Barclays and Emirates TfL sponsorship deals under fire

Cycle hire: TfL criticised over its handling of sponsorship deal with Barclays
Cycle hire: TfL criticised over its handling of sponsorship deal with Barclays

Transport for London's handling of sponsorship deals with Emirates and Barclays has been criticised by the London Assembly today (20 February) in a report that calls for more transparency.

The report, ‘Whose brand is it anyway?’ by the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee, said Transport for London's (TfL) approach to sponsorship deals needs to be "clearer, more consistent and transparent".

In January, TfL announced Wonga.com and other payday loan companies were to be banned from signing major corporate sponsorships with TfL, following the highly criticised deal with Wonga for New Year's Eve 2010.

Although the committee noted that TfL had recognised it had "got it wrong" in the past, it added a lack of transparency had fuelled public speculation and criticism of the deals with Barclays around the cycle-hire scheme, and with Emirates around sponsorship of the cable car across the Thames in East London.

Issues raised in the report include whether TfL should have opened out the tender process for the cycle-hire scheme rather than granting Barclays an extension to 2018, and why Emirates will be added to the London Underground map as part of the cable car deal, when TfL had previously expressed objections to sponsor messages on the map.

The report's conclusion said that although the protection of legitimate commercial confidentiality of private sector partners would remain necessary, "this alone does not justify the lack of transparency in some areas".

John Biggs, London Assembly member and chair of the Budget and Performance Committee, said: "Sponsorship offers a chance to bring in large sums of money for London's transport network, which might make the difference between new infrastructure going ahead or remaining on the drawing board.

"However, so far, Transport for London seems to have taken an ad-hoc approach to sponsorship, which could expose it to unnecessary risk if a sponsor suffered serious reputational damage. This is something you can't always predict – look at what happened to BP."

To ensure Londoners can be confident they are getting the best deal in the future, the report calls on TfL to conduct deals in the open to show it can effectively manage both the benefits and risks of using private sponsorship to fund projects.

Biggs said: "TfL has acknowledged the need for a new single policy on sponsorship, but it must also take a more consistent and transparent approach so Londoners can be sure any future deals are in the best interests of the capital."

The committee welcomed TfL's commitment to producing a new single policy on sponsorship, "as there is some evidence of inconsistency in the management of recent sponsorship deals". However, it said the new policy needed to consolidate recent experience and learn from best practice from elsewhere in the public sector.

Graeme Craig, commercial development director at Transport for London, said: "We welcome this report, which works with the grain of how we are developing our new sponsorship policy.

"This will set out the services that we would be prepared to have sponsored and the types of organisations with whom we would enter into such arrangements.

"We will also continue to make sure that all of our commercial sponsorships, which have already raised tens of millions of pounds for investment in the transport system, deliver the best value for money for our fare- and tax payers."

Follow Maisie McCabe on Twitter @MaisieMcCabe


Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
ASH runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug
Thetrainline.com backs 'rubbish' mobile app with TV ad
Powerade launches global World Cup campaign
Burberry's flagship Shanghai store facade responds to weather changes
Subway considers taking fast food to fast lane with F1 sponsorship
Ikea splurges 'grey' Belgium with colour
Grim outlook for Tesco boss Philip Clarke ahead of expected profits fall
Thomson to create first crowd-sourced wedding decided by Facebook fans
Currency wars meets origami in Alpari FX trading ad campaign
Amazon rumoured to launch 3D smartphone in September
Facebook to allow European users to store and transfer money on site, claims report
Unilever pilots multi-brand advertising with YouTube beauty channel
Lego, Coca-Cola, Net-a-Porter, Bitcoin and AOL: the digitally creative brands
Dove tries to tell women their beauty is innate through placebo patches
Wonga faces social media storm after forcing Twitter to remove satirical material
Spotify tells the stories of relationships with music
Skype contrasts real stories with 'saccharine' style of Google and Apple
Top 100 UK advertisers: BSkyB increases lead as P&G, BT and Unilever reduce adspend
Viral Review: One Direction perfume 'prankvert' should have been a bigger hit
German beer brand Warsteiner tells drinkers to 'do it right'
SSE signs 10 year deal to sponsor Wembley Arena
Co-op bank posts losses of £1.3bn and expects no profits for two years