On Friday both the Mayor and the LDA issued 1,200 word press releases claiming that the LDA’s own internal investigation had cleared them all of “corruption” charges. Both press releases are, of course a load of twaddle and no doubt Andrew Gilligan will be laying into them in the Evening Standard in the week to come. The press releases are designed to make you read the positive headline and first paragraph and then glaze over without exploring the details. Boris Johnson’s team were pretty quick to cut through the crap and pull out the main point which was that four or five projects are being investigated by the Police, three of which were referred to them by the LDA as a result of Andrew Gilligan’s investigations.
It is much more fruitful to read Andrew Travers’, the LDA’s Group Director Resources and Risk, actual report to the board. It makes it pretty clear that Andrew Gilligan’s columns in the Evening Standard have been hitting home. It is particularly telling that the conclusions of this document (Section 8.) use nothing like the form of words used on the Mayor’s front page.
The detailed report lists 16 allegations made by Andrew Gilligan and responds to each one in turn. By my reading they are admitting that Gilligan was right or substantially right in 9 out of 16 cases. In 2 cases they could find no evidence to defend themselves with. In five cases they assert that Gilligan was wrong but provide no evidence to back up their assertions.
Furthermore it is clear that Lee Jasper has been meddling with operational matters inappropriately. They say:
The LDA’s scheme of delegation, standing orders and financial regulations give no powers to Mayoral advisers to make decisions in respect of LDA operational matters.
In other words Lee Jasper had no right to meddle in LDA operational matters.
The review indicates that the Director of Policing and Equalities has had engagement with the LDA on an operational level.
In other words Lee Jasper did meddle in operational matters.
The report concludes that the LDA needs to progress existing decisions taken in respect of project and records management and should review commissioning strategies for projects that seek to both build capacity, and deliver through, organisations that reflect London’s diversity.
In other words the LDA can’t manage projects or keep relevant records and has made no progress in doing so in spite of already having identified weaknesses in this area. Furthermore, it needs to be careful how it spends money on “diversity” projects.
There really does need to be an independent look into all of this.