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July 20, 2008


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Why not use some of the money saved by closing all the Mayor's worldwide offices, because they're only duplicating work that the British Council and British Embassies are doing (or so Patience says). What did the NY report say? Open more worldwide office?


On the subject of consultants, I noticed in Mayor's question time that he announced that the total cost of the transition team has now been revised down to £213,000 over six months, which seems to have attracted less attention in the blogosphere than the previous figures.

Dave  Hill

Rob: this is true. Will highlight further.


It still isn't clear exactly what the real figure for the transition consultants is. Boris said at MQT that it was £213,000, but the figure given to next week's BMAC committee is £297,399.

It is also important to distinguish what we are talking about when we mention the transition team. The two figures above are for the team of 15 paid to help the Mayor, but additional transition consultants have been hired outside of the Mayor's office. These have not been officially acknowledged or their costs even made available to the assembly.

The total official figure has now been altered three times from the original one. I think we will have to wait until the six months is up and until we know what other consultants have been hired, until we can know for sure how much the transition has cost.

I think the truth is that they still don't know. The problem is that a transition has never been made before, so there is no set strategy for how it should be done. The assembly, including Tory member Roger Evans are now pushing for a formal review to see how it could be done better in the future. Of course they will need to know the real figures before they can do that.


Another reason to have a review of transition arrangements is that quite a lot of GLA business is being put on hold while they do it - Kulveer Ranger admitted as much before the Transport Committee - they're simultaneously getting up to speed with the reigns of power and trying to reassess a huge range of projects, many of which (Cross-River Tram, for instance) have prominent support in the boroughs but no funding, which is an interesting early test for both the new borough-friendly policy and the value for money agenda. I suspect projects backed by or largely in Labour-voting boroughs will get the axe, somehow...

However, I'm inclined to set aside my normal cynicism here and say that it can't be easy doing this for the first time with no manual, but of course Boris did give the impression during the campaign that he had a team ready to go (but couldn't actually tell us who). I wonder if they underestimated the task or the likely scale of problems that emerge when you tell people that you're not sure they should have jobs but then expect them to help you transition quickly.


The full cost of all the transition consultants has now been revealed as £565,000 (max)


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