MD1489 GLA Food Programme 2015-16

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
30 April 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Food Team draft budget of £600,000 for 2015/16 was approved on 23 February 2015 and comprises £300,000 for the Food Flagships programme (as approved by MD1328 on 12 March 2014) and £300,000 for the Food Programme. The Investment Programme Board approved in principle the Food Team’s proposed activities in 2015/16 and related expenditure of up to £300,000 as well as a revised end date for the Food Flagship Programme of January 2017 on 19 March 2015. Since May 2012 the Food Team has successfully continued to deliver initiatives that support London’s food economy and increase the health and sustainability of food in London. The programme continues to attract the commitment of considerable external funding for projects, including the Department for Education and the private sector (i.e. Mars UK.).



The Mayor approves: : 

1.    Expenditure of £300,000 towards the projects and staffing of the Food Programme for 2015-16; and

2.    An extension for the Food Flagships programme, from within existing approved funding, to a new end date of January 2017.   


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The London Food Board (a non-statutory advisory board) was established in 2004 to lead on food matters in the capital. It advises the Mayor in the delivery of his Food Programme on the implementation of the London Food Strategy under six priority areas which are: 
•    Ensuring commercial vibrancy;
•    Engaging Londoners; 
•    Levering the power of procurement;
•    Developing regional links; 
•    Delivering healthy schools; and 
•    Reducing waste.

1.2    The Food Programme benefits from the leadership shown by the Chair of the London Food Board and the Board’s wide ranging and influential membership. The London Food Board adds considerable value to investment on food-related work through thought leadership, network facilitation and levering in additional funding.

1.3    On 19 March 2015 the GLA’s Investment and Programme Board approved the plans for the delivery of the London Food Programme for 2015/16. 



Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The Food Programme in 2015/16 will:

•    Support London to have a food system that offers opportunities for food businesses, for people to be trained to enter employment in the food sector, and for food in London to be a positive force for the health, the environment and community cohesion of the city. 
•    Help London to have a network of safer, highly-engaged communities working together through food growing to improve the quality of life for residents.
•    Facilitate London to continue to be a world-class exponent of urban food policy, using the best of private, public and third sectors to make the food system work better for London’s economy, health and environment.
•    Deliver multiple interventions across the two Food Flagship Boroughs, Croydon and Lambeth, to implement the recommendations of the School Food Plan and make the food environment in those boroughs heathier for all residents, and to showcase which interventions could best work in other London boroughs 
•    Continue to highlight food poverty issues in London, to help work towards the Mayor’s commitment to make London a Zero Hunger City by 2020. This will include a pilot of two social supermarkets in London to help people on low incomes access discounted food and a range of support to address the issues which may have led to them experiencing food poverty 

2.2    The expected outcomes/outputs for the Food Programme in 2015/16 are:


Outcomes/Outputs 15/16


  • London Food Chair funded
  • Two G10 FTE funded
  • Travel and expenses for staff


London Food Board

  • 2 x Board Meetings
  • 8 x Implementation Group meetings
  • Good Food for London Report 2015 published


Capital Growth

  • 100 new members of the network
  • 150 people participating in two networking events and 10 training sessions
  • 50 groups supported to grow to sell (through micro-grants, training and farm visits)
  • 15-20 small grants for food growing
  • 8 growing leaders trained to run growing spaces
  • 40 people receiving training for careers in food/enterprise
  • 35 trainees supported with training of which 8-10 supported with career development.


Food Growing Schools London

  • Specific training for schools in Flagship boroughs on food growing (numbers TBC – dependant on agreement following proposal from Garden Organic)


Good Jobs in Food

  • 3,000 new jobs, apprentices, and work placements in London’s hospitality sector


Urban Food Routes

  • 25 businesses given grant funding and specialist business support
  • Urban Food Feast during Urban Food Fortnight to showcase London food SMEs
  • Combined Urban Food Feast and Urban Food Awards evening in September 15


Social Supermarkets

  • Project management of Social Supermarket  capital project delivered by the GLA Regeneration team (with an aim to open two Social Supermarkets by year end)


Food Flagship boroughs

  • 1 FTE in Food Team funded by programme
  • Delivery of outputs set out in funding agreements with Lambeth and Croydon.

2.3       The budget breakdown to deliver the above in 2015/16 is:


Net GLA  Budget 2015/16

External Income 2015/16

External Leverage 2015/16

London Food Board (including Good Food for London report)




Staff costs




Capital Growth





Food Growing Schools London




(Big Lottery)

Good Jobs in Food




Urban Food Routes



(Mars UK)


Social Supermarkets




Food Flagships


£300,000 (Department for Education)


Emerging priorities









Equality comments

3.1    Projects under the Food Programme aim to engage as many Londoners as possible and many focus specifically on harder-to-reach groups.  Elements of food programme projects which help to meet the needs of people sharing protected characteristics under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 include: 

•    Capital Growth community food growing project 82% of Capital Growth’s 2,334 sites are in the more deprived wards and 42% are in the most deprived wards.  62% of Capital Growth’s sites engage people with a disability, 66% of sites engage people over 60 and 82% engage people under the ages of 16. Delivery partners continuously work to engage with different population groups including those with protected characteristics.

•    Social Supermarkets is an intervention which will be supported for the GLA for the first time this year and will provide affordable food and a range of support services such as employability training to people on low incomes. 

A high proportion of the members of the first two social supermarkets (in South Yorkshire and in Lambeth) are older people and we will ensure that delivery partners in the new phase of the project work to engage eligible members who have protected characteristics. For example, we will ensure that groups which advocate on behalf of older people are able to publicise the opportunities for memberships to the population groups with which they work

We have already worked to ensure that the dietary needs of Londoners from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds are met in the social supermarket in Lambeth, to reflect the mixed ethnicity of the area and to help meet their specific cultural food needs. 

•    Food Flagships Boroughs project (Croydon and Lambeth) and the Food Growing Schools project in those boroughs all work directly with school-age people to improve their health through food and to educate them around healthy eating issues. 

One of the projects in the Flagship Borough, the Rose Voucher scheme, is targeted exclusively at new and expectant mothers on low incomes to enable them to increase their consumption of healthy food by doubling the value of Healthy Start vouchers when exchanged for fruit and vegetables. 

•    Good Jobs in Food works predominantly with people aged 18-24, including many NEETs, and with major employers to highlight the range of careers which are available across London’s food economy, providing jobs, work placements and apprenticeships

3.2    We will put in place mechanisms to help us continuously review the potential to make our existing and emerging projects advance equality of opportunity for groups which have characteristics noted in the Equality Act. 

Other considerations

Key risks and issues

4.1 The GLA will manage the overall operational aspects of the programmes, using its standard corporate approach to project management. The key risks are outlined below:


Risk description

Mitigation / Risk response

Current probability (1-4)

Current impact (1-4)

RAG rating








The £60,000 of income from Mars UK. is not received by the Food Team leaving a budget shortfall.

The Food Team have a written commitment from Mars UK. that they will provide £60,000 for Urban Food Routes and are currently writing a sponsorship agreement to ensure this is secured. 





Funding Agreements are not in place by mid-April meaning delays to delivery of projects.

The Food Team have prioritised Funding Agreements in the first two weeks of April in order to ensure these are in place.





The expected outputs and outputs of the projects are not met

The GLA will work closely with all delivery partners and grantees to ensure projects are properly monitored and any delays or changes to projects are agreed





Overspend occurs on one or more project leading to a budget deficit.

Stringent finance measures have been put in place to ensure there is no overspend.  No over-commitments will be made on any projects and funding agreements will reflect the approved budgets only.





Links to strategies and Mayoral and corporate priorities

4.2    In terms of Mayoral Strategies, individual projects will contribute towards:
•    The Mayor’s Jobs and Growth Plan
•    Implementation of all the priorities of the Mayor’s Food Strategy: Healthy and Sustainable Food for London
•    A major contribution to the Team London objectives to encourage and enable Londoners to volunteer in their communities 
•    Food-related elements of the Health Inequalities Strategy particularly on childhood obesity and food access. 
•    Economic Development Strategy – food is major employer and offers significant training and apprenticeship potential as well as high potential to increase business start-ups and innovation 
•    The London Plan, including policies on land for food, and emerging Supplementary Planning Guidance documents on lifetime neighbourhoods and access to fresh food 

Impact assessments and Consultations

4.3    As part of the development process of the London Food Programme in 2015/16 the Food Team undertook wide consultation with the London Food Board and its Chair to make sure that the Programme’s interventions reflect the food needs of different London population groups, including but not limited to: people on low incomes who may be experiencing food poverty; schoolchildren who need access to a healthy diet to enable them to learn and develop their full potential, new and expectant mothers on low incomes who wish to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables; young people who are looking to find their way into employment; older people who may be engaged through the Programme’s community growing focus, amongst others. 

4.4    In the case of the Food Flagship boroughs which implements the recommendations in London of the Government’s School Food Plan, the GLA Food Team consulted widely across London’s local authorities, education organisations and with stakeholders in school food to ensure that the priority projects being implemented in the Flagships target the population groups in those boroughs whose food needs are the greatest.  

4.5    The Food Team works in partnership with the GLA Regeneration team to ensure that interventions under the Food Programme complement and help to maximise the impacts of ongoing programmes of work undertaken by the Regeneration team, such as work on high streets and projects supported under the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund. This ongoing consultation enables the Food Programme to tailor its interventions as new priorities emerge in London’s physical regeneration.  


Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for expenditure on the 2015/16 Food Programme budget. MD1328 approved the allocation of a net £300,000 to the Food Flagships programme. This decision seeks approval of another net £300,000.

5.2    DD1314 approved an increase of £22,000 in the 2014/15 Food Programme budget, which may be offset from the 2015/16 Food Programme budget if alternative resources are not available.

5.3    Approval is also sought to extend the Food Flagships programme until January 2017, requiring a reprofiling of budget. No additional budget is required.

5.4    As detailed in the main body of this report, the proposed expenditure includes entering into contracts for services and funding agreements.

5.5    The net cost to the GLA of £600,000 is enhanced by income from the Department of Education and Mars UK. An estimated project budget as provided by the Food Team is summarised below :



London Food Board


Staff costs


Capital Growth


Food Growing Schools London


Urban Food Routes


Social Supermarkets


Food Flagships


Emerging priorities


Total Gross Expenditure






Mars UK (Urban Food Routes)


DfE ( Food Flagships)


Total Income




Net Cost to GLA


5.6    Officers are advised to ensure they have formal written confirmation of external funds (such as signed funding agreements) prior to committing expenditure upon these funds.

5.7    All requisite budget adjustments will be made.

5.8     Any changes to this proposal must be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process.

5.9       The Economic and Business Policy Unit within the Development, Enterprise & Environment Directorate will be responsible for managing this programme of work and associated funding agreements, and ensuring all activities and expenditure complies with the Authority’s Financial Regulations, Contracts & Funding Code, Expenses & Benefits Framework and Funding Agreement Toolkit.


Investment and Performance Board

7.1    Members of the Board received a report providing an update on the outcomes of the 2014/15 Food Programme and the proposed Food Programme for 2015/16.

7.2    The Chair of the London Food Board outlined the proposed activity within the programme and success to date delivering the programme in 2014/15. The Executive Director Development Enterprise & Environment drew Members’ attention to the significant leverage the programme had achieved to date as well the positive coverage the programme had received.


a)    The GLA’s proposed remaining Food Programme activities in 2015/16 and related expenditure of up to £300,000 be approved in principle;

b)    The revised end date for the Food Flagship programme of January 2017 be agreed; and

c)    The indicative re-profile of spend into financial year 2016/17 be noted.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Planned delivery approach 

The GLA Food Team

8.1    The Food Team (Two full time staff members plus one member of staff funded from the Food Flagships budget) will continue to oversee the delivery of the programme with support from teams across the GLA. The Food Programme has synergies with many policy areas and the team has built a strong collaborative approach across EBPU and more broadly across City Hall. The team supports the effective running of the London Food Board which advises the Mayor on food issues through the chair of the Board, Rosie Boycott.

The London Food Board and Chair

8.2    The Food Team will organise two full Board meetings and eight Implementation Group meetings in 2015/16 to provide advice and guidance to the Food Programme and the Mayor. The Board will undertake research and analysis to provide guidance for the Food Programme and monitor its impact. 

Capital Growth 

8.3    The Food Team will continue to support the delivery of the Capital Growth programme.  Activities in 2015/16 will focus on continuing the network and maintaining the membership in order that food growing projects can continue to receive support.  This is essential to continue to build on the success of the last six years, and promote London as one of the leading international cities in urban agriculture.  

8.4    Ensuring Capital Growth continues in 2015/16 will strengthen the current proposal for European Social Funding for the ‘Roots to Work’ programme. The GLA Food Team will continue to work to secure private sector match-funding for this proposed programme for delivery in 2016/17 and 2017/18.  That bid focusses on the potential for Capital Growth spaces to provide training opportunities for unemployed and economically-inactive people 

8.5    The Food Programme will continue to engage Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming - in the delivery of Capital Growth. 
Food Growing Schools London 

8.6    The Food Growing Schools London project, launched in 2013, is delivered by Garden Organic in partnership with various organisations including the GLA, Trees for Cities, and Sustain.  It aims to support every school in London to grow food. 

8.7    GLA funding this year will be used to support Garden Organic in the continued delivery of Food Growing Schools with a specific focus on the two Flagship boroughs of Lambeth and Croydon.  In addition the GLA will continue to support the programme through making connections, providing space for meetings, hosting two ‘Grow your Own Business’ events at City Hall etc. 
Good Jobs in Food 

8.8    The GLA Food Team is working in partnership with the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the Springboard charity and the National Apprenticeship Service to maximise the impact that hospitality growth can make to London’s economy.  Hospitality continues to offer huge employment numbers, and projections continue to show healthy long-term growth. 

8.9    The Food Team’s partnership with this coalition of partners saw the BHA bring their highly successful Big Hospitality Conversation to City Hall for the first time in September 2014, including a jobs fair for young people in addition to that event’s usual focus on jobs and apprenticeships “match-making” between employers and young people. 

8.10    The Food Team will continue to build upon its partnership with the BHA and Springboard and will see the launch of a challenging target for the industry in London to create new jobs, apprenticeships and work placements. The GLA will host a second City Hall edition of the BHA’s successful Big Hospitality Conversation

Urban Food Routes

8.11    Urban Food Routes is a project delivered by the Plunkett Foundation, and supports SMEs in London’s food sector. It meets key Mayoral priorities around jobs, skills and economic growth. The project includes business support, and grant funding for which London food businesses will be invited to apply. Urban Food Routes works with successful applicants to expand their profitability, create jobs, apprenticeships, training and volunteering opportunities, increase the provision of affordable, healthy food in London and strengthen the diversity of the capital's food sector. 

8.12    The Food Team’s involvement in the project to date has secured the ongoing support of Mars UK, who will be contributing £60,000 in 2015/16, which will more than double the funding available for this project. This private sector involvement will help to maximise the impact and scope of the programme, enabling the project to support 25 businesses in 2015/16. 

8.13    As part of Urban Food Routes in 2015/16 the Food Team will also co-ordinate the second London Urban Food Awards, which will be presented at the Urban Food Feast in September 2015, both elements of which will showcase the vibrancy and breadth of London’s food SME sector. 

Social Supermarkets 

8.14    The Investment Programme Board approved an allocation of £300,000 capital from the Regeneration Team’s High Streets Fund for a Social Supermarkets pilot on 19 March 2015. London Boroughs will be invited to apply for this capital funding to host one of two pilot social supermarkets in London. This pilot will show the role that social supermarkets can play in addressing food poverty, supporting supermarket members to address the issues which may have led to them experiencing poverty, and diverting food fit for human consumption from being sent to landfill. 

8.15    A small allocation of funding from the Food Programme budget to the GLA Regeneration Team will enable that team to manage the project. This capital project will be the subject of a separate MD from the Regeneration Team at a later date.  
London Food Flagship Boroughs

8.16    In March 2014 the GLA launched the Food Flagship prospectus to choose two boroughs to become School Food Flagships.  21 boroughs applied and Lambeth and Croydon were selected, as announced on 18 July 2014.  

8.17    This £1.2 million programme is an innovative and complex pilot programme, the first of its kind to be delivered in the UK.  Delivery of the Food Flagships is now well underway and the delivery phase of the programme will continue throughout 2015/16.  Outputs will be those identified in the funding agreements with each borough and include; implementation of the School Food Plan, food growing projects, support for healthy food businesses and a voucher scheme to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption.

8.18    As a result of the complexity of these programmes - including the need for both boroughs to recruit Flagship teams, work up project plans with the GLA and finalise funding agreements following the application process during 2014/15 - it has taken longer than originally anticipated to begin delivery.  There is therefore a need to extend the programme end date to January 2017 as set out below. There will be no impact on the total project spend.

Next steps



MD for Food programme

31 March 2015

Funding Agreement in place/delivery start date – Urban Food Routes

14 April 2015

Funding Agreement in place/delivery start date – Capital Growth

14 April 2015

Funding Agreement in place/delivery start date – Food Growing Schools

14 April 2015

Announcement of projects

From 7 May 2015

Funding Agreement in place/delivery start date – Urban Food fortnight/awards

14 May 2015

Approvals in place for emerging priorities

30 September 2015

Final evaluation start and finish (self)

1 January – 15 March 2016

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

25 March 2016

Project Closure:

31 March 2016


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