TfL procurement 'weaknesses' raise fears over value for money

2 August 2022

A review should take place into procurement at Transport for London (TfL) amid concerns over value for money, according to a Greater London Authority (GLA) committee.

The GLA Oversight Committee called on TfL to review the procurement of the Bond Street Crossrail station after it said a series failures to follow procurement procedures may have resulted in taxpayers’ not getting “the best value for money”.

A report examined the procurement processes on Crossrail’s Bond Street Station, the now abandoned Garden Bridge Project, the construction of the Silvertown Tunnel, developments to the Royal Albert Docks, regeneration schemes at the East Bank, and developments to the Silvertown Quays.

The report said: “During 2019- 20 TfL identified a series of weaknesses with the application of procurement rules throughout the organisation. Procurement arrangements were not being followed in all cases, which led to a significant number of single-source tender arrangements, and other contracting arrangements, that may not have provided best value for money.” 

It continued: “The public must have full confidence that TfL is carrying out its financial responsibilities in the right way – and this includes oversight of third-party stakeholders to whom public money is used to deliver infrastructure projects.”

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly and chair of the GLA Oversight Committee, said the report showed there was “reason to be concerned” over procurement of the projects. 

Pigeon said: “Responsible procurement... has the potential to create a ripple effect through London’s suppliers, as well as nationally and internationally, that can change the way products and services are designed, provided, consumed and disposed of.”

The report called on TfL to formally review the procurement and delivery of Bond Street Crossrail station and the impacts on the delivery of the railway to “ensure that lessons are learned for future major projects”. 

Crossrail was forced to pay £19m to the Costain Skanska joint venture following an agreement to terminate the contract to deliver the new Elizabeth Line station at Bond Street in light of Covid-19 restrictions. 

The report also noted almost £53.5m was spent on the abandoned Garden Bridge project, £42.9m of which was funded by the public sector, with TfL paying £23.9m. The project saw TfL run closed tendering processes for the awarding of its design contract, under the mayorship of Boris Johnson.

The GLA recommended when there was a small number of bids for a project, TfL should use an independent expert to estimate the costs for the delivery of the project to ensure value for money is being met. 

Jonathan Patrick, chief procurement officer at TfL, said: “We welcome the London Assembly’s report into procurement across the GLA and will review and respond to the recommendations in due course. We regularly review our robust procurement procedures and assurance processes to ensure that we can learn from previous procurements and further ensure value for money as well as our commitment to transparency.”

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