Analysis, Data and Engagement for a new Era of Strategy, Technology and Innovation 

Who we are, and what we do

Title image credit TFL visual image library

The Intelligence Unit sits at the heart of the Greater London Authority (GLA). Serving the Mayor, the wider authority, and indeed London, our chief purposes are to:

1) Provide the Mayor and the Authority with world class evidence and analysis which enable the formulation of policy and strategy in London the world city.

2) Develop the technology and people-driven narrative for London the smart, innovative, digital city.

Our Vision

We constantly explore the possibilities to understand London, its communities, its economy, and its place in the rapidly changing wider world. We constantly question how we can apply our rich body of knowledge and expertise to that wider environment. We are acutely aware of the power of data and technology and their capacity to improve the work of the team and the authority, and the lives of Londoners. We will wherever possible pursue funded opportunities to help us in this endeavour.


Winner of the Open Data Institute Award for Data Publishing

Building the ‘City Data’ agenda has born considerable fruit over the past 12 months. In July 2015 the London Datastore received international recognition in the form of the Open Data Institute’s award for Open Data publishing. Our move towards making the Datastore the focus for city data-led innovation has seen unique visits rise to 50,000 per month.

Turning Smart Cities into a Shared Reality

Sharing Cities is our successful bid to the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme Smart Cities and Communities call. With €25 million, we will establish a smart cities demonstrator project with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, drawing on the expertise of a wide range of academic, business and European city partners. Using a 'digital and data-first’ approach we will connect up and improve a range of city services, from parking, to electric bikes and vehicles, through to energy management. Local communities will be heavily engaged in designing a fresh range of data-driven services.

Revolutionising Urban Modelling

The development of WITAN - a ‘world first’ attempt to develop an integrated and fully immersive urban modelling platform that takes into account the relationships and interdependencies across all of employment, housing, population, transport, and which is suitable for use by city planners and citizens alike – is made possible by our winning £1.5m from Innovate UK.

Financial Innovation & Public Services

We have attracted £150,000 of Development Grant from the Big Lottery to develop a Pan-London Social Impact Bond for Children on the Edge of Care, designed to take social finance to scale in London. We have the support of 6 Boroughs and are now engaged in creating the full business case – the interventions required to keep children away from care, as well as the financial model and investment case.

Putting Londoners at the Heart of our Work at City Hall

In Talk London we have created a world class, inclusive, vibrant online community of 15,000 Londoners that supports City Hall in placing citizens needs at the centre of its strategies and programmes by involving them in meaningful research, debate and consultation about how to improve the capital. We have revolutionised how citizens are able to engage in the democratic process of city governance - to ensure that we design policies, interventions, services and products that deliver maximum social impact, while delivering a community experience that empowers individuals and communities to take positive actions that supports a shared vision of the city.

Future priorities

Set the Pace in making London the smartest and most Data driven City on Earth

In some respects we are in a fantastic position – we have in the London Datastore one of the most recognised city Datastores in the world and we have properly innovative city modelling products in development. There is much we can do though - guided by the Smart London Board - to pursue both funded research opportunities and strategic relationships with industry and academia to turn smart city demonstrators into projects which offer genuine city scale and meaningful business and investment models. A key supporting aspect of this will be to implement the City Data Strategy – a much needed means of ensuring secure supply and sharing of meaningful ‘city data’ and providing data suppliers and value generators with the right set of motives and incentives to make the London data economy turn faster still.

Home to London's Evidence Base

The work of our multi-disciplinary team features right the way through strategy development. We have developed a methodology to help policy teams develop strategy, following Open Policy approaches and based around the principles of using new techniques and channels to consult and share and develop policy (imagine a live air quality hack deployed in the development stage of the Environment or Transport Strategy). The Intelligence Unit can deliver all of our traditional and high quality projections in the critical areas of economy, labour markets and population that have always underpinned Mayoral strategies. The unit has a track record in engaging Londoners in new ways that encourage sustained engagement from initial research and consultation on priorities through to co-production and eventual evaluation of policies in strategy setting. We also have in the Datastore a ready-made home for an interactive evidence base, backed up by state-of-the-art visualisation to encourage engagement.

Delivering Financial and Service Innovation

In recent years the Unit has developed a series of innovative – and often digital services (e.g. the London Schools Atlas). Our developmental work on the proposal for a Pan-London Social Impact Bond for Children on the Edge of Care shows our ability to consider new ways of responding to the funding pressures which are still evident across the public sector. 

We know there is more to do and we know we can do more. Progress will be brought about with further collaboration and partnerships, supported by the analytical tools and technology at our disposal, and by a sensible approach to city data sharing and exploitation.

If you have an idea you would like to see developed into a product or analysis that improves London's businesses, communities, infrastructure and public services, contact:

To receive regular updates of our work, you can follow us on twitter at: @LDN_Data and @LDN_Talk or join our mailing list.