TfL Commissioner dismisses calls for missing minutes of crucial meetings with the GBT
9 Jan 2018
Will Hurst from the Architect's Journal, reported on Friday that the charity set up to deliver the Garden Bridge i.e. the Garden Bridge Trust (GBT), is under pressure to release minutes of its meetings to the London Assembly, where key decisions were made about the failed vanity project, championed by former London mayor Boris Johnson.
TfL has a duty to ensure that the GBT keeps records of these meetings as outlined in the Deed of Grant, yet its commissioner Mike Brown, continues to absolve himself and TfL of any responsibility in this matter, by casually referring to the GBT who are in the process of winding down and "were too limited ‘to allocate any more resources’ to answering the AJ’s questions."
Our chairman Michael Ball has this to say about Mike Brown's indifference to this controversial situation:
Mike Brown is the chief officer of the largest spending single public organisation in the country, yet he still doesn’t get it. Why?
The Garden Bridge was a TfL project being delivered by an independent charity reliant almost exclusively on TfL money. It is the norm that representatives of sponsors and/or major funders of public projects sit on the board or steering group for the project; in this case, with the charity a Special Purpose Vehicle established at the behest of the Mayor and with support from TfL, such oversight was explicitly written into the terms of the Deed of Grant. Yet Brown doesn’t think it’s TfL’s job to even have records!
Which of Brown’s minions went to the meetings? Was it the senior officer who oversaw the cooking up of the procurement of Arup, and who was subsequently given a senior job by Arup?
Does Brown care? While Boris was still Mayor, Brown reacted like an over-promoted bully when questioned by the GLA Scrutiny Committee, suggesting he had real work to do rather than answer their tedious questions about a Garden Bridge project for which he continued to bend policy and commit funds. Brown ate the tiniest morsel of humble pie at the last Scrutiny meeting in autumn 2017, when the project had been abandoned by its ‘deliverers’ who had delivered nothing but swallowed £46m of public funds: Brown appeared then to casually waft away serious questions about his conduct.
He was warned then that what officers were up to may prove to have been illegal. His head is really sticking out, but Brown is calling the Scrutiny Committee’s bluff with his insouciance.
It’s time his head was served up on a plate – he might then finally take his culpability seriously, and may even finger the vanishing Boris…
CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE GARDEN BRIDGE
We are dedicated to saving public space on the South Bank and over the River Thames. The controversial Garden Bridge is not needed here, it would destroy protected views and is democratically and environmentally damaging. Help us stop this now.
17 Sept 2015. GLA Oversight Committee Agenda Item 8, p71-72. Walter Menteth Report submission to the GLA Oversight Committee to inform their examination into the procurement of the design and technical services for the Thames Garden Bridge. Document review, analysis, report & response to GLA questions by Walter Menteth of Project Compass CIC as expert witness on behalf of industry. 34p.