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March 8, 2005 9:36 AM

New figures revealed today by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats show that the company that administers the Congestion Charge, Capita, has been fined on average more than £7,400 every day that congestion charging has operated over the last two years for failing to meet performance targets.

The figures, revealed in Mayoral answers to the Liberal Democrats show that between February 2003 and February 2005, Capita has paid Transport for London £4.5 million in fines for the failure to meet targets and other charges such as meeting the cost for failed appeals.

Despite this, Capita are tipped by Transport for London to be awarded an extension to their existing contract for administering the existing zone and the contract for administering the extension if it goes ahead.

The news comes after the Liberal Democrats revealed that in October 2003 some 35% of the performance indicators were not fully met, costing Capita around £580,000 per month. By October 2004, 21% of the performance indicators were still not being met with Capita still paying £100,000 per month for missing targets.

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, Lynne Featherstone, said:-

"From the start of the Congestion Charge the ability of Capita to meet the targets set for them has been consistently poor. While they have improved their service over the last two years, it has time and again failed to meet its obligations in many areas.

"When Capita has been fined £4.5 million by the Mayor and Transport for London, serious questions must be asked of Mr Livingstone as to why he is considering giving the go-ahead to Capita for both an extension on their existing contract and a new contract for the westward extension.

"The Mayor should adapt a more haste, less speed approach to awarding new contracts to Capita until they both meet their current targets and consistently beat these targets over a series of months. Unless this happens, it will be Londoners that could be forced to suffer the consequences."


Notes to editor

· In an answer published by Ken Livingstone to the Lib Dems on the 1st March 2005:-

Congestion Charge Targets

Question No: 567 / 2005

Lynne Featherstone

How much has Capita plc paid TfL in fines and other charges for failure to meet targets since the Congestion Charge started?

Ken Livingstone -

Since the Congestion Charge Scheme started in February 2003 to date, Capita Plc have paid TfL £4.5 million in fines and other charges for the failure to meet targets.

· Since Congestion Charge started there were 731 days. 104 of these were weekends where the scheme was not in operation; 16 were public holidays and 3 were suspensions of the C-charge between Christmas and New Year. This means that the scheme was in operation for 608 days between Feb 2003 and Feb 2005. Therefore £4.5million/608 = £7,401.32 per day of C-charge operation

· The information has been taken from Transport for London Board Papers discussed on the 20th January 2005 Item 8, page 2

"The contract with Capita contains 39 key performance indicators (KPIs) focussed mainly on availability and timeliness of key services and 13 additional indicators (QPIs) focussed on the quality of service across the board. In October 2003 some 35% of the performance indicators (KPIs plus QPIs) were not fully met, some to a very significant degree with consequential cost to Capita of some £580,000/month. By October 2004 the overall picture was much improved with 21% of the performance indicators not being met with the cost to Capita reduced to some £100,000/month."

· According to TfL, the reasons for extending the contract with Capita and giving them the Westward Extension Zone contract can be found below and is taken from pages 7&8 of Item 8 of the Transport for London Board papers discussed on the 20th January 2005:-

5.4 Key factors supporting this rationale are:

· Current service provision for core services (Capita), on-street enforcement (NCP), Merchant Acquirer (Barclays) are satisfactory and the proposed customer improvements will further reduce the level of "hassle".

· Cost of early termination of the Capita contract at TfL's convenience to procure a common service across the combined central and western zones in February 2007, through a new competition, is high (£16.4M) and may adversely affect continuity and level of service.

· The core services currently provided by Capita are scaleable for WEZ and lend themselves to securing a transparent cost plus pricing mechanism, largely determined in accordance with the existing change control mechanism and which offers a best value solution to TfL, predictability of service and advantages in terms of emerging new enforcement infrastructure technology in 2007.

· Full competition for WEZ alone with a go live in Feb 2007 would require considerable additional investment by alternative suppliers for a relatively short contract term (approximately one or two years) estimated at around £55m for the extended core services (excluding the enforcement infrastructure) which is unlikely to offer value for money.

· Full competition for WEZ alone would also; add cost to TfL, result in an impractical designation of responsibilities between service providers over common services between the central zone and proposed extension, add risk to maintaining quality of service on the central scheme and be premature in terms of Tag and Beacon technology, which would allow further improvements to the operation of the scheme.

· The existing Capita and other key contracts allow for a one year extension to their five year term to February 2009 which would allow for extended use of existing assets and tie into the potential offered by Tag and Beacon technology in 2009.

· With a re-let in Feb 2009 for the combined zone, WEZ services will operate for two years at a more reasonable cost to TfL than if the Capita contract was not extended beyond February 2008.

5.5 The following arguments are also relevant to supporting this strategy from a legal perspective.

· Boundary changes are within the contemplation of the original contract and may be invoked through the Mandatory Change Procedure as a permitted variation.

· Capita already provide some retail services to residents in WEZ under the terms of the existing contract.

· The provision of core services and image management to WEZ will be the same as for the CLoCCS service, only a larger scale.

· For technical reasons and reasons connected with the protection of exclusive rights Capita would be the only contractor able effectively to provide those core services which are to be extended for a limited term. As far as practicable, all other services will be competitively let and/or called-off from existing frameworks.

· Procurement of all congestion charging services for the re-let of the proposed combined zone is planned to start in early 2006 with a proposed commencement date of February 2009.