London mayor Boris Johnson has appointed a Forensic Audit Panel to
investigate financial management and control of the London Development Agency
and the Greater London Authority.
The LDA faced criticism in January over the way in which it accounted for its
The Forensic Audit Panel has been tasked with recommending procedures to
guarantee probity and transparency, as well as identifying areas where
efficiencies can be made and resources redirected to the new mayor’s priorities.
Johnson has also hired former editor of The Sunday Telegraph, Patience
Wheatcroft, a distinguished and long-serving Business Editor of The Times and
currently Non Executive Director of Barclays PLC and Shaftesbury PLC.
Other team members include Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Hammersmith and
Fulham Council; Patrick Frederick, Chief Executive of Aimex International and
former Head of Global Custody Operations for JPMorgan; Edward Lister, Leader of
Wandsworth Council, and Andrew Gordon, Head of Investigations within the
Forensic Services group of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who will act as Independent
Expert Advisor to the Panel.
The panel is to focus on allegations of mismanagement and corruption in the
awarding of grants; how conflicts of interest are detected and recorded; and the
monitoring of grant recipients’ performance in delivering what they promised.
The panel has also been asked to suggest new processes to guarantee probity
and value for money in relation to Publicity and advertising expenditure; the
use of external consultants and agency staff; and all areas where expenditure
has grown since 2004.
The panel is required to suggest areas in which savings can be made without
Johnson expects a progress report from the panel within 30 days and a final
report within 60 days.
Commenting on the appointment of the panel, Boris Johnson said: ‘I was
elected on a promise to provide Londoners with better value for money from
their taxes. I am delighted to have recruited some of the most capable and
experienced people in the Capital to scrutinise recent performance at the LDA
and GLA and suggest ways to prevent mismanagement and waste in future.
‘Patience Wheatcroft will be fearless and dogged in pursuit of the truth
about recent practices at the LDA. My administration has much to learn from
Eddie Lister and Stephen Greenhalgh’s experience of delivering value for money
to London taxpayers and will benefit greatly from the financial acumen of
Patrick Frederick,’ he said.
Patience Wheatcroft, Head of the panel said: ‘It is crucial to understand how
public money has been wasted or misspent in the past so that we can make sure
that it doesn’t happen again. I am honoured to serve the new Mayor on this
important initiative and am delighted that our Panel will be able to call on the
expertise of Andrew Gordon, one of the country’s leading forensic accountants.
We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure that the LDA and GLA
deliver value for money to the taxpayers of London.’
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