MD2041 REVIEW OF THE GARDEN BRIDGE PROJECT

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2041
Date signed: 
19 October 2016
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor is committed to ensuring that Londoners have full information about how public money is being spent. As part of this commitment, the Mayor has initiated a review of the Garden Bridge project, and intends to appoint Dame Margaret Hodge MP to lead this independent review. 
The Garden Bridge review will consider whether taxpayers are receiving value for money. It will look in detail at the procurement process around the project, and whether required standards have been met around transparency and openness going back to the beginning of the project. A report will be produced for the Mayor following the completion of the review and the Mayor has committed to publishing the report in full. 
The review has been allocated a contingency budget of £25,000 for its duration. The review will be supported by GLA officers who will provide secretariat and audit support. The timelines for the review will be determined by the review’s progress. 
 

Decision

The Mayor approves: 
-    The appointment of Dame Margaret Hodge MP to lead an independent review of the Garden Bridge project
-    The terms of reference for the review (appendix 1)
-    The publication of the final report arising from the review 
-    Expenditure of up to £25,000, to procure and appoint specialist consultancy support for the review, if required.
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The Garden Bridge project intends to provide a footbridge linking Temple with the Southbank at a revised cost of £185m. £60 million of public money has been pledged: the previous Mayor of London approved a £30 million funding pledge from Transport for London (TfL), while the Government has pledged a further £30 million. £20 million of the money pledged by TfL is in the form of a loan to be repaid in full. Approximately £37 million has already been spent from the total £60 million pledged by Government and TfL. If the Garden Bridge is finished, the £20 million loan be repaid to TfL and the Garden Bridge Trust will also need to pay approximately £22 million in VAT to the Treasury – leaving an ultimate cost to the taxpayer of £18 million.
1.2    The Mayor has been clear that no new public funds under his control should be committed to the Garden Bridge project, and since his first week in office has pledged to make the project more open and transparent. 
1.3    The Mayor will initiate a review of the Garden Bridge project. The Mayor has expressed his concerns about the early days of the project and that it did not reach expected levels of transparency. 
1.4    The Garden Bridge review will consider whether taxpayers are receiving value for money. It will look in detail at the procurement process around the project, and whether required standards have been met around transparency and openness going back to the beginning of the project. 
1.5    The review will set out any lessons that should be learnt in order to improve the conduct of potential and approved projects in the future. A report will be produced for the Mayor following the completion of the review and the Mayor has committed to publishing the report in full. 
1.6    Dame Margaret Hodge’s experience means she is well-qualified to undertake this review. She has been a London M.P. since 1994, representing Barking, and for five years chaired the Public Accounts Committee, scrutinising public spending across all areas of Government.  Dame Margaret has previously expressed no opinion either for or against the Garden Bridge and brings no preconceptions to the role. 
1.7    Although Dame Margaret will be providing her services free of charge, a contingency budget of £25,000 has been allocated to the review.  This contingency budget will provide for any legal or specialist advice that Dame Margaret may require in order to support the review.
1.8    The review will be supported by GLA officers who will provide secretariat and audit support. The officers selected have had no involvement in the project and the officers will work to Dame Margaret’s direction. The Head of Paid Service has set out his expectation that all officers of the GLA and its functional bodies will fully cooperate with the review and provide all information requested.
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The terms of reference for the review are included in Appendix A. 
2.2    The Garden Bridge review will consider whether taxpayers are receiving value for money. It will look in detail at the procurement process around the project, and whether required standards have been met around transparency and openness going back to the beginning of the project. 
2.3    The review will set out any lessons that should be learnt in order to improve the conduct of potential and approved projects in the future. A report will be produced for the Mayor following the completion of the review and the Mayor has committed to publishing the report in full. 
 

Equality comments

3.1    There is not expected to be any negative impact in terms of equality as part of this review; it will be mindful of all the requirements set out in the Equality Act 2010 and as a result will be of benefit to all Londoners.

 

Other considerations

Key risks and issues 
4.1    Were the review not carried out, the Mayor would be unable to receive assurances about the value for money being offered to taxpayers. This would leave the London public less informed about a significant project, which has already been provided with public funds. 
Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 
4.2    The Mayor was elected on a clear mandate to be an open and transparent Mayor and this review will contribute to that commitment. 
 

Financial comments

5.1    Any costs arising from the review will be met from the Development, Enterprise and Environment Directorate Central Programme Budget subject to authorisation from the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment.   

 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Activity

Timeline

Announcement of review and independent lead

September 2016

Publication of final review

To be confirmed