London’s tourism and promotions agency could soon be forced to declare all spending over £500.
London & Partners receives the majority of its public funding from the Greater London Authority but is currently exempt from the Mayor’s commitment to publish all expenditure above this level.
However Mayor Boris Johnson has said a review into City Hall’s governance framework will include considering whether to extend the rules to GLA grant recipients, including L&P.
The Mayor’s comments were made in response to a question from Green party Assembly Member Darren Johnson.
L&P was set up by the Mayor to replace the capital’s three former promotions agencies and last year received over £15m in grants from the GLA.
Last year Assembly Members called for the governance arrangements for London & Partners to be reviewed. A report noted that despite being the “sole founding Member of London & Partners” the Greater London Authority had no Mayoral representative on the company’s board.
AMs said the review was necessary “to ensure that there are appropriate checks and balances to protect the interests of the GLA while allowing London and Partners sufficient freedom to operate efficiently and effectively.”
In December staff declined to reveal how much the agency spent on sponsoring an industry awards ceremony, citing commercial confidentiality.
The body also declined multiple opportunities to confirm or deny that the money used came from its City Hall funding.
L&P expenditure (including salaries) per area of promotion (£’000) from GLA grant:
Marketing and comms across all promotional areas, including leisure tourism – 5,711
Digital platforms and social media – 899
Propositions & Insight – 570
Business tourism promotion – 1,972
Attracting foreign direct investment (including overseas offices) – 2,260
Promoting higher education (including wider commercial partnerships) – 157
Delivering Olympic legacy – 781
Operations and transition – 3,475
Total GLA grant – 15,825
Expenditure (£’000) from other public sources:
Marketing and comms (London Councils) – 30
Attracting foreign direct (City of London) – 50
Delivering Olympic legacy (Tower Hamlets) – 35
Operations and transition (LDA and London Councils) – 84
Total other public funding – 199