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Frequently Asked Questions

General

How can I find out more about the GLA?
Can I visit the GLA at City Hall?
How do I get hold of recent GLA publications?
How can I find out about GLA conferences?
Does the GLA issue birth certificates or death certificates?

Budget and funding

Does the GLA charge Council Tax?
What does the GLA spend its money on?
Can I apply to the GLA for funding?
Does the GLA charge for documents?
What else does the GLA charge for?

Representation

Who represents me in London?
Who is my Assembly Member?
Who is the Mayor?
What's the difference between the Mayor of London and the Lord Mayor of London?

Transport

How do I find out about public transport in London?
How can I make a complaint/comment about transport in London?
Where can I find out more about congestion charging?
Is my local minicab firm licensed?
Who should I contact about parking?
Who should I contact about roadworks?

Culture

How can I find out more about the London 2012 Olympic Games?
How does the GLA contribute to London's cultural life?

Planning and development

What's happening with Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square Gardens?
Is the GLA pedestrianising any other streets in London?

Housing and homelessness

Who should I contact about a housing issue?

Answers:

How can I find out more about the Greater London Authority (GLA)?

There is a great deal of information about the GLA on this website - one place to start is the About the GLA page.

The GLA can provide a short presentation outlining the roles and responsibilities of the GLA, the Mayor of London and the London Assembly, for small groups of people, including school groups. Contact the Public Liaison Unit (020 7983 4100) for further information.

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Can I visit the GLA at City Hall?

Yes. City Hall is open to the public Mondays to Fridays and also for London Open House Weekend. Please see the City Hall public access page for information about visiting City Hall, including opening hours. All visitors must undergo a security check on entering the building.

View online panoramas of City Hall.

The public can access the Lower Ground Floor, where there is a cafe, a visitor centre and an area for exhibitions, and Floor 2, where the Chamber is.

There is sometimes access to the top floor, Floor 9, where there are excellent views over London from London's Living Room. However, when events are taking place in London's Living Room, there is no public access to Floor 9.

Meetings and debates take place in the Chamber, most of which are open to the public. To find out about meetings held in the Chamber that are organised by the London Assembly, see the section on Meetings of the London Assembly and Assembly committees.

Some small exhibitions are also held on Floor 2, outside the Chamber. For details of these exhibitions, contact the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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How do I get hold of recent GLA publications?

You can download all of the GLA's recent publications from this website:

You can also obtain printed copies of many current documents. There is a charge for some of the large publications, but many are free. Information about printed copies of GLA publications.

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How can I find out about GLA conferences?

There are a number of conferences organised by the Mayor of London each year. These include:

  • the State of London Debate: a conference that brings Londoners together to discuss key issues affecting them, and gives them the opportunity to question the Mayor and other key policy-makers for the capital
  • Disability Capital: the Mayor's disability equality conference, which provides a forum for disabled and Deaf Londoners to discuss key issues with policy-makers, reports on the progress of the GLA’s Disability Equality Scheme and action plan, and celebrate the contribution of disabled and Deaf Londoners to the capital.

Other conferences are organised on an ad-hoc basis. They are listed in the online Events Calendar, and many are advertised in London's newspapers. You can also check the London Issues section of the GLA website for conferences relating to specific subject areas. Most conferences are free, but you will usually need to register in advance to secure a place.

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Does the GLA issue birth certificates or death certificates?

Birth and death certificates are not the responsibility of the GLA. To find details of how to obtain these certificates, visit the following organisations' websites:

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Does the GLA charge Council Tax?

No! The GLA does not directly tax London residents, but a part of the Council Tax levied by local borough councils is set by the Mayor to provide funds for the GLA, the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), Transport for London (TfL) and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).

Much of the cost of funding the GLA family - MPA, TfL, LFEPA, and the GLA itself - comes from government grants.

Find out more about the GLA Annual Budget.

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What does the GLA spend its money on?

The Mayor develops strategies to make London a better city. The Mayor works with the transport, police, fire and development authorities to provide Londonwide services. These include: reducing crime and making London safer; improving public transport; reducing traffic congestion; making more affordable housing available; improving deprived areas and improving the environment; supporting tourism and economic development; championing equalities and tackling deprivation.

You can read more about the Mayor's Priorities and the GLA Budget.

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Can I apply to the GLA for funding?

No; the Greater London Authority is not a grant-giving body and is unable to assist with funding. Its budget is relatively small and it is not set up to give grants or to sponsor other organisations.

The London Development Agency delivers the Mayor's economic development and regeneration strategy. The agency has funds to deliver these objectives and can sometimes assist with match funding where a proposal fits with its strategic objectives and delivery targets.

Alternatively, you may wish to approach

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Does the GLA charge for documents?

Many GLA documents are available for free download from this website. Alternative formats such as printed versions or version on a CD-ROM may be charged for. These charges are intended to cover the costs of producing the alternative format.

For a full list of charges, you can read the GLA's Fees and Charges Policy page.

What else does the GLA charge for?

For a full list of fees and charges, see the GLA's Fees and Charges Policy page.

Who represents me in London?

The last election of Mayor and London Assembly was on 1 May 2008.

The Mayor

The Mayor is elected to provide a voice for the whole of London. He manages a gross budget of £10.7 billion, develops strategies to improve the city, runs vital services such as the transport system and promotes London abroad. Elections for the Mayor are held every four years.

Find out about the Role of the Mayor.

The London Assembly

Members of the London Assembly act as a check and balance on the Mayor. They are elected by the people of London every four years, at the same time as the Mayor. Some represent specific areas of London; others are elected as 'londonwide' members of the Assembly. The London Assembly scrutinises the Mayor's performance and makes proposals to the Mayor.

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Who is my Assembly Member?

If you want to know more about your Assembly Member visit the Assembly Members' pages.

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Who is the Mayor?

The current Mayor is Boris Johnson. Read his biography.

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What is the difference between the Mayor of London and the Lord Mayor of London?

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was elected Mayor for a four-year term on 2 May 2008.

The Mayor of London has a range of specific powers and duties, and a general power to do anything that will promote economic and social development and environmental improvement in London. It is also the responsibility of the Mayor to set the annual budget for the four functional bodies in the Greater London Authority - the Metropolitan Police Authority, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, the London Development Agency and Transport for London.

There is also a Lord Mayor of London - a post that has existed for many centuries. The Lord Mayor is head of the Corporation of London, which represents business and residents from the City of London - the central business district.

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Transport

How do I find out about transport in London?

For general information on Transport for London (TfL), including visitor guides, local travel guides and TfL news, visit Transport for London.

For information on National Rail Services, to find out about rail timetables or plan your route, visit National Rail.

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How can I make a complaint/comment about transport in London?

The Greater London Authority does not have operational responsibility for the services provided by Transport for London. Any complaints or comments on their services should be directed to their contact points, listed below.

Other contact details:

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Where can I find out more about congestion charging?

Congestion Charging is now operating in central London, between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays and designated non-charging days). Visit the congestion charging website, www.tfl.gov.uk/cclondon to find out where congestion charging operates, how to pay the charge or whether you are eligible for an exemption or discount. Businesses and fleets that use the charging zone can also find information relevant to them.

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Is my local minicab firm licensed?

To find out whether a minicab firm is licensed, check with the Public Carriage Office, which oversees taxi licensing. You can search online using their database of licensed firms. You use the database to see a list of all licensed minicab operators by borough.

You can also call the Transport for London Travel Information Line on 020 7222 1234 (24 hours a day).

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Who should I contact about parking ?

The Mayor cannot intervene in parking issues, which are the responsibility of the local borough councils.

However there is a formalised systems through which you may appeal if you dispute a parking penalty notice. You should complain in the first instance to the local borough which issued the penalty notice.

If you are not happy with the borough's decision, you can then appeal to an independent parking adjudicator at
Parking Appeals Service, New Zealand House,
80 Haymarket, London SW1 4TE.
Tel No: 020 7747 4700.

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Who should I contact about roadworks?

  • Red Routes
    Transport for London (TfL) Street Management are responsible for operating 550 km of London's most important roads - the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). Most of these roads are Red Routes, identifiable by red lines and signs.
  • Motorways
    M1, M4, M11 and M25 are the responsibility of the Highways Agency.
  • Local roads
    The remainder of London's roads are run by local borough councils.

TfL Street Management will also be responsible for the operation of London's traffic control systems, maintaining London's strategic roads and improving conditions for cyclists, pedestrians and bus passengers.

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Culture

How does the GLA contribute to London's cultural life?

The GLA organises many cultural events throughout the year, sometimes in partnership with other organisations. Most events are free and open to the public. Free events include:

The Mayor is also responsible for promoting culture in London, in particular increasing participation in the arts in London and making culture more accessible to all Londoners.

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How can I find out more about the London 2012 Olympic Games?

Visit the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games section to find out more about London's plans for 2012 and the Games' benefits for London, Londoners and the rest of the UK.

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Planning and development

What's happening with Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square Gardens?

Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square are being revitalised as part of the World Squares for All programme. The two squares come under the management control of the Mayor of London.

Trafalgar Square has been transformed into a more vibrant and accessible space at the heart of London, and has won a number of urban design awards. It is the setting for a vibrant programme of cultural events, enjoyed by Londoners and visitors alike.

The Mayor's vision for Parliament Square Gardens is that it should be a symbolic and dignified setting for Parliament, in keeping with the historic buildings that surround it. Pedestrian access to the square will be improved, providing a safe and accessible link with Westminster Abbey.

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Is the GLA pedestrianising any other streets in London?

The Mayor does not have plans to pedestrianise other streets in London. The London boroughs are responsible for the majority of streets in London.

A network of major roads through the capital, called the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) is maintained by Transport for London, covering about five per cent of London's total street system. The priorities for the TLRN, set by the Mayor's Transport Strategy, are to reduce traffic congestion and reduce the impact of traffic; make the streets safer and more secure; manage the street space more effectively; and make the streets more attractive.

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Housing and homelessness

Who should I contact about a housing issue?

Although the Mayor considers housing issues at a strategic, Londonwide level, he cannot intervene in individual housing applications and disputes.

For these issues, you will need to contact the representatives of your local area, such as your MP, your local councillor or your local borough's housing department, depending on the specific problem.

Generally, your local borough council is responsible for making decisions regarding housing issues and you should contact them first.

If you have a problem with the local borough council, you should go through their complaints procedure first. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman using their Adviceline on 0845 602 1983, open Monday - Friday 9.00am - 4.30pm

If you have problem with a private landlord, the Independent Housing Ombudsman Scheme deals with disputes between landlords and tenants in England.

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