourhoods that make London one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the world - a city for all Londoners. Through a city-wide competition, it provides winning boroughs with crucial support and investment to work with their residents to build stronger, more resilient and creative communities. 
  • Its purpose is to deliver ambitious cultural programmes which are underpinned by the active engagement of residents, placing culture at the heart of communities, inspiring new and diverse talent and creativity, and drawing visitors from across the city and beyond. The programme aims to improve social integration and cohesion, increase the number of active citizens, contribute to increased wellbeing and improve the perception of boroughs as cultural destinations. It also aims to embed culture for the long term across borough strategy and policy.
  • The programme recognises London boroughs that:
  • Identify the greatest ambition to deepen and broaden residents’ engagement with the arts;
  • Use culture to transform people’s lives;
  • Shine a spotlight on local areas that celebrate culture and communities; and
  • Deliver excellence and innovation in creative programming and amplify the creative work that takes place under the radar and in every day settings.


  1. The opening weekend of the first ever London Borough of Culture, Waltham Forest, in January 2019 featured work created with 2,000 artists, residents and young people from the borough. Waltham Forest have engaged 770 volunteers and the opening programme attracted 70,000 visitors against a target of 50,000, of whom 78% were local residents and 22% were attracted from outside of the borough, demonstrating the scale and reach of the programme so far.


London Borough of Culture – Round one


  1. Under cover of MD2107 and MD2287, the Mayor approved expenditure of £4.537m of GLA funds from 2017/18 to 2020/21 to launch the competition and announce two winning boroughs for 2019 and 2020 and six cultural impact awards.
  3. Following a borough engagement programme, the GLA received applications from 22 London boroughs wishing to be the first and second London Borough of Culture. After a competitive and rigorous selection process, the two winning boroughs were announced on 27 February 2018 as title winners; London Borough of Waltham Forest for 2019 and London Borough of Brent for 2020. Each borough has been allocated grant funding of £1.35m.
  5. More than 15,000 people in Waltham Forest pledged their support for the borough’s bid. Waltham Forest’s programme aims to engage 85% of its households and to double the current number of visits to the borough to one million. It is also running a borough-wide volunteering programme called Legends of the Forest.
  7. Brent’s programme will be driven by the ideas and energy of the borough’s young people, working with artists, venues, policymakers and community groups to explore how culture is defined and valued by people in Brent. London has been selected as one of 12 host cities for the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship (EURO 2020), with Wembley Stadium as the host venue, creating significant volunteering and engagement opportunities through both this and the London Borough of Culture programme.


Cultural Impact Awards


  1. A further six boroughs were selected as winners of a Cultural Impact Award to deliver significant exemplary projects to engage and support diverse Londoners through culture. A total of £1,004,700 grant funding was allocated for the activity outlined below.
  3. Barking and Dagenham: £233,700 for New Town Culture, a pioneering new programme bringing the power of art and culture into social care services. Working with Serpentine Galleries and The Foundling Museum, children and adults using social care services are taking part in courses, exhibitions, radio broadcasts and live performances. The project’s goal is to support social workers and carers to try out new ways of working to enhance their work.
  5. Camden: £225,000 for Camden Alive, working across ten housing estates to bring residents, artists and cultural organisations together. Through music, dance, food, fashion, gardening, performance and visual art the stories of neighbourhoods will unfold and be showcased in a virtual Camden People’s Museum. The ambition is that Camden Alive will become an annual festival. Central St. Martins, University of the Arts, is working in the estates, holding creative workshops with residents through tenant associations and community centres.
  7. Kingston: £90,000 for CIRKT, creating a live music circuit to build on the area’s rich music heritage. CIRKT will culminate in two festivals of music in summer and winter 2019. A talent development competition is supporting independent and young musicians and providing performance platforms for emerging talent in Kingston. Local venues and community spaces are being supported to present live music, diversifying offers for residents and visitors.
  9. Lambeth: £200,000 for Next Generation, through which young people, including Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and underrepresented Londoners, will get help to develop careers in the arts, inspiring the next generation of creative leaders. Cultural institutions including the Southbank Centre, Old Vic, BFI and the National Theatre are involved alongside leading grassroots organisations including 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning and Photofusion. In 2019 they aim to involve 2,000 residents, 50% of whom will be BAME Londoners.
  11. Lewisham: £216,000 for Age Against the Machine, the Albany and Entelechy Arts festival of creative ageing in autumn 2019 which aims to harness the power of culture to help people live longer, happier, more independent lives. Projects include an immersive theatre show devised with older residents and set in a care home, a large-scale commission with the ‘Meet Me at the Albany’ Choir for people over 60 years old and singers from Trinity Laban, a symposium bringing together care providers and arts professionals, and small grants for residents and local groups to create work for the festival.
  13. Merton: £40,000 for Film Merton, taking an innovative approach to establishing a new local cinema in Mitcham. By demonstrating resident demand through starting a new film festival curated by local people, the borough will make the case for future investment in a cinema in the borough. The project is engaging local people and groups to lead the cultural commissioning and decision making, aiming to increase longer term cultural opportunities in the borough.


Youth programmes


  1. Supporting young Londoners in the title winning boroughs, £350,000 has been allocated to Battersea Arts Centre to develop and deliver a creative entrepreneurs programme. Called ‘The Agency’, this programme will support the next generation of culture leaders by investing in young people to develop new social business ideas. The Agency works with young people who live on local housing estates or in social housing to focus on those that are most in need of support. This also ensures that the creative business ideas that develop through The Agency are impacting on some of the UK’s most deprived communities. The Agency will empower young people to reimagine their communities with positive projects. Previous beneficiaries have included care-leavers; refugees; excluded pupils; young people who are not in education, employment or training; and ex-offenders. Battersea Arts Centre is applying their successful methodology to reach a diverse mix of young people in the winning boroughs, Waltham Forest and Brent.
  3. The remaining £480,000 has supported development grants to the 22 boroughs who applied so that they could engage specialist advice and support for their applications; a borough training and engagement programme and ongoing support to London Councils’ London Culture Forum; the set up and delivery of the programme evaluation and support for boroughs to set up their own evaluations; staffing costs; stakeholder engagement activity including community events; the set-up of the application portal; and competition delivery.


Outputs and outcomes to date


  1. At this early point in round one programme delivery, a range of outputs and outcomes have already been achieved.
  3. In Waltham Forest, the borough’s first round of £550,000 of Fellowship Funding received 165 applications and distributed £135,000 to 12 local projects. These successful projects will feature 59 artists leading 445 performances and 232 workshops that aim to reach a live audience of nearly 90,000 people and over 100,000 people online. Waltham Forest also held ‘Meet the Funders’ events for unsuccessful applicants to introduce them to other sources of funding including the Big Lottery Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Said Foundation and Community Waltham Forest.
  5. Brent also opened applications to its 2020 Culture Fund, a £500,000 fund to support local people, organisations and groups to lead their own activities during London Borough of Culture.
  7. For ‘Welcome to the Forest’, Waltham Forest’s opening weekend, 119 volunteers contributed 1,155 hours to roles supporting wayfinding, artist liaison, visitor experience, technical and production runners, providing volunteer training and experience. Audience engagement at Welcome to the Forest included attendance of 70,000 over one weekend, 90% of whom reported they thought the quality of the artworks ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
  9. The Mayor’s investment has also helped the boroughs to secure additional funding of £9m[1] for their boroughs. For example, Waltham Forest has successfully secured four headline sponsors, as well as two programme sponsors for its volunteering programme.
  11. By engaging in the programme, boroughs reported that the bidding process enabled new ways of engaging with local residents and improved working across council departments. For example, in Lambeth, they used their London Borough of Culture bid to inform their Creative and Digital Industries Strategy, which was published in 2018.
  13. Other outputs have included a cultural tube map for Waltham Forest, produced in partnership with TfL and promoted throughout the network to drive visitors to the borough.


London Borough of Culture – round two


  • This decision requests approval for expenditure of up to £4.86m from 2019/20 to 2023/24 to deliver a second round of the London Borough of Culture programme.
  • The development of the second round has been informed by evaluation and feedback from boroughs and the programme’s Strategic Partners’ Board.  Round two will deliver:
  • Two title winning London Borough of Culture awards, one in 2021 and one in 2023;
  • At least three Cultural Impact Awards to three further boroughs;
  • A programme of cultural partnerships and youth programmes in local areas;
  • Capacity building and training for boroughs through a borough support and engagement programme, including grants to aid the development of high-quality bids; and
  • An evaluation and dissemination programme to share what is learnt from delivery.



Title awards


  1. Each of the two title award winning boroughs will be allocated £1.35m to host London Borough of Culture in 2021 and 2023. This is the same amount of funding allocated to the title grants in 2019 and 2020. This level of funding has proven successful in supporting the development of ambitious borough-wide programmes, including enabling substantial outreach and community engagement programmes such as local grant making. It has also proven to help lever substantial funding to the title winning boroughs; at least £4.4m for Waltham Forest and nearly £2m for Brent to date.


Cultural Impact Awards


  1. A minimum of three Cultural Impact Awards in other boroughs will be supported, with grants of up to £200,000 each. These additional awards will enable more boroughs to benefit from the London Borough of Culture programme. Recipient boroughs will be able to engage more of their local residents in their projects, helping to create greater positive social impact across the programme.


  1. Cultural Impact Award funding seeks to support activity that will celebrate creativity and leave a lasting legacy for the borough and its residents. It will help to make a step change in a focused area; by way of example, Barking and Dagenham’s project has focused on improving experiences within the social care system, and in Lewisham, their Cultural Impact Award is promoting the value of older people’s participation and creativity.


Cultural partnerships and youth programmes


  1. Cultural partnerships and youth programmes will be developed and delivered alongside round two of London Borough of Culture, maximising the benefits to Londoners and London’s communities. Plans for this investment will be subject to a further decision for expenditure when a detailed programme is in place.


  1. In round one, for example, the cultural partnerships and youth programmes budget is supporting The Agency, the young creative entrepreneur programme. This programme was implemented following 2017 research supported by the Clore Leadership Programme to develop a framework that would best engage and meet the needs of young people who were least likely to be engaged in employment, education or training.


  1. The round one cultural partnerships budget is also supporting title winning boroughs to attract new cultural festivals, events and partnerships to their boroughs, and is funding the development of local storytelling projects to increase resident engagement and pride in their area.


Borough support and engagement activity


  1. Providing strong borough support to bidding boroughs has been crucial in ensuring the programme they put together will deliver a wide range of outcomes. In round one, 22 high quality bids were submitted. Using feedback from round one, a more intensive support programme is being developed which will include an opportunity to receive feedback on bids in draft form before the final submission date.


  1. Funds will be made available to support boroughs to access specialist support for developing applications. Discussions are taking place with London Councils to administer this. Specialist advisers will be matched with borough applicants to support bid development; this will likely include facilitating cross-council discussions/partnerships, designing the look and feel of the programme, generating creative ideas for the programme, and sharing experience of developing similar projects of scale. A series of workshops, events, seminars, and area-based surgeries will also be offered to boroughs during the bidding process. This will include a cultural partners networking event, evaluation workshop and seminars about working with young people.


  1. A stakeholder engagement budget will support the title boroughs and Cultural Impact Award winners to launch their programmes and achieve diverse stakeholder engagement, ensuring the impact of the programme is maximised. This will include support for audience development events and research and producing engagement information and activities.


  1. Where consultants or delivery partners are required, fair and open procurement exercises will be undertaken to appoint suppliers.


Application, assessment and evaluation


  1. The application process will be administered online through the GLA OPS system, an online tool which allows the GLA to administer grant funding programmes.


  1. The application will be a one-stage bid but will include a new shortlisting step, whereby a shortlist of finalist boroughs will be announced and called for interview. This will allow for further in-depth assessment of the proposals and partners involved. Applicants will have up to six months to develop and submit their applications, slightly longer than in round one to allow more time for community engagement in the bids.


  1. The round one prospectus, application form and guidance notes will be reviewed and updated to support boroughs in preparing their applications.


  1. Assessment and scoring of applications will be undertaken by a cross-policy panel of GLA officers, who will make recommendations on the winning boroughs. Applications will be evaluated and scored against weighted criteria, with moderation and discussion built into the evaluation process. The Internal Working Group and Strategic Partners’ Board will also review and comment on the proposals.


  1. The Audience Agency is currently contracted to deliver the evaluation framework for the first round of London Borough of Culture. For round two, the GLA will need to review the contractual position and consider whether a further procurement will be required in relation to the evaluation.


  1. Finally, a contingency of 5% of the total programme budget will be held. This includes helping to protect this flagship programme against the uncertain economic effects of Brexit, which could increase the costs of materials and services for boroughs and the GLA across this period.


London Borough of Culture round two budget summary:



Grants to boroughs: Two title award winners

 £   2,700,000

Grants to boroughs: Three Cultural Impact Award winners

 £      600,000

Cultural partnerships and youth programmes

 £      547,000

Borough support and engagement

 £      178,000

Stakeholder engagement

 £      394,000

Evaluation and competition delivery

 £      217,000


 £      224,000


 £   4,860,000


  1. Approval is sought for receipt of £200k in grant funding, as a contribution towards the London Borough of Culture programme, reducing the GLA net contribution to £4.66m and additional commercially sensitive information in relation to this is detailed in part 2 of this decision.




  1. The programme sits within the Culture and Creative Industries Unit and supports wider GLA priorities for young people, community engagement, volunteering and regeneration. Governance support will be engaged from an internal working group of officers across key policy areas including regeneration, community engagement, social policy, health, education and youth, events, transport and Team London. The group will also identify key potential partnerships across sectors to enhance the programme.


  1. A Strategic Partners’ Board is made up of senior representatives from the strategic and funding partners that have supported round one of the programme since 2017. They will continue to advise the programme across round two. These include National Lottery Heritage Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, City Bridge Trust, City of London Corporation, Historic England, Arts Council England, Libraries Connected and London Councils.


  1. Alongside representatives from the Strategic Partners organisations, a broader communications group with representatives from Transport for London, London and Partners, and the GLA External Relations team also supports the London Borough of Culture programme.




  1. To launch the 2021 and 2023 awards, additional fixed term staffing will be required to manage the development and competition for round two concurrently with delivery of round one.


  1. Fixed term roles are proposed to mirror the existing capacity and roles in the round one competition and delivery team. They will cover the peak period between April 2019 and March 2021 when both round one and round two run concurrently and will cease when round one completes, and programme delivery returns to the current workload. 


  1. A Senior Policy Officer will deliver the launch and competition phase for round two, playing a key role in securing partners and funding for the programme and leading on programme governance and corporate monitoring functions.


  1. A Borough Engagement Officer will work closely with boroughs to secure high-quality applications and will deliver training and support for boroughs. This role will also develop the evaluation framework.


  1. A Programme Coordinator will lead on stakeholder engagement and communications for the competition and announcement. This role will support the GLA and borough teams in securing funding and partnership. 


  1. A part-time Project Officer will work across both round one and round two teams during crossover of the two rounds, supporting governance.


  1. The staffing required to deliver the programme will be approved via the Head of Paid Service and is contained within the proposed budget.




  1. Discussions are underway with the Strategic Partners’ Board to develop a strategy to generate further investment directly to the winning borough programmes in round two. This will progress in 2019 and 2020, as evaluation of Waltham Forest’s London Borough of Culture 2019 programme progresses and the impact of the funding partners’ initial investment in round one is assessed.


  1. In addition, grant funding will be sought as a direct contribution to the London Borough of Culture programme and budget as outlined in this decision.


  1. Additional financial contributions from third parties, which may include sponsorship, will also be sought.


  1. Any income to the GLA additional to that outlined in this decision will be spent on enhancing London Borough of Culture programme delivery and impact, and related additional expenditure will be subject to a separate decision.


  1. As in round one, applicant boroughs will be expected to provide a match funding commitment to the programme in the region of 30% and this will include in-kind and re-allocation of existing budgets, as well as new funding.



[1] This includes funding leveraged by London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Brent and boroughs in receipt of Cultural Impact Awards.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The London Borough of Culture programme has local communities and residents at its heart and aims to increase Londoners’ engagement with culture by shining a light on the rich and varied stories of London’s diverse communities. By way of example, in Waltham Forest, Inspiration Arts will run a celebration of carnival, drama workshops will be held in residential care settings with older residents to develop a piece of theatre to be performed to local school-children, and Africa Day was celebrated by Mbilla Arts with children through music and storytelling. We have already seen that through the application process London residents of all faiths and communities were brought together in support of their local borough’s application to become London Borough of Culture

Access to culture is also an important part of the Mayor’s preventative approach to reducing violent crime, seeking to tackle it at its root causes. The London Borough of Culture programme has funded projects which create positive alternative opportunities for young Londoners and help them to gain access to training and to get employment. For example, this has included EastSide Story, a project to unite young people from two local estates to tell their own stories in their own words for a special documentary filmed during the London Borough of Culture 2019 year in Waltham Forest.

Investment in the next phase of London Borough of Culture will deliver:

· A competition and engagement phase providing substantial training and capacity building for boroughs, and engaging their residents;
· Two title award winners (2021 and 2023), delivering ambitious creative and community-led programmes for up to a year each in each borough, which apply arts, culture and heritage activities to transform people’s lives;
· At least three Cultural Impact Awards, delivering a range of high-quality creative interventions across the city which celebrate culture and communities and encourage participation and positive change;
· A programme of work with young people at its heart, creating positive opportunities for training, development and creative participation for diverse young Londoners, including those who may be at risk of getting caught up in violent crime;
· Partnerships with major cultural organisations across the city to create a bespoke cultural offer to build the profile, experience, capacity and participation activity of each title winning borough;
· Partnerships with businesses, community and educational organisations to develop new collaborations across boroughs;
· Significant funding levered directly to the boroughs, benefiting residents and businesses;
· A high-profile PR and media campaign, raising the profile of the borough and supporting its economic development;
· Development and or/continuation of an evaluation framework for the award over the four-year programme; and
· A programme of dissemination to share what is learnt from developing and delivering London Borough of Culture.

The detailed expected outcomes and outputs from the round two competition will be dependent on the selected winning bids. However, in light of the round one experiences and evaluation, borough programmes will be expected to be designed to achieve the following outcomes:

· Culture and creativity are embedded across borough practice, policy and strategy;
· Cultural activity is designed to be representative, relevant and empowering using appropriate models for delivery and/or partnership delivery;
· A more resilient creative and cultural sector;
· Improved social integration leading to greater social cohesion, and/or collective efficacy across the boroughs;
· Increased number of active citizens within communities;
· Increased wellbeing contributing to thriving communities with culture and creativity an integral part of life in the boroughs;
· Improved perception/positioning of the boroughs as a cultural destination;
· Increased diversity of potential cultural leaders in London, achieved through investing in providing young people with creative skills, knowledge, creative experience and networks; and
· Capacity building for local organisations in the five funded boroughs, contributing to the legacy of London Borough of Culture.

In Spring 2020, the full evaluation report for Waltham Forest’s 2019 programme will be completed. This will be available to the 2021 and 2023 title winners to share learning and impacts from the programme as they develop their plans, supported by the GLA and Strategic Partners’ Board.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The London Borough of Culture programme has local communities and London residents at its heart and aims to increase Londoners’ engagement with culture and shine a light on the rich and varied stories of London’s diverse communities. We have already seen through the initial application process that London residents of all faiths and communities were brought together in support of their local borough’s application to become London Borough of Culture; for example, 15,000 people supported Waltham Forest’s bid and 70,000 attended their opening weekend, 37% of whom were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Round two of the competition will be open to all London Boroughs to apply for and to receive grant funding if their application proves to be successful. The evaluation of all applications will be fair and transparent and scored and evaluated to the same criteria, giving all applicants an equal opportunity to access the grant funding outlined in the main body of this report.

All London boroughs will be made aware of the development fund that will be available to support them in bid writing and applying to the competition. This funding will be distributed fairly and openly to all those who wish to apply for this fund.

Through the development of the Culture Strategy, the policies and commitments set out, including London Borough of Culture, have undergone an Integrated Impact Assessment to identify their impact on a range of objectives for sustainable development including equalities, health inequalities and community safety. The assessment found that all policy and commitments had a positive or neutral impact on these areas. It stated that programmes like London Borough of Culture incentivise local authorities to develop their cultural offer. This is likely to increase future events and activities available to Londoners to participate in. As grassroots organisations have close community links, support available for them to deliver cultural activities is likely to both increase and diversify participation. If this support helps increase participation among groups where this is currently low, there may be a potential positive impact on health inequalities.

Other considerations
  1. Key risks and issues


Mitigating Action

Risk Rating

Delays in undertaking any of the activities listed above, due to late recruitment or not having sufficient resources in place to deliver, that may have a negative reputational impact.

The timelines, staff requirement and expected costs for all activities have been reviewed. A detailed resource plan has been drawn up with clear roles and responsibilities against key tasks to be undertaken to ensure that delivery of the programme can take place.


Boroughs do not have sufficient time to develop strong applications.

Boroughs will be notified of the round two competition ahead of the formal competition launch in Spring 2019 so that they can begin planning. A detailed and robust borough engagement plan is being developed and there will be a full-time dedicated officer to provide intensive support to the boroughs in developing their bids.


Ability to raise funding

Significant investment has already been committed by major funders to round one of the programme and further discussions are in progress. Borough proposals will need to demonstrate that they are scalable, and boroughs will also be expected to fundraise towards the programme.


Artistic quality and readiness to deliver

Overseeing officers have substantial experience of delivering high quality, large scale programmes. Round one has proved to be highly successful and Waltham Forest’s programme has already received extensive positive media coverage. Specialist advisors will be matched with applicants to ensure programmes are developed in line with the ambition. Bids will be assessed on both the quality of the artistic programme and the quality of experience for communities.


Financial mis-management

Officers adhere to internal financial management and procurement processes as

set out in the Contracts and Funding Code and Financial Regulations. Payments are only made on achievement of milestones.




  1. Links to Mayor’s strategies and priorities


London Borough of Culture is a flagship programme within the Love London strand of the Mayor’s Culture Strategy, ‘Culture for All Londoners’, enabling more people to experience and create culture on their doorstep.


The London Borough of Culture programme will contribute to realising the following Mayoral commitments:

  • ‘A City for All Londoners’, where culture is the golden thread, key to our future success, both for integrating and strengthening communities and supporting more liveable and successful places;
  • Supporting the Mayor’s vision for ‘Healthy Streets for London’ and his plans set out in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which are more welcoming to people and encourage them to make active and sustainable travel choices, for example by contributing to the healthy streets’ aspiration of ‘things to see and do’;  
  • With its focus on social inclusion and participation, creativity, and physical activity, it will be an important tool in helping to deliver two of the proposed priorities for the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy: improving mental health and wellbeing and promoting healthy lifestyles;
  • The Mayor’s Social Integration Strategy aims to improve social integration in London. This means enabling people to have more opportunities to connect with each other positively and meaningfully and supporting Londoners to play an active part in their communities and the decisions that affect them. It involves reducing barriers and inequalities, so that Londoners can relate to each other as equals; and
  • The programmes supported will provide opportunities to deliver the draft new London Plan’s policies for supporting London’s night time economy and its diverse range of arts, cultural and entertainment enterprises and the cultural, social and economic benefits they offer to its residents, workers and visitors. They will also support the Mayor’s Vision for London as a 24-hour city.


  1. Impact assessments and consultations


The London Borough of Culture programme was developed in consultation with the Strategic Partners’ Board and continues to be reviewed in close contact with this group. 


Improvements to the competition process for round two have been informed through feedback from the applicant boroughs from round one and the Strategic Partners’ Board.


London Borough of Culture forms part of the Mayor’s Culture Strategy, which was subject to a 12-week consultation with stakeholders and the public. The Culture and Creative Industries Unit delivered events and roadshows to consult a wide range of community organisations, agencies and groups about key issues raised in the draft strategy and the plans to address them. Nearly 100 organisations provided written feedback. In addition, a public consultation programme was delivered via Talk London which elicited over 1,600 responses.


Financial comments

Approval is sought for expenditure of up to £4.86m to fund round two of the London Borough of Culture programme. The expenditure is anticipated to occur over the four financial years 2019-20 through to 2022-23. The breakdown of this is as follows:





















The £4.86m expenditure will be funded as follows:

  • £200k from external income received as grant funding; and
  • The balance of £4.66m being funded by the budget allocated towards round two of the London Borough of Culture programme, held within the Culture and Creative Industries Unit, as detailed above.


This expenditure is to be in addition to and to run concurrently with the expenditure previously approved via MD2107 and MD2287.


Activity table



Launch competition and build awareness for round two of London Borough of Culture

Spring 2019

Competition closes for applications

October 2019

2021 and 2023 application assessment

November 2019

Finalist boroughs announced

December 2019

Announcement of title winners and Cultural Impact Awards

January 2020

Three Cultural Impact Award programmes delivered


First title winner programme


Second title winner programme


Final evaluation of London Borough of Culture 2021 and 2023 and Cultural Impact Awards

Summer 2024

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