Did TfL play fair in awarding the contract for Garden Bridge design?

16 September 2015

Did TfL play fair in awarding the contract for the Garden Bridge?

This meeting took place on 17 September 2015. Read the transcript here.

Questions have been raised by London Assembly Members, journalists, procurement experts and members of the public about the fairness of the process which saw Heatherwick Studio awarded the design contract for the Garden Bridge.  Transport for London’s (TfL) management of the design procurement has emerged as one of the main controversies. 

Critics have claimed that TfL was influenced by pre-bid lobbying of the Mayor by Heatherwick Studio as its supporters.  TfL insists that the process was robust and fair - and with the release of TfL’s internal review, the GLA Oversight Committee will respond to it as part of a wider examination of the procurement process.

Questions will include:

- Did TfL’s tender documentation give bidders enough information to provide robust and comparable bids?

- Did TfL consider clarifying and reissuing the specification to invite the three firms to submit revised bids?

- How did Heatherwick Studio score more highly than the other bidders despite having less experience in bridge design and construction?

The GLA Oversight Committee meets tomorrow and Members will put questions to:

  • Richard De Cani, Managing Director of Planning;
  • Will Hurst, Deputy Editor, Architect’s Journal; and
  • Walter Menteth, former Head of the Procurement Best Practice Sub-Committee, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

The meeting will take place on Thursday, 17th September from 2.00pm in the Chamber, at City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

Media and members of the public are invited to attend.

The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.


Notes to editors

  1. Full agenda papers.
  2. TfL’s audit of the procurement of design and development services for the Temple to South Bank Footbridge Project
  3. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.