Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Cabinet Office


  1.  In its Fourth Report in the Session 1998-99 the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee recommended that the Government should involve itself more closely in the strategic management and promotion of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. In its response (Command 4575) the Government noted that the Prime Minister had appointed Ian McCartney, the Minister of State at the Cabinet Office to have special responsibility for co-ordination of the Government's interest in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.


  2.  Immediately following his appointment the Minister of State took a close look at the organisational structure for the Commonwealth Games and made a number of recommendations about its organisation which were implemented. He also recommended that there be a cross-Whitehall committee to ensure a co-ordinated Government response. This has been established with the Minister of State in the Chair. The Task Force has met seven times, most recently last month. It brings together Ministers and officials from all Whitehall departments with an interest in the Games: Home Office, FCO, DfEE, DSS, Customs and Excise, DCMS, DfID, MOD, DTI, Treasury, Department of Health, Government Office North West as well as the Games' organisers.

  3.  The Task Force terms of reference are attached. The Task Force has addressed a wide range of issues concerned with Government support to the Games from volunteers' benefits through military participation in the opening and closing ceremonies to sponsorship, medical support and security issues.


  4.  The Government has made substantial support available to the Games. Besides Lottery grants through Sport England of £131 million towards facilities which will be used in the course of the Games, a grant of £10.5 million has been made towards the opening and closing ceremonies. Other contributions by Government or Government bodies cover:

    —  Providing Assistant Medical Director to the Games (£102,000);

    —  Funding a range of education projects for the Spirit of Friendship Festival (£1.287 million);

    —  Funding by the Arts Council of England for Creative Producer for the arts element of the Spirit of Friendship Festival (£100,000); and

    —  Spirit of Friendship Festival in the North West (£1 million Lottery funding and £0.5 million Single Regeneration Budget funding).


  5.  Sponsorship is important to the success of the Games. The organisers set an ambitious revenue target which the Government has supported them in achieving. The Prime Minister and other Ministers have encouraged sponsorship in line with the Games' message of "Count Yourself In". Ministers' involvement in this way has demonstrated to potential sponsors the importance with which the Government views the Games and has given them assurance of Government commitment to the Games' success.


  6.  The Minister of State at the Cabinet Office has been supported in his responsibilities for the Games by officials in DCMS. He has however recently appointed a Senior Civil Servant in the Cabinet Office, Robert Raine, to provide him with full-time support on the Games. Mr Raine will work closely with DCMS and other Whitehall departments and with the Government Office for the North West in ensuring that Government support is delivered effectively.

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