After three and a half years of refusing to do so, Transport for London has finally published its contract with Barclays for sponsorship of the capital’s cycle hire scheme.
We’re supposed to be magnanimous in victory but it’d remiss of me to let the occasion pass without reminding TfL of its predictions of doom should the contract or any financial information relating to it ever enter into the public domain.
As today’s publication proves, all that was bunkum.
The real reason TfL didn’t publish the contract is because it voluntarily agreed to a clause which said it wouldn’t.
It’s pleasing to see past promises to undo that decision have come to fruition and given TfL’s last promise that all future contracts will contain clauses ensuring swift publication, it should be the last major contract that needs to be wrestled from their grip.
Unlike the Emirates contract, this one doesn’t contain a big noisy example of wrongdoing by TfL or its sponsor, but then discovering one was never the point of requesting publication.
As I’ve written before, Barclays has been given top-billing on a scheme for which it is a minority funder, in effect deriving acres of positive PR from millions of pounds of public investment.
It’s therefore important that the full nature of the contact, including TfL’s obligations and the bank’s rights under are properly understood by the public and scrutinised by media and politicians.
I’ve not yet had time to assess each of TfL’s past FOI responses against the full contract but I have asked them to clarify the colour coding of a ‘crisis management’ list contained in the contract, specifically why accidents affecting people who aren’t well-known are seemingly lower down the important list than those which do.
According to the list, they’re on the same level as small-scale vandalism:
which is hopefully some kind of printing error.
And my fellow-journalists might be interested in this insight into how TfL views us: