Select Committee on Public Accounts Thirty-Ninth Report


1. There are three principal stakeholders in the Games—the Government (represented by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport), the Mayor of London and the British Olympic Association—and a large number of other bodies are also involved (Figure 1).[3]

Figure 1: Summary of the delivery structures for the 2012 Games

Source: National Audit Office

2. There is a tripartite relationship between the Olympic movement, the Host City (which signs the contract with the International Olympic Committee) and the Host Government (which has to provide an underwriting guarantee), and the Department stressed that a fundamental lesson from previous experience was to get that relationship right. More generally the delivery structures had drawn on lessons from previous Games, in particular from Sydney which had ended up with the model now put in place for London.[4]

3. Two new bodies have been set up to take the lead in delivering the Games. The Olympic Delivery Authority will provide the venues and infrastructure, and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will stage the Games themselves. It is a requirement of the International Olympic Committee to have an Organising Committee, and the creation of the two bodies was a lesson to emerge from the experience of the Millennium Dome in terms of the need for different skills at different stages of major projects.[5]

4. The Department considered that a key achievement of the past year was getting the new delivery bodies up and running, with professional management and staff with strong capabilities, and that the responsibilities and accountabilities of the two organisations were clear. On the question of continuity in key posts in the run up to 2012, the Accounting Officers of the Department and the Olympic Delivery Authority confirmed their intention to remain in place for the duration of the programme.[6]

5. The Olympic Board has been established to bring together the key stakeholders and oversee the delivery of the Games. The Board comprises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of London, and the Chairs of the British Olympic Association and LOCOG. The Chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority also attends Board meetings as a non-voting member. No individual has overall responsibility for delivering the Games. The Board aims to work by consensus, although the individual members have a right of veto over key decisions which affect their particular responsibilities.[7]

6. The delivery structures are complex, and the Department acknowledged that, from the experience of previous Games, one of the key risks was delay in decision making. It considered, however, that the structures were appropriate, with the Olympic Board providing strategic oversight and reviewing the Olympic Delivery Authority's budget. The Board had worked effectively, for example in agreeing the draft transport plan. In addition, the Olympic Projects Review Group, responsible for ensuring that projects were processed speedily and smoothly, had already recommended a number of significant projects for approval.[8]

7. As for the Department, it oversees both the Olympic Delivery Authority and LOCOG, whose Chief Executives are additional Accounting Officers. The Department is also responsible for co-ordinating the contributions of other parts of government to the Games, such as the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency who will help to deliver the necessary transport improvements in London and elsewhere, for example in Dorset where the sailing will be held. A new team within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Government Olympic Executive, had been set up to manage the government's interest in the Games and provide cross-government co-ordination. The capability of the Government Olympic Executive to oversee the Olympic programme was to be enhanced by the recruitment of a new Director General and Financial Director with commercial experience of major projects.[9]

3   C&AG's Report, para 25 Back

4   Qq 3, 39, 76, 90 Back

5   C&AG's Report, para 27, Figure 3; Qq 84, 94 Back

6   Qq 76, 92, 166-168 Back

7   C&AG's Report, paras 31-33 Back

8   C&AG's Report, para 37; Qq 82, 86, 89, 91, 172-173 Back

9   C&AG's Report, para 34; Qq 86, 105, 152-153 Back

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Prepared 10 July 2007