Taxi for Elvery! Another balls up on £3.7m transport contract

The controversially mishandled Croydon Council contract for the taxiing of disabled children to and from school is back in the news, with Private Eye on the case again.

Now the satirical magazine is reporting that, despite a lengthy tendering process, Croydon has managed to appoint a firm, previously a rental outfit, which lacks the necessary licences for four of its seven vehicles, and which therefore started operating on April 27 with invalid insurance in some of its cars.

Private Eye alleges that when London Hire Services began working under the contract in the week of the Royal Wedding, they did so with some of their vehicles carrying no licences, or with unlawful photocopies sellotaped on the windscreen.

No one was available in the Council’s £660,000-a-year press office operation to confirm or deny that there had been problems over the appointment of London Hire Services to the £3.7 million a year contract. One of the senior figures in the press department avoids giving a straight answer to our questions, anyway. But they have our phone number and email address, so we’d be interested to hear  how they try to spin they way out of this one their version of the situation.

London Hire Services’ contract business appears to have been formed less than a year ago, and has been operational only since September 2010. The company website, referred to in the Private Eye report, has meanwhile gone offline.

This was not before they had managed to applaud themselves on winning the major contract with Croydon and promising that they would “be introducing new and innovative ideas” to the service of driving disabled children from home to school. They did not mention the innovation of not having proper insurance.

The Croydon transport contract falls under the responsibility of the council’s deputy CEO Nathan “Efficiency is in our DNA” Elvery, who was forced to put the whole transport deal out to contract again at the end of 2010. This all follows a near-three-year saga with some questionable dealings at the Town Hall over the awarding of the multi-million pound transport services contract.

Despite there being cheaper tenders from better-qualified firms based in Croydon, the council had awarded the original £6.5 million deal to a Merton Park-based taxi firm. Shortly afterwards this firm managed to give a £100,000-a-year job and company Merc to the same guy who had been working as Elvery’s transport consultant.

When Inside Croydon recently filed a Freedom of Information request into the affair, Croydon Council claimed that there had been no emails exchanged between Elvery and his own transport consultant, Michael Lawrence. Unbelievable, don’t you think?

Croydon Council: proud to serve. Though maybe not with the right licence or insurance.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Nathan Elvery, Schools, Transport and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply