Tonight’s Panorama inspired by Kings Cross website investigation into Network Rail overspend

We’ve followed doggedly Network Rail’s overspend on the construction of their own offices and Platform Zero at Kings Cross station and the bizarre behaviour of DfT as they kept it from the Secretary of State. Tonight’s Panorama goes into detail on Network Rail’s overspending on capital projects and this website played an important part in getting the show together.

I’ve had several conversations with Toby Sculthorp the producer of Panorama and Vivan White the presenter from the show’s conception through to filming to help them prepare tonight’s show.  We discussed at length just how opaque Network Rail is and the remarkable extent of their overspends.  I took them through how I used FOI and the marvellous WhatDoTheyKnow.com to drag information out of DfT and get a handle on the grotesque amounts spent on the Eastern Range offices at no benefit to the travelling public.  Toby Sculthorpe the shows producer says:

“Unfortunately there is a long history of overspending – by as much as a third,”

“I really began to take notice when I came across some very interesting work carried out by William Perrin at kingscrossenvironment.com.”

A bit like the cycling and road safety campaign, I never cease to be amazed how the way we do traditional community activism here in Kings Cross using modern, simple internet tools reaches out beyond our immediate area to help others.  A sort of ‘new model activism’ if you will.

Sadly my balding visage didn’t make the cut for the show, but as my wife pointed out Heston Blementhal is over exposed anyway.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
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One Response to Tonight’s Panorama inspired by Kings Cross website investigation into Network Rail overspend

  1. Stuart Cottis says:

    You probably know Will but the Conservatives in opposition were campaigning to get more ‘public bodies’ designated and added to Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The powers are there – but a statutory instrument is required to be promulgated by the relevant Minister. Interestingly, since election in 2010, the Coalition has amended Schedule 1 to add certain bodies such as UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). This was done in the Freedom of Information (Designation as Public Authorities) Order 2011. I cannot find any concrete plans to amend the Schedule again to include Network Rail. Is this a case of ‘going native’? I hope note as Network Rail spends oodles of taxpayer money – whether direct grant (from DfT to NR) or via the conduit of the TOCs i.e. the franchised companies such as First Capital Connect who pay access charges to Network Rail to access railway infrastructure. I think Norman Baker would be a good minister on this as I am sure that the LibDems would favour greater openness…

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