Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
November 22, 2018
Question By: 
Len Duvall OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Mr Mayor, I was not going to intervene but I do want to go back to an earlier point made by Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon [MBE].  It is not about being in favour - or it should not be about being in favour - of one set of designs or the other.  You may have misunderstood.  It is about the processes.  We have been here before.  When an Assembly Member raises a question about the process, we need to clear the air.  What has happened in terms of questions, in my understanding, that have been asked of TfL is that it has not managed to clear the air.  It is about the process.  These processes were changed because of the process followed on the Garden Bridge, which were wrong before.  This is déjà vu with some of the comments that Assembly Member Bacon was raising.  The issue is you can have a meeting with your Deputy Mayor for Transport [Heidi Alexander] but we need a very clear and comprehensive report that nothing untoward has happened in the processes.  The reason I say that is that TfL has form.  I am not suggesting you are involved in that.  We have officials giving you advice; we had the same officials giving advice to your previous Mayor [The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP], etc, and telling us the processes were right, and the processes were not right and they have been found out not to be right.  There is a trust and confidence in TfL over its procurement practices that need to be cleared.  If it cannot answer in a clear manner in terms of outside this forum, there has to be some questions.


You have rightly offered a meeting with Heidi Alexander [Deputy Mayor for Transport], but I do not want you, as a Labour Mayor, to be tainted with the processes followed by officials who quite frankly either have learnt the lessons or not learnt the lessons.  You need to have some decisive action of clearing the air and making sure that we are clear we are following the rules.  At the moment that is not clear from the information I have seen.  You may have seen something different to us but that is what this Assembly should be looking for.



Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge (Supplementary) [2]

Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Chairman, I am very happy for the Deputy Mayor to meet with Assembly Member Pidgeon and anybody else who wants to meet with her.  What I have been advised in relation to the procurement for the design team is that TfL has appointed a number of specialist suppliers to support it in developing the scheme from the TWAO process.  Following a competitive process, TfL appointed Atkins earlier this year to provide engineering and architectural services to TfL on the project.  Other suppliers included Mott MacDonald on environment, Marico on navigation, and Quod on town planning.  The procurement processes were generally structured to test bidders’ knowledge and experience of developing similar schemes, not to select a specific design.


Len Duvall AM:  Mr Mayor, I would not normally interrupt you and there is some great information there, but this is almost like déjà vu.  We had the same information, the same Acts quoted, the same processes quoted and then we found out something different had happened.  It is best that you look into it.  You have your brief.  You may want to share that information in writing with the [Assembly] Member to check, but some clear statements should be made following that meeting with Heidi Alexander [Deputy Mayor for Transport] that say, “This process is now clear”, because we have had some of that information from your officials and it is still unclear.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, I have made the offer for the Deputy Mayor [for Transport, Heidi Alexander] to meet with relevant [Assembly] Members.  By the same token, we have to be very careful allowing a cloud to stay over TfL.  I accept the point made by the Assembly Member that some of the same people may or may not be involved in this process or involved in the Garden Bridge fiasco, but it is a bit unfair to allow and impression to be left that somehow this procurement process is, in the words of Assembly Member Pidgeon [MBE], smelly.  All I would say to you is I am very happy for Heidi [Alexander] to meet with relevant Assembly Members.  If it is the case that the questions you have are not addressed by the Deputy Mayor [for Transport], of course I am happy to look at it again.


Learning lessons from history is really important.  The definition of insanity is not to learn lessons from errors made and repeat the same behaviour again.  Len, in that spirit, can I suggest a meeting?  I should be looking at you, Caroline [Pidgeon MBE AM].  If you are still unhappy, come back to us and I will then see what else we can do.  Does that, Chairman, address the concerns?


Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  It seems an appropriate way to proceed.