Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140-159)|
MP, MS NICKY
25 OCTOBER 2005
Q140 Mr Yeo: Looking at the Olympic
legacy in sporting terms, what do you hope the legacy will be?
What benefits are we going to see in the longer term?
Tessa Jowell: I hope there will
be a physical legacy and that there will also be a performance
legacy and a participation legacy. The physical legacy has been
designed into every part of the Olympic Park, and, as you know,
that I think is one of the compelling parts of our case in submitting
London's bid to the Olympics. You have to think of every venue
having the legacy purpose-designed first with its Olympic purpose
designed on top of that, and all the venues will be convertible
for their legacy use after the Games are over. The second part
of the legacy is the Active England Centre's programme funded
by the lottery as part of the demonstration in the bidding process
that we were serious about boosting participation and taking the
Olympic Games beyond just the performance of our elite athletes.
That is a second example of the infra-structure legacy. There
will then be the third aspect of legacy, the facilities from the
Olympic Park that will be relocated to other parts of the country.
I think it is four swimming pools and five arenas and something
like a million pieces of sporting equipment; so an awful lot will
be available for distribution around the UK. Then, of course,
there is the legacy that Matthew Symes outlined that will emanate
from the work of the Nations and Regions Group. Then there is
the participation legacy. The new impetus and focus that has been
given to school sport by this are sustained investment in school
sport between now and 2010 which shapes the work of my department
by being one of our performance targets. Then there is, if you
like, the sporting legacy, the performance legacy, which is the
level of investment in elite athletes, and I think, very particularly,
the focus on improving the talent pathways and the performance
pathways for young athletes, which have not been good in the past,
not as good as they should be, and one of the very specific programmes
that I feel very proud ofa small programme but it gives
you an example of what some of the problems areis the programme
to support our 2012 athletes. These are young athletes; they are
by and large the best in their class now from 10 upwards and they
have anything up to a £10,000 bursary for one year and the
renewal of that bursary is determined by their performance, but
we are supporting young athletes at the moment across a very wide
range of both Olympic and actually non-Olympic sports. I hope
you can see the legacy in those three terms: boosting participation,
building sporting excellence but also the physical and structural
Q141 Mr Yeo: On that last point you
mentioned, because you referred to non-Olympic sports as well,
clearly it is likely that the boost of participation rates as
a result of the Olympics and all the associated publicity will
be greatest in Olympic sports, but there are a lot of other sports.
I know your son is an outstanding performer in a sport which is
not an Olympic sport for the time being. Will you be measuring
the participation rates right across the board, and is it an explicit
objective for the Department to see that raised in other sports
Tessa Jowell: It would be ridiculous
not to given that some of our largest participation sports, as
you say, are not Olympic sports. Nicola, would you like to say
any more in relation to that?
Ms Roche: In terms of measuring
it, I think we have a new survey called "Taking part"
starting this Autumn, first results out in December with a quarterly
update, that will tell us what is happening in terms of age groups,
by gender, ethnic minority groupings, and that will really help
us plan more, and it is asking across all sports as well as the
arts and heritage sector as well.
Q142 Mr Yeo: Commonsense would suggest
there might be some sort of counter effect. Given the Olympics
will be such a boost to Olympic sportsand cricket, of course,
has had a boost this year anyway because of the performance of
our sidethere may be some counter-cyclical measures you
need to take?
Ms Roche: What is happening through
our school sports strategy is that young people for the first
time are experiencing about 12, 14 sports by the time they get
to secondary school, so it is a much broader experience than any
of us probably had, and some will want to participate in sport.
I think David Moorcroft was here last week saying, "What
has happened in athletics clubs post 6 July?", but also other
sports are seeing an increase in participation, and in relation
to the school sports strategy a key component is the school club
links part of it run by our country sport partnerships, and we
set them really quite tough targets in terms of increasing participation
for five to 16 year olds, and we will keep that momentum going.
Q143 Alan Keen: I have raised this
with you before and I am going to keep on raising it. I hope we
are going to learn lessons as we go along. When I say "we"
I am talking about the world of sport, not just this nation. Two
things have changed since I last asked you about it: one is that
we have won the bid so we can afford to maybe encourage the IOC
to look at the future organisation of the Olympics in other nations,
and we should not wait until we have actually held the Games here
before we press for changes. But also it has been well illustrated,
the efforts we have had to put in to win the bid strengthens my
argument even more. How on earth can nations less developed than
others actually ever hope to host the Olympics, and should we
not be using the resources of the developed world to try to help
countries like South Africa and other nations, not just swap it
between the US, Japan, China? The Olympic Village is something
I have argued against before, not argued against, but said that
we should re-look at it. We could have used Wembley Stadium for
athletics, but we cannot because of the village having to be close
to the stadium. Will we raise this with the IOC and have somebody
thinking about future Olympics? We can afford it, because we are
not going to defend the IOC any more and we do have to give other
nations the opportunity. Despite being from West London, I am
very happy for East London to be developed, but there are parts
of the world even more desperate than East London to be developed.
When I was boy there was nothing to do other than sport, and under
developed nations could benefit even more from having sporting
facilities than we can in East London.
Tessa Jowell: I agree with you
100%. This was a very strong message that we gave to the IOC in
the bid, and, indeed, the presentation that we made to them, and
in the run up to the Singapore decision I made a number of visits,
as did Richard Caborn, to developing countries in order to take
precisely this message. Both he and I have visited South Africa,
have met with the ministers and the officials who are involved
in the staging of the World Cup, have offered whatever support
they may want by way of advice, learning from experience and so
forth, in making the World Cup a success. I have also been to
Delhi, have met the staging committee for the Commonwealth Games.
I think it is an absolute obligation on us as one of the richest
countries in the world to ensure that big events like the World
Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games are truly global
events, and I think that the IOC in very particular recognises
the importance of that too.
Alan Keen: Thank you.
Q144 Mr Hall: Secretary of State,
we talk about the success of the Olympics, and, of course, the
major success will come on the Games themselves and hopefully
we will achieve our ambition of getting from tenth in the medal
table to fourth in the medal table. If I have understood this
rightly, part of the funding formula for the Olympic sports is
previous performance; so those sports that do well in Olympics
get very well funded and those that do less well get under funded.
How is that going to help us move up the medal table from tenth
to fourth? Surely we ought to be putting money into those sports
that have under-performed previously.
Tessa Jowell: I am going to ask
Nicola Roche to take you through the way in which UK Sport makes
its judgments about funding different sports and different governing
bodies, but I would also just say at this stage, we want to do
very well in the medal hall in 2012that is a statement
of the obviousbut it is the BOA that have stated this ambition
that we be fourth in the medal table, it is not a government target
that I would expect the Committee to question me on, but let ask
me Nicola to take you through the way in which UK Sport have approached
these decisions on funding.
Ms Roche: It is not quite right
to say that it is always an historic trend. What they do is look
at anybody who has the potential to achieve a medal. Normally
it is just for that forthcoming four-year cycle. What we have
asked them to do now, because of 2012, is to look ahead seven
years to who of an age now may well get a medal in London as well
as potentially in Beijing, and normally anyone who wins an Olympic
medal or Paralympic medal would have competed in at least one
games beforeso that is quite a good indication of who is
going come throughand on that basis they then put proposals
to the UK Sport Board, and that is then agreed by the Board. The
Department does not interfere in that decision. It really is our
specialists taking that decision. Of course, they take soundings
from the BOA and the BPA on what the likely allocations are. I
think we talked about the reform to the sporting landscape and
why it was so important. Sport England used to work with those
who are not quite at world-class level. These changes mean that
those who are seven, eight years out from the medal are now in
the one system and will be much closer in to the governing body's
really elite coaches to performance directors, and we can track
them right through to 2012; and we want that legacy then to be
sustained thereafter so that we do not just win more medals in
2012 but we really do change the sporting culture of the country
both at elite level and by then setting an aspiration for everybody
else to participate.
Q145 Mr Hall: Did I hear you correctly
to say that part of the formula would be participation in previous
Ms Roche: Not necessarily, no.
Q146 Mr Hall: Because that would
be quite difficult, because we need to appeal to about 700 athletes
to compete in all events in 2012 and we have fielded less than
300 young athletes?
Ms Roche: It is right to say that,
as the host nation in 2012, we are expected to field people in
every event where we have reached the qualifying level and the
BOA and BPA accept those standards. That means, for example, that
we might compete in handball or basketball where we do not traditionally,
and that means more people coming through. In order to have a
good squad from which to draw, you need far more people who will
be selected to compete in a particular Games. One of the things
that happens at the moment is that at the tier just under world-class
there are an awful lot of "churns". We have got people
coming through, but, because they do not see the chance or they
are not being mentored and supported very tightly, they drop out.
We have got to support those who have the potential to be champions,
and this new structure will help keep those people in the system
right through with the right support around them. I do not think
it is true to say we are just looking backwards; we are really
trying to support the talent, the people who can achieve and compete
well in 2012.
Q147 Mr Hall: Supporting that talent
means we get the best coaches?
Ms Roche: It does.
Q148 Mr Hall: It also means we develop
centres of excellence and it also means that we take athletes
away from their own clubs and bring them into a national structure,
all of which I agree with because I think that is the way we get
the best of it. It almost appears that all roads lead to London
in this particular case and, hopefully, success in 2012. What
are we going to do to sustain the clubs that are giving up these
Ms Roche: We were talking earlier
about Sport England, and I know that the other home country councils
have the same view about increased investment in clubs. We are
going through a modernisation process for sports governing bodies,
focusing them on a much more professional structure about more
professional coaches, because at the moment we have a huge number
of effective coaches in this country but many volunteers, which
is good, but in order to bring through our top athletes we need
more professional coaches, and there is a new scheme which we
have started called "The Elite Coaches Scheme". By 2010
we aim to have 60 more elite coaches in this country. We have
got the first 10 going now. I do not think it is one or the other.
It is not just perhaps being cut off from the elite athletes.
Our best athletes always want to give something back. There are
role models that are very active in local clubs and in schools,
and as a department we are very committed to Sport England dealing
with that. We have something called "Sporting Champions",
which is a scheme to plug them into that in quite a systematic
Q149 Mr Hall: One more question,
Chairman. We have spent mostly the whole of this session without
disabilities being mentioned once. What are we going to do to
ensure we have a successful Paralympic Games as well?
Ms Roche: We are one of the most
successful Paralympic countries in the world.
Q150 Mr Hall: We have to maintain
Ms Roche: We have. We have been
first in recent years, second in Athens. I know you had Dame Tanni
Grey-Thompson last week where she was saying that this really
is the moment for Paralympic sport to come into its own, that
it is not just about disabled athletes and Paralympics, it is
about sport in its own right, and we are very committed to Sporting
BPA doing that. UK Sport sees them as a critical partner. The
Department has asked UK Sport to reinvigorate the memorandum of
understanding they have with the BPA as well as the BOA for 2012,
and, in terms of everything we have been saying about elite coaches
and bringing talent through, that applies just as well to disabled
athletes and that is very much part of our school sports strategy
as well. It is not a separation; everybody has to participate
Tessa Jowell: If you take the
2012 scholarship programme and the Talented Athlete Scholarship
programme, they have both able-bodied athletes and disabled athletes
who are receiving the benefit of that.
Q151 Chairman: Can I ask you quickly
about support for one particular sport which is an Olympic sport,
and that is shooting? Of the disciplines in shooting three are
prevented from being practised in this country as a result of
firearms legislation. Is the Government going to give exemption
from the legislation to allow our Olympians to practice and participate?
Tessa Jowell: There has been discussion
with the Home Office about this. There is as of now no exemption,
and, as you will be aware, although shooting will be part of the
Olympics, our athletes, our Olympic contestants, train in other
countries that do not have the handgun legislation that we do.
We have taken the view that there should not be an exemption at
this point in the seven years between now and 2012. We will obviously
keep this under review.
Q152 Chairman: We have been pretty
successful at shooting in the past. It is difficult to see how
we are going to maintain that if we are not able to develop shooting
talent because they are not allowed to shoot in this country.
Are you resigned to the fact that Britain will fall out of the
medal table in shooting sports in the future?
Tessa Jowell: As you rightly say,
we have seen athletes reach a very high standard even within the
constraints of our legislation in the wake of Dunblane created.
Richard Caborn, our sports minister, is meeting the governing
body this week and is in discussion with the Home Office, but
we would be reluctant, as I say, to argue that we have moved far
from the legislation as we have done at the moment, for which,
as you know, there is a very high level of public support for
very good reasons.
Q153 Chairman: So you are not even
able to say whether the Government will give an exemption at this
Tessa Jowell: I am not able to
say that at this stage, no.
Q154 Helen Southworth: Secretary
of State, you visited two very, very good sport facilities in
my constituency fairly recently, a new sports hall and community
centre in the school and a rowing club, both in disadvantaged
communities and both allowing some interesting participation in
sport for young people who have not been involved before, but
they were both dependent on investment, fairly considerable capital
investment. Are you going to ensure that your inclusion, your
participation programme for the legacy, is shared by the lottery
investors and other investors to make sure that we do get those
facilities into disadvantaged communities, and how are you going
to measure it to make sure it is spread round the country?
Tessa Jowell: First of all, I
remember very well my visit to your constituency, and I would
just say that I thought that the rowing club that you took me
toit was a very cold day, I rememberwas also a very
good example of how sport could regenerate, because the part of
the river on which the rowing club was located was being regenerated
and paths were being created, and so on and so forth, so I think
that is the first point. The second is that increased levels of
investment are desperately needed, and we are very dependent on
the lottery for that, and also we are dependent on local authorities
making the very best use of the facilities that they have available.
The problem there is that many local authority facilities were
built anything up to 60 years ago, and what we have learnt from
the school sports programme is that the way you get young people
engaged is by having high quality, modern facilities with changing
rooms, showers, flood-lighting and so forth, and that is where
we see the benefits of lottery investment in new sport halls,
and so forth, in the increased level of participation and the
length of time that the facilities are used. The Audit Commission
are undertaking an assessment of local authority sports facilities
at our request at the moment, and I hope that over the next period
it will be possible for us to work more closely with local authorities
on identifying those facilities that are the priority for refurbishment,
but good coaches and good facilities are the pathways not just
to boosting participation but also the pre-requisites for elite
Q155 Mr Evans: Talking about the
facilities, we are going to have some fantastic new facilities
as part of the Olympic Games, and this is also going to be the
"no white elephant" games as well. Following the end
of the Olympics we are not going to have any of these structures
that either are not going to be put to some good use or be demolished
afterwards. The one project that comes to mind immediately that
should never have been a white elephant clearly was the Dome.
If we could press the rewind button, Secretary of State, I suspect
it would be on that project, would it not?
Tessa Jowell: The Dome, or the
O2 Centre . . .
Q156 Mr Evans: That is right. It
cost £30 million odd to keep it closed, did it not?
Tessa Jowell: . . . has a critical
part to play in the Olympic Games. It will host gymnastics and
Q157 Mr Evans: Thank goodness it
is there, but I am sure we would not have thought that now, would
Tessa Jowell: We are delighted
that the Dome is there.
Q158 Mr Evans: It cost £30 million
to keep closed though, did it not? Do you get my drift on this?
Tessa Jowell: Not just your drift;
I know exactly where you are going. I am delighted to confirm
the importance of the O2 Centre being one of the venues for the
Q159 Mr Evans: Alright. Let us ask
the question. Are we going to make certain that each of the buildings
that are going to be built for the Olympic Games is going to be
properly and effectively either disposed of or used, that none
of them are going to be turned into mini-domes that are going
to cost tax-payers hundreds of millions of pounds following the
Tessa Jowell: I do not think I
have to underline to the Committee how seriously we have taken
the legacy issue, and I think that I am right in saying that each
of the venues already has a 25-year business plan in place, and
we are clear about its legacy use; and I have already made the
point about the way in which legacy will be designed into the
structure of the Games.