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Press Release

Mayor of London announces new Forensic Audit Panel to investigate GLA and LDA
8-5-2008   227

Today (Thursday, 8 May) the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced the formation of a Forensic Audit Panel to investigate financial management and controls at the London Development Agency and the Greater London Authority.

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.

Heading up the Forensic Audit Panel will be Patience Wheatcroft, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph, a distinguished and long-serving Business Editor of The Times and currently Non Executive Director of Barclays PLC and Shaftesbury PLC.

The other 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 review of the LDA will focus on:

  • Allegations of mismanagement and corruption in the awarding of grants;
  • How conflicts of interest are detected and recorded;
  • The monitoring of grant recipients' performance in delivering what they promised.

The LDA part of the Panel’s work will also suggest new processes to guarantee probity and value for money.

The review of the GLA will focus on:

  • Publicity and advertising expenditure;
  • The use of external consultants and agency staff;
  • All areas where expenditure has grown since 2004.

The Panel’s review of the GLA will also suggest areas where savings can be made without compromising performance.

The Panel will present initial findings and a progress report to the Mayor 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."

Patience Wheatcroft, Head of the Forensic Audit Panel, said:

"It is crucial to understand how public money has beenn 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."

Ends

Notes to Editors

Summary of Forensic Audit Terms of Reference:

LDA:

Examine and conclude on:

Internal Controls and Management approval processes

Use of internal audit

  • Recording and detection of conflicts of interest
  • Anti-fraud and due diligence processes
  • Performance assessment and grant outcome monitoring and follow up.
  • Corporate Governance and control
  • Risk assessment processes
  • Internal personal performance appraisal system

Specific Areas for Review

Full line-by-line balance sheet review including review of provisions and contingent liabilities
Risk weighted review of all grants
 
GLA:
Review of budget setting process and objectives

Biographies of Senior Members of Forensic Audit Panel:
 
- Patience Wheatcroft is currently Non Executive Director of Barclays PLC and Shaftesbury PLC.  In a long and distinguished career as a financial journalist, she was Deputy City Editor of the Mail on Sunday, then Business & City Editor of The Times before becoming editor of the Sunday Telegraph. She is a member of The British Olympic Association Advisory Board and on the Council of the Royal Albert Hall.

- Stephen Greenhalgh is currently Managing Director of BIBA MEDICAL Ltd, having spent 4 years as Principal Management Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 1996 Stephen was elected to Hammersmith and Fulham Council and became Leader of the Council in 2006.

- Edward Lister has been Leader of Wandsworth Council for over 15 years, the authority with the lowest council tax in London. The Government’s own watchdog – the Audit Commission - consistently ranks Wandsworth among the top-performing councils in the country. Edward has fought for efficiency in local government during a long and distinguished career.

- Patrick Frederick is the chief executive of Aimex International, a corporate consultancy providing corporate funding and advisory services to international clients. Previously, he was Head of Global Custody Operations at JP Morgan. In addition, he is also a board member of Hays Executive INclusion Network and a strategic adviser to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship. Also sits on the Board of Investment Centre in Bahrain and MENA-OECD Investment Programme.

- Andrew Gordon is Head of Investigations within the Forensic Services group of PricewaterhouseCoopers, based in London.  He has more than 17 years experience as a forensic accountant and has been a partner for 10 years.  The group plays a lead role in the lifecycle of fraud and other avoidable losses, providing reactive investigative services and proactive remedial and compliance services to clients in the private and public sectors.

His team comprise over 150 dedicated partners and staff who specialise in areas such as investigations, fraud risk management, avoidable loss identification & mitigation, cost control, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery & corruption and corporate intelligence.  The Forensic Services practice is supported by a team of forensic technologists who provide data mining and electronic discovery services.

 
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