London Assembly members from all four City Hall parties joined forces yesterday to demand Boris Johnson opens up his overseas promotions agency to public scrutiny.
London & Partners was set up in 2011 to replace three separate bodies which each promoted the capital to tourists, businesses and students, and is majority funded by a City Hall grant.
However the Mayor’s decision to establish the agency as a private limited company means it’s exempt from Freedom of Information laws and doesn’t have to co-operate with Assembly Members.
Last month L&P used its exemption from scrutiny to refuse to reveal how much it paid senior managers.
At the time Mr Johnson claimed to have no idea the organisation had adopted such an uncooperative stance.
Labour have already called on the Mayor to use his annual grant as leverage in securing greater openness in the wake of allegations and questions about L&P’s role in the awarding of a City Hall contract to Chinese developers ABP.
Yesterday all Assembly parties united behind a motion proposed by Lib Dem AM Stephen Knight calling for “immediate” action to allow the public to see how their money is being spent.
To allow this to be achieved, AMs want L&P to:
- abide by the principles of the GLA Group Corporate Governance Framework;
- publish a register of gifts, expenses and hospitality for all board members and senior staff;
- proactively disclose information and to respond to requests for information as if they were covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA);
- provide the Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee with a full business plan during the course of its annual scrutiny of the Mayor’s budget; and
- provide the GLA Oversight Committee with full details of senior employee pay, as previously requested.
Mr Knight AM said: “Londoners deserve to know where and how their money is spent.
“The recent allegations of impropriety have highlighted how important it is that London and Partners now operates with the openness and transparency that Londoners would expect of a publicly funded body.”