Fewer people, venue moved in-house yet costs go up: bravo, Boris

Adam Bienkov has the remarkable story of how Mayor of London Boris Johnson managed to up the costs of the annual ‘State of London’ debate despite cutting back its scope, moving it from an external venue to City Hall and having fewer people attend.

One extra detail I’d add to what Adam has covered: looking at the GLA’s evaluation report, I’m struck by how many opportunities were missed to promote the event online at very little cost. In particular, publicising events via Facebook comes with no charge and can be an effect way of making a high profile event spread virally. With the Mayor of London’s own high profile social media presence, there could have been a low-cost and likely high impact social media drive to promote the event – if the powers that be had been really committed to a high audience. Instead it looks as if only a modest campaign was run because the level of public participation wasn’t in the end considered that important.

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