No more FOIs, TfL publishes chief officer expenses online

Transport for London would like a round of applause for “proactively” publishing the latest expenses claims of its Chief officers.

These are the same claims (Jan-March 2013) that TfL refused just last week to provide under an FOI request. It did however provide details of older expenses claims, including Peter Hendy’s now infamous purchase of toy buses for Boris.

As an aside, one might have thought a man whose schedule is so packed he has to charge the taxpayer thousands of pounds for Taxis would be a bit too busy to engage in gift shopping for the Mayor.

His latest claims total £1,593.94, with Taxis again accounting for the lion’s share.

In a statement lamenting its inability to no longer stave off heralding its embracement of transparency, TfL claims: “All expenditure within the organisation is carefully assessed to ensure it is essential to providing a safe, efficient, extensive and reliable transport network including expenses incurred by Chief Officers who often are called upon to travel out of the capital on business and attend conferences and other out of hours business related activities.”

“Essential” is a curious way to describe claims for magazine subscriptions, coffee cups and £2.40 of internet use.

It’ll be interesting to see what impact routine publication has on the expenses TfL’s officer class claim in future. At City Hall, where a single claim costs the taxpayer £25 to process, the Mayor and Assembly Members have largely given up submitting claims.

TfL has yet to tell me how much it costs to process their expenses claims.

Let’s hope it’s less than City Hall’s internal costings, otherwise the £28.03 claim from Leon Daniels (reported salary £234,000) could have cost the taxpayer almost the same again in admin fees.