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23 July 2014 | Will Green
A watchdog has criticised Transport for London’s (TfL) procurement procedures around its £200 million annual spend on telecoms.
The Independent Investment Programme Advisory Group (IIPAG) said there were “too many suppliers of similar things”, there was “significant duplication of infrastructure and services”, and advantages of scale were being “poorly exploited”.
TfL’s telecoms spend includes major contracts with CityLink Telecommunications, Fujitsu and BT, and the IIPAG said there were “major opportunities for TfL to save significant expenditure while improving service”.
In its annual report the IIPAG said procurement for all telecoms across rail and underground should be centralised.
“IIPAG has concluded that the fragmented model for telecommunications at TfL is not fit for purpose, and that TfL should radically simplify its arrangements by establishing a separate business unit to manage all telecommunications,” said the report.
“This unit should form a single focal point responsible and accountable for telecommunications asset management, technical and commercial strategy (including commercial exploitation) and the procurement of all telecommunications across TfL.”
Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary, said: “Two key areas of this report shine a light on the problems at the top – fragmentation and a proliferation of contractors and suppliers. Very similar issues undermine our rail services and TfL need to refocus on their duty as a public service to the people of London.”
A TfL spokeswoman said: “We support IIPAG's assessment that there are opportunities to make savings and deliver value for money through the management of telecommunications. We are actively investigating how this can best be delivered while continuing to ensure our day to day operational needs are met."