Metronet contracts: 'independent' panel [1]

Meeting: 
MQT on 2009-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Reference: 
2009/3292
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

A joint announcement by you and the Secretary of State reveals that you yourself are going to appoint a 'panel of experts' to monitor London Underground's progress (or lack of it) with the Metronet contracts. This panel will be appointed by you and report to the TfL Board, no doubt in its closed session. How can anyone believe in the independence of this panel ?

Answer

Answer for Metronet contracts: 'independent' panel [1]

Answer for Metronet contracts: 'independent' panel [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The announcement that the Secretary of State and I made recently, confirming that London Underground (LU) will remain permanently responsible for Metronet's former activties, with some new scrutiny measures put in place, reflects two key factors.

Firstly that, contrary to your inference that LU has made no progress with the Metronet contracts, it has already taken significant steps to enhance its organisation and management, resulting in improved (and more transparent) delivery of both day to day maintenance and renewal works, since it took over Metronet's responsibilities. This has been achieved while also achieving significant efficiencies in the face of a chaotic financial legacy from Metronet's collapse.

Secondly, that ultimate responsibility for Metronet's former activities now rests with the TfL Board and the Mayor, in the same way as do TfL's other activities. As such they are subject to the same multiple layers of scrutiny (including by the Assembly) and in the final analysis to the judgement of Londoners, who elect the Mayor.

The new scrutiny measures will enhance this further. The shortlist from which the independent advisory panel will be appointed will be agreed by the Secretary of State, and its reports will be available to him. The experts will be asked to provide advice to the TfL Board about all aspects of projects, and as such it is likely that their views will be commercially confidential, and therefore be dealt with in closed session. I do however completely reject your suggestion that the panel and its members will be anything less than independent. They will be independent experts with reputations and integrity, and their advice will be invaluable to the TfL Board in carrying out is role.