Innovation 2009 /2010 fashion competition

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Dear Sir or Madam,

Questions about the Innovation 2009 fashion competition, and plans for criteria for Innovation 2010, managed by Ethical Fashion Forum for London Development Agency.
1.
How much did the 2009 competition cost per year in grant money to Ethical Fashion Forum and others?
2.
How much will the 2009 competition cost, very roughly, in management and publicity costs to the LDA, and business support to the four winners?
3.
Does the business case take account of damage to UK clothes and footwear manufacturers caused by promoting these candidates in competition for newspaper space and contacts?
4.
Does the Forum publicise the names of suppliers to the designers, or does it keep them private?
4.
What is the full text of the business case for spending?
5.
Are there any plans to write clauses into funding contracts with the Ethical Fashion Forum contract, asking contestants to account of the LDA's duties to promote employment in London and the UK under the Greater London Authority Act of 1999?

The reason I think this is important is that British Fashion Council and Ethical Fashion Forum are at foundation run by importers of Chinese clothes; EFF's attempts to write "ethical" next to these have tended to focus on organic supplies or fair trade in the case of third world countries outside China. They have been very successful and even managed to get a Chinese leather shoe exhibited as "ethical" at London Fashion Week. So without strict clauses in funding contracts I think these organisations are unlikely to promote UK-made clothing and footwear, or to achieve the objectives of the 1999 Greater London Authority Act.

Regards
John Robertson

References

Previous explanation of similar spending:
"The London Development Agency (LDA) awarded the British Fashion Council a three year grant agreement of £4.2 million in December 20078 to achieve to objectives to provide business support to London's emerging designers and to raise the profile of London Fashion Week to international markets."
(source: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/st...)

Effectiveness in boosting employment:
"The LDA commenced operations in 2000 and since then has spent in excess of £3 billion of public funds ... yet worklesness remains a major problem in London with 30% of working age residents not in employment, more than elsewhere in the UK".
(source: http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/value-for... page 9)

Published competition criteria:
1. COLLECTION DESIGN & FINISH
* Innovation in design concept
* Standard of design
* Product quality and finish
2. SALE-ABILITY
* Understanding of and relevance of products to market
* Marketing strategy, unique selling point
* Potential sales success
* Practical understanding of...
* and research into production options
3. ETHICS
* Innovation in sustainability terms
* Ethical focus: Use of organic and/ or sustainable materials, recycling, fair trade, supporting communities, or other
* People: How the range/concept has or will benefit the communities behind it
* Environment: How the range/concept will minimise environmental impact/ address environmental concerns
* Business model: How ethical practices have been integrated with business model
* Communication of ethics/awareness raising: How the applicant will communicate ethical practices/raise awareness around sustainability through their work
* Vision and goals in sustainability terms
(source: http://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/innov... )

Greater London Authority Act: The LDA's default job
(a) promoting economic development and wealth creation in Greater London;
(b) promoting social development in Greater London; and
(c) promoting the improvement of the environment in Greater London.
In determining whether or how to exercise the power conferred the Authority shall have regard to the effect which the proposed exercise of the power would have on the:
(a) health of persons in Greater London; and
(b) achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom.
Where the Authority exercises the power conferred it shall do so in the way which it considers best calculated to:
(a) promote improvements in the health of persons in Greater London; and
(b) contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom.’
(source: quoted indirectly via
http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/value-for... paragraph 1.16 )

Relation between funding criteria and LDA's job:
"Outputs: often, it appears that outputs may not be entirely practical or may be focussed on the wrong areas, leading to a questionable impact at local level even if they are achieved.
(source:
http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/value-for... paragraph 4.89 )

Note that organisations are set-up for one thing but claiming money for another:
"Delivery partners feel that they alter their objectives and activities to ‘fit’ outputs required by funders and that evidence requirements may be both impractical and onerous."
(source:
http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/value-for... paragraph 4.89 - stated without comment )

View from manufacturers:
(source: http://www.cityfringe.org.uk/pdf/investm... )
"Apparel Manufacturing experienced a sharp contraction in output (GVA) of 45% between 1998 and 2003, with employment falling even more steeply by 60%. The contraction in employment was heavily concentrated in the sewing machinist
occupation, the largest single occupation in the industry, as labour intensive processes were transferred offshore"
-para 2.1.1

The same document quotes a Fashion Sector Investment Plan recently written for ministers:

"...the national strategy suggests the following
To achieve in these areas the national strategy recommends the following:

• manufacturer/retailer co-operation for more efficient supply chains; The FSIP addresses this objective by proposing a programme offering one-to-one
mentoring aimed at assisting manufacturers to engage directly with retailers.

• more effective use by the industry of UK design talent; This FSIP addresses this objective by proposing business and production assessment programmes during which recommendations will be made for in house design, or
incorporation of design elements into the production process.

• better use of expertise and resources available in university and colleges; The FSIP addresses this objective by proposing to partner with educational institutions for the delivery of several interventions, including skills assessment and training.

• effective promotion of the industry’s reputation for quality and excellence; The FSIP addresses this objective by proposing an extensive programme of public relations, marketing and promotion initiatives geared toward the sharing of good practice and success in the industry.

• enhancing innovation by collaboration; The FSIP addresses this objective through a programme that will help to make interactions between designers and manufacturers more commercially productive, as well as programmes
which will make linkages between the manufacturers, retailers, and designers.

• improving and formalising training and career development; The FSIP addresses this objective by proposing programmes for skills assessment and training development, courses to prepare designers for working with manufacturers, and workshops to affect design-led creative thinking in manufacturing business.

• strengthening marketing skills; The FSIP addresses this objective by proposing a business improvement programme for manufacturers. One of the topics reviewed will be the effectiveness of marketing materials, making recommendations for improvements which will result in wider customer base and increased profits.

• Improving the image of the industry; The FSIP addresses this objective by proposing an extensive programme of public relations, marketing and promotional initiatives geared toward the sharing of good practice and success
in the industry."

-para 2.1.2

Finally, one point they don't mention is the ethical sales point of buying locally from a democratic welfare state, which is where we came-in.

John Robertson left an annotation ()

Here's a test of whether the organisation is willing to promote UK employment. They are beginning a list of suppliers which, true to form, are nearly all clothing importers or cloth importers with an organic flavour:
http://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/resou...
Their "Issues" page warns against seeking employment in the UK before everyone in China has a high paid job, in the last paragraph of this page:
http://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/the-i...

Until the "Made in Britain" page is changed and Damart appears on the list of ethical suppliers, I don't think this organisation can show that it's prepared to help UK taxpayers.

Fiona Sagar, London Development Agency

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Dear Mr Robertson,

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information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Regards,

Fiona Sagar
Information and Communications Officer
020 7593 9000 [1][email address]
London Development Agency
Palestra
197 Blackfriars Road
London
SE1 8AA

Switchboard: 020 7593 8000

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Fiona Sagar, London Development Agency

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Robertson,

Please find attached a scanned letter in response to your request for
information.

Regards,

Fiona Sagar
Information and Communications Officer
020 7593 9000 [1][email address]
London Development Agency
Palestra
197 Blackfriars Road
London
SE1 8AA

Switchboard: 020 7593 8000

Please consider the environment before printing this email or its
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John Robertson left an annotation ()

Q1. How much did the 2009 competition cost per year in grant money to Ethical Fashion Forum and others?

A1. The Ethical Fashion Forum received a total of £45,000 of LDA funding for Innovation 2009 by way of a letter of agreement with the British Fashion Council.

Q2. How much will the 2009 competition cost, very roughly, in management and publicity costs to the LDA, and business support to the four winners?

A2. There were no direct management, publicity or business support costs to the LDA for Innovation 2009. See question 1 above for the total grant awarded to Ethical Fashion Forum.

Q3. Does the business case take account of damage to UK clothes and footwear manufacturers caused by promoting these candidates in competition for newspaper space and contacts?

A3. The LDA does not hold this information; please contact Ethical Fashion Forum [...]
020 7739 7692
Rich Mix, Unit C02
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd
London E1 6LA

Q4. Does the Forum publicise the names of suppliers to the designers, or does it keep them private?

A4. The LDA does not hold this information; please contact Ethical Fashion Forum [...]

Q4. What is the full text of the business case for spending?

A4. The LDA does not hold a business case for spending for Innovation 2009. However, the stated project Goals are as follows:

Goal 1. Collaborate with other London sustainable fashion initiatives, including

• Estethica,

• Ethical PURE, and the

• Centre for Sustainable Fashion (LCF), [UK employers are not mentioned at this point]

to promote London as the world’s number 1 destination for inspirational sustainable fashion. [sic]

Goal 2. Engage with leading fashion colleges and their graduate programmes & create an incentive for the most talented fashion designers & graduates to work in accordance with sustainable principles.

Goal 3. Ensure increasingly exciting pool of talent feeding into Estethica and Pure & cement London’s reputation as an incubator for new talent in the ethical fashion arena. [sic]

Goal 4. Gain international press and media coverage for the competition element and its winners [sic]

Goal 5. Improve the business performance of the designers supported through the project

Goal 6. Leverage private funding through sponsorship to allow the project to continue independently.

Q5. Are there any plans to write clauses into funding contracts with the Ethical Fashion Forum contract, asking contestants to take account of the LDA's duties to promote employment in London and the UK under the Greater London Authority Act of 1999?

The LDA does not hold this information. The terms of contracts entered into by the British Fashion Council is not a matter that the LDA would have any involvement with however the arrangements that the LDA enters into with the British Fashion Council, and other direct recipients of LDA funding, are all made pursuant to the LDA’s statutory functions in the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 which include the power to promote employment in Greater London.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Transcribed answer ends, quote from report of the Mayor's forensic audit panel follows
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Current LDA project approval processes

4.22 The current project approval processes were introduced in April 2004, following a review of the Single Programme Appraisal Guidance (“SPAG”), which is itself in compliance with higher-level Government guidance, including the Treasury’s ‘Green Book’.

4.23 Proposals to invest in new projects are developed by staff within the LDA. Whilst the approval of all new projects follow standardised processes, the role that the LDA takes in these projects can vary. In some cases the LDA takes the lead, engaging and levering funds from a variety of other stakeholders, including the GLA Group, the DCLG12, local authorities, the private sector and others.

For other projects, the LDA forms part of a wider partnership, perhaps providing only a relatively small proportion of the project funding. In all cases, however, there is a need for the proposed project to contribute to the LDA’s objectives, as set out in the Economic Development Strategy, Corporate Plan & Investment Strategy.

4.24 The LDA does not normally accept applications for funding from third parties, unless as part of a competitive bidding process, such as the Opportunities Fund13 programme.

4.25 New project submissions are prepared by project managers using a ‘Project Development Workbook’. The Workbooks have two stages:

(a) the first is the Strategic Case, which includes an overview of the project, its strategic ‘fit’ with LDA objectives, explains the need for the project, details its activities and objectives and any displacement or duplication of existing activities; and

(b) the second is the Business Case, which includes more detail, examines the ‘value for money’ aspect of the project, its proposed and potential impact and also contains a detailed assessment of risks.

4.26 The approval process guideline requires departmental sign-off of the Workbook which is then submitted to the Quality Solutions team for independent appraisal. Following this appraisal, if successful, it is submitted to the CIP for the overall investment decision.

4.27 The CIP is a key decision making body within the LDA. Its purpose is to ensure that decisions to fund new projects are taken in a rigorous, consistent, open and transparent manner. The CIP is made up of LDA directors, and is chaired by the Group Director – Resources & Risk, supported by specialists in finance, equalities, risk, procurement and law. [fortnightly...]

(a) Reach a consensus view on whether a project proposal should be funded, having particular regard to the following key [sic] criteria:

( i) The project is consistent with the LDA’s powers and its strategic priorities, as articulated within the Economic Development Strategy, Corporate Plan, Investment Strategy and Investment Frameworks;

( ii) The project represents value for money, which is evidenced within the submission - for example, the unit costs are within acceptable limits, or costs compare favourably to other similar projects;

(iii) The level of risk exposure is acceptable, given the nature of the project;

(iv ) The project impacts positively upon the LDA’s cross-cutting themes of equalities, health, sustainability and community safety;

( v ) The various delivery options have been identified, robustly analysed and the most appropriate option selected; and

( vi) A robust exit strategy has been developed for the project.

(b) Add value to the design and subsequent success of the project by:

( i) Contributing any particular relevant experience or skills;

( ii) Advising on practical issues, such as the deliverability of proposals; and

(iii) Ensuring that appropriate linkages are made with other projects and programmes of the LDA.

(c) Have regard to any issues arising from the economic area appraisal of the project;

(d) Seek further explanation or clarification before reaching a decision; and

(e) Apply conditions to project approvals and provide information/advice for project development and delivery staff.

4.28 The CIP either approves, rejects or defers the project, although according to the LDA, approval is the
most likely outcome.

The following table shows an analysis of decisions14 taken by the CIP in the past three years: approximately 9% of decisions were deferred and only 1% rejected. According to the LDA, these rates reflect the detailed scrutiny that the application will have undergone before reaching the CIP.
[this table needs re-editing in a fixed width font to show in columns]

2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 Total %
119 112 143 374 63.5% OK, no conditions
46 33 74 153 26.0% OK, with conditions
22 12 21 55 9.3% Deferred
2 2 3 7 1.2% Rejected
189 159 241 589100.0% Total

Table 9: Analysis of CIP decisions 2005/06 to 2007/08

4.29 If the business case is approved, budgetary approval is then obtained. Here the approval levels are: [...all higher...]

4.30 A new version of the Workbook is currently being developed by the new executive team and is expected to go live in the summer of 2008. It complies with the new version of SPAG called “GRADE” (Guidance for RDAs in Appraisal, Delivery and Evaluation), which has been operational since April 2008. The new version will include a Project Logic Chain, a Strategic Added Value Logic Chain and more in-depth analysis of unit cost data, benchmarking and whole life project costing.

4.31 The Panel has not sought to review the effectiveness of the processes and internal controls currently in operation as this work is the subject of a separate independent review currently being undertaken.

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