Publications on the internet
London Olympic Games etc. Bill
|©Parliamentary copyright||Prepared 18th May 2011|
Publications on the internet
London Olympic Games etc. Bill
London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill
The Committee consisted of the following Members:
Sarah Thatcher, Committee Clerk
† attended the Committee
Hugh Sumner, Director of Transport, Olympic Delivery Authority
Alice Nugent, Programme Manager, Advertising and Street Trading, Olympic Delivery Authority
Hannah Holdroyd, London Development Manager, Federation of Small Businesses
Bill Bilon, Chair, London Trading Standards Association
Mike Baker, Chief Executive, Outdoor Media Centre
Bill Wilson, Operations Director, Outdoor Media Centre
Guy Pratt, Assistant Director Community Protection, Trading Standards Institute
Members may remove their jackets during Committee sittings if they wish. Members should ensure that mobile phones, pagers and other such devices are turned off or switched to silent mode during Committee sittings. Also, as a general rule, I and my fellow Chair do not intend to call starred amendments that have not been tabled with adequate notice. The required notice period in Public Bill Committees is three working days. Therefore, amendments should be tabled by the rise of the House on Monday for consideration on Thursday, and by the rise of the House on Thursday for consideration on Tuesday.
For members of the Committee less familiar with the process of taking oral evidence in Public Bill Committees, it may help if I explain how we will proceed. The Committee will be asked first to consider the programme motion on the amendment paper, on which debate is limited to half an hour. We will proceed to a motion to report written evidence, and then to a motion, which I hope we can take formally, to permit the Committee to deliberate in private in advance of the oral evidence sessions. Assuming that the last of those motions has been agreed to, the Committee will go into private session. Once the Committee has deliberated, the witnesses and the members of the public will be invited back into the room and our oral evidence session will begin. If the Committee agrees to the programme motion, we will hear oral evidence this morning. I call the Minister to move the programme motion standing in its name.
(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 10.30 am on Tuesday 17 May) meet—
(a) at 4.00 pm on Tuesday 17 May;
(b) at 9.00 am and 1.00 pm on Thursday 19 May;
(2) the Committee shall hear oral evidence in accordance with the following Table:
(3) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 4.00 pm on Thursday 19 May.
I start by welcoming you, Ms Clark, to the Chair, and all other members of the Committee. I suspect that there must be a unique piece of parliamentary history being made this morning, because the right hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood, the right hon. Member for Bath and I were all involved in considering the original Act six years ago.
This Bill is reasonably short and simply builds on a number of the undertakings made in the 2005 and 2006 legislation. It is small and technical in nature, and it ensures that the principles enshrined in the original Act can be implemented. As such, I hope that we can confine our debates over the next couple of days to the small and tight matters under discussion, and not range further than those.
I should add that London Councils and the Local Government Association were invited to give evidence to the Committee today. Both declined to do so because they believed, apparently, that the Bill was not of sufficient concern to merit their attendance. The organising committee also declined to give oral evidence. We shall go through the Bill clause by clause on Thursday and there are no schedules. With the Committee’s agreement, I hope that the clauses will be considered in the order that they appear in the Bill.
Tessa Jowell (Dulwich and West Norwood) (Lab): Welcome to the Chair, Ms Clark. Labour Members are very happy to support the programme motion. The Minister has made clear the technical nature of the Bill. It gives effect to a number of the commitments that we made in 2005 when we won the right to host the Olympic games and updates the 2006 legislation. Perhaps unusually for such sittings, it carries almost complete cross-party support. Indeed, that has been one of the great strengths of the progress that we have made in our hosting of the Olympic games. It has won the confidence of the International Olympic Committee, our country’s athletes, the organising committee, the sponsors and the people of this country, who see these games as their Olympics, held in trust by the Government of the time. I am happy to support the programme motion.
Examination of Witnesses
The Chair: Welcome. We will now hear evidence from the Olympic Delivery Authority and the Federation of Small Businesses. I welcome the witnesses, and ask them to introduce themselves to the Committee.
Alice Nugent: I am Alice Nugent, programme manager for advertising and street trading regulations implementation. I am a former trading standards officer, with 20 years’ experience in local authority enforcement.
Hugh Sumner: Good morning, everyone. My name is Hugh Sumner. I am director of transport at the Olympic Delivery Authority. We are charged with pulling together all the transportation for the games, with our colleagues in the organising committee and others such as Transport for London.
Hannah Holdroyd : I am Hannah Holdroyd, London development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses. We represent more than 7,000 small businesses in the Greater London area as part of a wider membership of 205,000 in the UK, including Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Before I call the first Member to ask a question, I remind all Members that questions should be limited to matters within the scope of the Bill and that we must stick strictly to the timings of the programme motion that the Committee has agreed. I hope that I do not have to interrupt Members or witnesses mid-sentence, but I will do so if needs be.
Q 1 Tessa Jowell: My question to Mr Sumner is about the responsibility for those parts of the Olympic route network that are outside London and the stress testing of the route network in advance of the games.
Hugh Sumner: Taking each of those in turn, the majority of the ORN is inside London, feeding the competition venues and the training venues, to move athletes from their place of accommodation to their place of competition or training. Outside London, there are elements of the ORN that will move the rowers from the accommodation at Egham, for example, to Eton Dorney for the rowing and flat-water canoeing, and also the roads down to Weymouth and Portland to support the sailing competition there. Within the football host cities, there is no need for ORNs as such, because the volume of vehicles and the duration of competition mean they don’t need them—they are well used to supporting football matches anyway.
That is the dynamic outside London itself—it generally feeds up to Broxbourne for white-water canoeing, Hadleigh Farm, Eton Dorney, and Weymouth and Portland. However, measures will be very different because the durations will be different. For example, at Broxbourne
The third thing is that there are elements and places within the UK where the enforcement will need to be done by the police. For example, south Bucks has yet to put in civil enforcement for measures, and there, Thames Valley police will help us out. So, there are differences between London and outside London.
The prime way to prove the networks will be simulation using computers, rather than live testing. Nevertheless, the individual elements will be tested in advance of the games and we will build it all together for the games operation. Not all measures will come into force on the same day because, for London, the media will start at the back end of June, the athletes in the middle of July and the games competition from the 27th onwards. There is therefore a phased build-up of activity from June onwards into July, dropping off at the end of the Paralympics. That is why the measures here are time-limited.
Q 2 Mary Macleod (Brentford and Isleworth) (Con): I would like to take a step back and ask each of you in turn to give your initial thoughts and a summary of your views on the impact of the Bill—things you think will help with the delivery of the Olympics and any challenges you think it may bring.
Hannah Holdroyd: I think that the change to allow seized items to be retained by designated officers as opposed to being handed over to the police minimises the impact on police resources, simplifies the process and is in step with existing measures on advertising and street trading enforcement.
Hugh Sumner: From a roads perspective, there are three elements in the Bill that are essentially of a technical nature, which will facilitate the games and the communities in which they operate. First, it provides coherence between moving and static traffic offences, allowing local authorities to take due measures, where necessary, to make it come together. Secondly, it allows for temporary orders and notices immediately during games time. If we find that there are problems, we can rectify them immediately to keep the games going effectively, which will help the athletes, spectators and background road users.
The third measure is around special event notices—ensuring that you don’t need to create multiple event notices and that they embrace all relevant measures. You don’t have to write a women’s marathon route and a men’s marathon route; you write one marathon route that has everything in it, and you can then use it for two different events. These are essentially nurturing amendments that allow the filling out of the legislation in the spirit of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006.
Hannah Holdroyd: From a business perspective, the response is obviously a little bit broader. My colleagues have given very specific transport and advertising responses. We are happy that the Bill allows clarity around things such as what will happen on the ORN if there is a problem, and what will happen at short notice. Our only real concern with the implementation is that business be given appropriate warning—not just when things are communicated, but how they will be communicated in
Q 3 Tessa Jowell: May I come back with another question? First, will you tell the Committee a little about whether these are broadly equivalent to the powers that have been taken by other host cities? Secondly, what lessons have you learned from the operation of the ORN, which has been controversial in other cities, and how will you ameliorate those weaknesses in London?
Hugh Sumner: If I may, I will take your question in two parts—measures first, then what we have learned from the process. I think that the measures are broadly comparable to those that were put in place for Sydney following the experiences of Atlanta. They are also broadly comparable to those used in Athens in 2004. Beijing in 2008, as you might imagine, took a slightly more forceful approach to running their road system at games time, which involved a series of measures for an entire 60 days, lanes throughout the road network, half the vehicles banned on alternative number plates, and deliveries only between 12 and 6 at night. London, as you can probably gather, has adopted a slightly more proportional approach to hours of operation, days of operation and the measures needed, trying to achieve the right balance between making certain that athletes get there on time while keeping London and the other places in the UK operating effectively during games time.
The big learning point for us—it echoes what Hannah said earlier—is the need to work with communities and businesses. We have been embarked, with our colleagues in Transport for London, on an advice-to-business programme since November last year. We are providing free consultancy support to the bigger employers, and working through organisations such as London First and the FSB to get to the 200,000 businesses in London and get them to start thinking about what it means in planning terms. Do they pre-order their materials? Do they do things differently on the arrival and departure patterns of their staff and the rest of it? The big learning point is trying to work with the city, local authorities, employers and business to make it a positive experience to host the games, and one that works for the spectators and the athletes.
Q 4 Mary Macleod: What discussions have you had, and who with, on the impact of the Olympics and the Bill on business, particularly small businesses? What discussions have you had, and what has been the outcome?
Hugh Sumner: We have had very extensive conversations. We are working with 40 different business intermediary groups: London Chamber of Commerce, the FSB, London First and small organisations such as the East London Business Association. The key thing is to work with them to create a range of support tools for them, ranging from measures that are available over the internet through to support and advice.
For example, as we speak, businesses employing some 250,000 employees have people working with them to develop their plans for the games to allow them, over a
Some of you may have seen the adverts in the Evening Standard over the last couple of weeks that advise and guide businesses towards our website, so as to support them. Similarly, most of the electronic magazines from business intermediaries have articles that we have been working up with those organisations to get out there, through a few businesses to many—some 200,000. We have good support from those intermediaries.
Q 5 Malcolm Wicks (Croydon North) (Lab): Mr Sumner, a question for you. I hope it does not keep you awake at night, but what is the biggest headache within your portfolio? What is your biggest worry? Are there any amendments to the Bill that would help?
Hugh Sumner: If I may, I will split your question into two. The big challenges for the games are to do with the intensity and duration of the activity itself. This is an entire summer of activity, starting with the Queen’s diamond jubilee, then the 16 days of the Olympic games and 12 days of the Paralympic games. There are different types of challenge in relation to competitors, spectators and such like. That intensity and the need to maintain businesses—so that the pubs do not run dry, so that you can still buy your sandwiches—is a big challenge to any nation.
There are a couple of areas that we need to focus on, including working more with businesses and, in particular, freight. I know that the Secretary of State for Transport is considering how he might address the issues of freight management, so that freight can be delivered in slightly different manners. TfL might want to talk about that this afternoon. That area will need some consideration. It rests with the Secretary of State for Transport to reflect on whether an amendment might be necessary.
Q 6 Tessa Jowell: Perhaps I will carry on with a couple of further questions on the ORN. Mr Sumner, where would you anticipate the maximum pressure will be? I would like to explain this question a bit. My experience of the other games that I have attended is that maintaining the support of the public for the necessity of the ORN is a very important part of ensuring the overall smooth running of the games. I remember both in Beijing and Athens, roads had one lane dedicated to the ORN, traffic-free, with large cars gliding along, while the residents of Athens and the normal spectators sat bumper to bumper in the other two lanes. That image would not be good for London. I think we all know that.
Before the election, when we had discussions with the Mayor about relocating two of the sports to Wembley, the impact on the north circular was one of the major
Hugh Sumner: In terms of the most pressure on the road network, athletes, competitors and technical officials will be moved from the east to venues in the centre of town. There will be a lot of flow coming from athletes who have competed going in one way and athletes who are going to compete going in the other—in areas such as along the Embankment and on Lower Thames street and Upper Thames street. The large flows will generally be east-west in direction. To give a sense of scale, that means a minibus, coach or bus roughly every 15 seconds at peak time. There will be very large flows of people going to officiate, compete, or report with electronic news-gathering equipment.
Hugh Sumner: The large flows will be moving to get to venues for 9 o’clock, when, for example, volleyball at Earls Court starts. From then on, throughout the whole day, it will be very busy because many of the sports events have one, two or three competitions a day at that particular venue. There will be a very large flow of athletes, competitors, and technical officials and such people working there. The road networks will be busy all day. For that reason, TfL and ourselves are working with businesses to manage background traffic during the games. That involves rerouting traffic, persuading people to leave their vehicles behind if possible, and businesses adjusting their freight patterns for deliveries—for example, pre-ordering their stationery before the games so that such deliveries are not needed during them. That is the key.
The north circular will not be the main route for movement to Wembley arena and Wembley stadium for football and badminton respectively. The number of vehicles there will be relatively limited anyway. Vehicles will use the A40, turning right from there. That is a prime route.
Q 8 Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con): In relation to other events that will take place at the same time—for example, there will be at least two weekends when Premier League football will be played in London during the Olympics—what consideration has been given to traffic planning on the route that will need to take place to accommodate them?
Hugh Sumner: There are other events that will be going on in London during the Olympic and Paralympic games. Under the host city contract, rival sports events cannot be run, so Premier League and football authorities are putting back football matches. Having said that, there are going to be a whole range of other events taking place, with live sites, IOC houses, and big sponsors taking places like Alexandra Palace. All such events are being collated by the Greater London authority into a London events calendar, which is now being assessed by the police and the transport people, such as ourselves and TfL, to ensure that London can cope with that footprint of the wider events that will take place in the summer of 2012. There is also an analogous measure
Q 9 Bob Blackman: Potentially, you will need to make decisions on traffic management, not by the minute, but certainly almost day by day, particularly if things do not work out at the beginning. How will those decisions be communicated to the public, particularly motorists, who may suddenly find that there are changes to the arrangements?
Hugh Sumner: It is a challenge to bring together and co-ordinate transport for the games. To that extent, we have created a transport co-ordination centre, which is already in existence and exercising. It will co-ordinate all modes of transport across the UK during games time, welding together heavy rail, rail and roads in London, and Games Family transport, in order to get coherence of delivery and ensure that we are coherent in communicating effectively to users of public transport and the road system. A key thing coming out of the transport co-ordination centre will be information back to the operators themselves—so, to road users using variable message signing, radio adverts, radio bursts; all those means are designed to ensure that we can give the best possible information so that, if there is a problem on a particular line, we can re-route spectators rapidly and effectively. As their mainline train is coming into London, the train operator gives the announcement over the PA—those are the sorts of mechanisms that are going to be put in place with our colleagues.
Q 10 Bob Blackman: I am particularly concerned about ordinary Londoners going about their normal day-to-day business suddenly finding that, for some reason, they cannot use their normal route. How can they discover that, to make sure that they are not suddenly going to be inadvertently fined or given a penalty notice or something like that when the information has not been communicated to them? What assurance can you give that that will not happen?
Hugh Sumner: We are committed to giving the best possible information. That will range from traffic and road forecasts for the following day on radio and television through to supplements in Metro—all these sorts of means have been used in previous games to ensure that people understand. There will be road events on 11 days; from marathons to the road cycling time trial. London will need to understand, day by day, what is the tempo there, what issues are happening, where sports events are, so that they can plan their day effectively and, during the day itself, get real-time information.
Q 11 Malcolm Wicks: Following Tessa Jowell’s question, my guess would be that Londoners fully understand that the athletes, the sports people, those officiating and so on, need a fast route, but when the inevitable traffic jams occur, Londoners will not be impressed if lots of other people, lots of bigwigs in big limousines, are swishing by while the good Londoner is stuck in the traffic jam. Can you assure the Committee that we have this side of it under control?
Hugh Sumner: I take your point entirely. Something like 95% of participants going about their day-to-day business will be in big vehicles such as minibuses, coaches
Q 12 Mary Macleod: As much as I am incredibly supportive of the Olympics—I think all Londoners are, because we can prove how well London can perform at such an amazing event, as well as others who are involved across Britain—I want to press the point of the impact on business. There are some businesses that will not benefit from the games per se, so I want to make sure that they can still trade as normal. For example, Fuller’s on the A4 coming into London, says that it has struggled to find information about the changes that will be imposed on it. Mr Sumner, you mentioned adjusting freight patterns. That is an incredibly difficult job for some businesses because of having to change shift patterns, contracts and so forth. A lot of work goes into that and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East said, you may need to be quite flexible at short notice. What have you been doing to make sure that businesses such as Fuller’s can still operate as planned and trade as normal? Ms Holdroyd, how confident are your members that they have been involved and included and that they feel they can still trade as normal?
Hugh Sumner: We have been working with the Freight Transport Association for over two years and, in particular, have a sub-group called the breweries and logistics group which has been working on the issue of the movement of beer out of breweries and into pubs, which is an important part of their activity. That group has already been working through the issue. The actual maps for the ORN, and the measures and proposals there, were published in detail with effect from mid-June last year.
The advice to businesses, which gives detailed maps around the traffic implications, was published on 24 November. The consultation on the detailed, metre by metre route is now being led by TfL, and those conversations are happening at both an informal and formal level with businesses, officers and members of the communities. The point you make is well taken, and our commitment, with our colleagues in TfL and the GLA, is to get to those businesses and give them good information so that they can start to plan differently. We will then look to organisations such as London Councils to adjust things like the London Lorry Control Scheme during games time, all as way of ensuring that businesses can thrive during the games and have a positive experience.
Hannah Holdroyd: I support a lot of what Hugh just said, in that the Olympic Delivery Authority has made an awful lot of effort to engage with business in getting information across. Where we would be slightly critical from the small business perspective is that an awful lot of that engagement has been with the larger businesses
One of the things that we were quite disappointed about was that, way back, we heard that there would be a telephone helpline, so that if you had a query when looking at the various maps that have been published you could call, which would be a great resource for small businesses. That was not implemented, and now there is an e-mail address, which is quite impersonal. Even if the person answering the e-mail has the best knowledge in the world, you do not necessarily feel that you’re being listened to if your only method of communication is e-mail. I would say that, while the maps have been published in good time, and the ORN consultation is ongoing, there is a question about who the small business with a query talks to. Yes, there has been engagement with the business intermediary groups, but who do I talk to? That is part of the difficulty that we have had.
On the freight side, this is obviously a big problem for businesses of all sizes, and I know that TfL made some suggestions in its written evidence about how this might be managed. The ODA freight team is surprisingly small, in terms of how big an issue freight will be during games times. I have worked quite closely with the project manager for freight. I think that he has done a very good job, but he is only one person. Sometimes we feel that his mandate is very much to deal with the bigger businesses. Just because smaller businesses are small does not mean that they have one man and a bicycle. We have been trying to get the message across that a small business can still have several very large lorries that travel exclusively in, for example, the Stratford area, and would therefore be significantly impacted by any changes or last minute amendments to the ORN. It is as if we are 75% there, but there is the last 25% of how the smaller business gets its questions answered.
Hugh Sumner: If I may, I will add to that, and support what Hannah said. The dialogue has moved on significantly over the past few months. For example, my freight team is now co-locating and working with the TfL freight team, so there is now one team driving London’s freight, working with the industry to power it through. It is a challenge working with small businesses; there are 200,000 of them in London. The key mechanisms for us have been mail drops, working through business intermediaries, trying to hold surgeries and the rest of it. We are determined to do whatever we can to try to get to small businesses, but it is a challenge, and I am not going to deny it. It is not easy to get to all of the local tobacconists, newsagents and the rest, but we are determined to do so, in particular through our colleagues at TfL along the lines of the ORN, because that is where the most impact will be for the people concerned during those few days of competition.
Hugh Sumner: Games lanes will be used only on particular sections of road where there are very high volumes of traffic, and where there is enough road space to, in effect, create a form of bus lane during the games. Those lanes will generally be in the centre of the road—the offside, rather than the nearside, lane—so that they do not interfere with buses and cyclists or other such traffic. With regard to compliance, the lanes are designed to be primarily self-compliant. The experience from previous games has shown that it is generally an issue of national pride for people to stay out of the lane. They enforce themselves through visual—[Laughter . ] The experience of Athens was that there were almost no fines on their ORN, because the Athenians were so intensely proud of hosting the games. Nevertheless, in London there will be compliance measures. For example, there will be civil enforcement officers dotted along the length of road where appropriate number plate recognition technology will be in place.
The bigger issue for us is in trying to ensure that, near the venues, local authorities have the means to allow the local community to go about its business, without people swamping the roads by driving to the venues. To that end, we are very clear in all our communications that this is designed to be a car-free games, as far as spectators are concerned. This is why there will be good-value ticketing of all main line trains, direct coach networks providing good-value travel, and strategic park-and-rides around the periphery of London. These are all designed to try to ensure that people do not drive into town, that they do not clutter the streets, and that London can operate effectively in a party mode for those 16 days of games.
Hugh Sumner: There will be fixed penalty notices. The ODA consulted last year on the subject of the value of fixed penalty notices, and the proposed value—subject to the agreement of the Secretary of State for Transport—is £200, rebated back to £100 for prompt payment. This is not out of line with the existing penalty regime in London: it is memorable, but not rapacious. The whole thing is designed to send a message, not to penalise per se. It is of course down to the Secretary of State for Transport to establish what level of tariff might be appropriate, but that is the current view from our consultation last year. Generally, the feedback we got from all organisations concerned was that that amount was about right.
Q 15 Bob Blackman: Allegedly, 25% of vehicles in London are driven by someone other than the registered keeper. If someone is knowingly driving a vehicle that does not belong to them, then just using number plate recognition schemes will not work. What will happen in those instances?
Hugh Sumner: We are getting support from the transport police. The transport operational command unit—the safer travel organisation—will help us during the games by enforcing moving-traffic violations. For the enforcement of static violations we will look to the local authorities
Q 16 Bob Blackman: Will you explain what will happen to the games lanes after the games have finished? Could some nefarious Mayor decide to utilise those games lanes for some other purpose afterwards?
Hugh Sumner: No. Everyone is very clear that these are time-limited measures, and specific only to the Olympic and Paralympic games.
Q 17 Bob Blackman: May I ask about car parking? You mention that there will be strategic park-and-ride areas. What consideration has been given to creating those areas around parts of London? Every time there is a major event at Wembley, half of my constituency becomes a car park and people use the last two or three stops on the tube line to get to Wembley Stadium. Clearly, that is inconvenient for local residents on Saturdays, Sundays and during the week. This could potentially be quite an extended period of time, so I wonder what temporary park-and-ride schemes will be available. I know that these are meant to be public transport games, but the experience of Wembley shows that you can make it completely public transport-friendly, but people will still use their cars from outside London and park as close to the area as they can.
Hugh Sumner: We have always recognised that, despite putting in good-value mainline fares for the trains, which will come on sale next month, and putting in a direct coach network across the nation to support the movement of spectators to the Olympic park and suchlike, there will be people who will, because of their particular circumstances or needs, look towards using their car. For that reason, we have secured a number of big strategic park-and-ride sites around the periphery of London where people will be able to park their vehicle and then use shuttle buses to take them to the Olympic park, ExCel and Greenwich on day 3, to ensure that they do not arrive in London and then look towards rail heading.
One side effect of the Bill will be the ability of local authorities, where necessary, if they do get problems with rail during the games, to use powers in the Bill to put in temporary urgent measures to make sure that they are not adversely affected by unforeseen circumstances. Generally, if there is a problem with rail heading, local authorities are well versed in it and already have measures in place to tackle it before games day or match day.
Hugh Sumner: I will make a couple of points. The first is that we understand the needs of residents and small businesses immediately around all the competition venues. We understand that something has to be put in place to manage the flow of vehicles during games time, so that you do not get people rat running or trying to park up—fly parking—which is what you often get around sports venues. There will therefore be local area traffic management plans around all the competition venues to ensure that only people who have due business within it can access that area. This will ensure that spectators do not try to drive close to a venue and then park up. Those measures will be fully consulted on—mail drops, surgeries and all the rest—working with those businesses in the local areas such as Leyton to ensure that they can go about their day-to-day business during games time. Part of the reason why the measures in the Bill are important is because it means that Waltham Forest, Newham and Hackney will be able to put in the right measures to support the games and support their local residents and businesses.
Hannah Holdroyd: I would only add that for businesses not specifically located on the ORN, or within a stone’s throw of an Olympic venue—I know Leyton very well—consultation could possibly have started a little earlier to make them aware that it does impact on them. One thing we hear from our members is, “Well, I am not in Greenwich, so it is not my problem”. We take our responsibility as an organisation which represents them to say to them, you need to think about this now, but we very much want to work with the ODA, to use the tools they can provide us to do that. If organisations like mine were made aware of things like the mail drops and the surgeries—it is a logistic aspect, but if we were told that they were happening in east London, say, or west London—we could make businesses aware. I have never been told of a surgery taking place that I could tell my members about.
Q 20 John Cryer: I was in and out of a number of businesses yesterday on Cann Hall road, which is pretty close to where the Olympics will be. If any of them had a problem now or in future, what would be the point of contact?
Hugh Sumner: The point of contact for the measures overall is TfL, which is putting together the programme for traffic for the games. It is working with the organising committee around the venues to make certain with the local authorities that things are in place. There is a relationship between TfL, local authorities and the organising committee, which are pulling the individual measures together. Some detailed conversations have yet to happen. There is still a conversation at a technical level for the area around Leyton, around what is appropriate
Hugh Sumner: Those conversations will occur in the next couple of months. Over a year out from the games, the detailed conversations around what is happening on a particular road on a particular time of day will be complete. They have started across the piece already for the ORN. Something like half the road network is out of informal and formal consultation. The remainder will be completed over the next three months. Those sorts of conversations are occurring now.
Hugh Sumner: The implications are twofold. Firstly, where there are problems, they can be rectified fast, which is important to keep transport systems operating effectively. Secondly, the legislation provides means to protect things such as the bus network, which is very important in much of London. The ability to prioritise bus and direct coach networks—things that support the mass movement of people—is very important, and positive for background users of transport, as well as spectators and competitors. It is not just designed to support the athletes, but spectators and existing users of public transport, too.
Hugh Sumner: A couple of stations are probably going to change to one way—exit or entrance only—perhaps for a couple of hours. For example, Marble Arch is entrance-only when there is a concert in Hyde park. There will be some such minor changes, but no wholesale closing of stations.
Hugh Sumner: We need to think about one of the stations on the docklands light railway, Pudding Mill Lane, which is a very small station right next to the Olympic park. It is likely that trains will be non-stopping there during the games, to prevent spectators from entering the wrong place and the station getting overloaded. Instead they will go to Stratford and through that entrance into the park, but there are no other plans for any such measure for stations in east London.
Q 26 Tessa Jowell: Yes, I have one more question. The amendments essentially allow enormous, virtually unfettered discretion to TfL to amend the ORN as is needed for the proper running of the games. First, Hugh, could you say a little bit about the way in which you will protect that freedom so that it is proportionate? Secondly, what do you estimate is the time between you deciding that there must be a variation to the route network and that taking effect? What notice, if any, will drivers and travellers get? Finally, a point of fact: is there any point in the ORN where bus lanes will be closed in order to facilitate the extra lane for Olympic traffic? You may want to come back to us on that.
Hugh Sumner: In terms of ensuring that there is no aberrant behaviour by TfL or others that might unduly impact or be disproportionate to the sort of problems that they face, the key issue is that they are using existing powers and existing controls around them. For example, the temporary traffic notices and traffic orders are very clear about the circumstances and duration for which they can apply, so that does not allow them untrammelled powers to run in perpetuity. You have seven days for a notice, and then it has to be an order. You have to prepare the relevant paperwork and so on. There is a due process associated with that.
The second thing I would say, in terms of how swift an action might be necessary, within the space of an hour, let us say, it might be necessary to change a left turn or right turn. If the security footprint changes on a particular day, for whatever reason, the change will have to be immediate. There will have to be appropriate signage and the rest of it, and then we will have to update existing road users. A lot of this is around finding that things are not as predicted on the day, and the whole situation changes. For example, the sports event overruns, there is an extra day of rowing, or the security footprint changes; all of that drives it.
In terms of the removal of bus lanes, that is generally very limited indeed. There are a couple of minor areas by Hyde Park that will need some tweaking, given that the triathlon is there, but in general they are designed to co-exist with other lanes, not to supplant them.
Q 27 Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green) (Con): Mr Sumner, may I take you back to your comments on roadworks? Will you confirm that all roadworks within all London boroughs will be suspended for the period of the Olympic games, not just utilities? You mentioned utility companies, but I am concerned about all roadworks, whether they are pavement extensions, town centre improvements or street lighting replacements. Sometimes these seem to continue while the major roadworks are suspended, and often the minor roadworks cause just as much disruption.
Hugh Sumner: TfL, which is managing the ORN within London, sent out a communication last week to all the boroughs and utility companies, asking that they ensure that A and B roads, and sensitive roads around the ORN, are kept free of all road and street works during that window in summer 2012, whatever the cause of that might be. Depending on where the venue is, and the particular issues associated with it, it is more time-limited. There is no total blanket, but the general principle that will be adopted is all A and B roads in London.
Q 28 Mary Macleod: What scenario planning has been done for emergency procedures? It might be, for example, a major accident or a terrorist threat. Do you feel that there is enough in the Bill to cover those situations?
Hugh Sumner: To answer your last question first, yes, this is supportive and will allow an immediate and urgent response if things happen. In terms of games readiness, there is a games readiness programme that is working through transport, security, communications and all those elements that bring the games together. That is already well under way. The transport co-ordination centre is now on its fifth or sixth exercise in desk-topping. Actual events that we will be learning from include the opening of the Westfield centre, which is a huge shopping development that opens in Stratford this September. We also have the sports test events, so there is a programme of readiness, ranging from big events through to desk-topping, that London has to go through to get itself in a fit state for the games next year. It is well under way now.
Q 29 Gavin Barwell: A quick question to Mr Sumner, picking up on the point he made about fines for driving within restricted areas of the Olympic network. If I heard you correctly, you said that, subject to the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport, the results of your consultation exercise were that there should be a £200 fine, reduced to £100 if people paid within a certain time. You said that most of the organisations that responded to the consultation thought that that was the right answer. How many ordinary Londoners responded to the consultation?
Hugh Sumner: They were few and far between. Generally, it was organisations such as the RAC, the AA and local authorities that responded to the consultation. The general feedback was that they wanted that or greater. Some boroughs wanted an even higher tariff.
The Chair: Does anyone else want to come in, particularly on any of the transport issues? I think that there are Members who want to come in on advertising and trading issues, so it might make sense for us to move on to that terrain. Would any Member like to come in on that?
Q 30 Mr Don Foster (Bath) (LD): May I ask Alice a simple question first? Is there anything in the Bill that you have concerns about? Secondly, although in the round, the sums are relatively small, so will you explain to me the impact assessment and the financial information we were given, as I still have a little difficulty? We are told that the additional cost of transferring responsibility for dealing with seized items from the police to the ODA, which in turn will no doubt pass it on to trading standards officers, is £22,000. Later in the documentation, however, we are told that by doing that there will be a net saving to the public purse of £55,000. I assume, therefore, that the cost of the police doing this is £77,000 more than if trading standards officers did it. Would you explain that?
Thirdly, will you remind us what acceptable existing trading will be exempted from the new rules when they kick in? In other words, if the Mayor of London wishes
Alice Nugent: Okay, three parts to the question. We do not have concerns about the changes; they were requested by the ODA in response to speaking with local authorities and the police. That regime—officers having to hand over seized goods to the police—is out of step with existing arrangements, and it is a much more streamlined way of working to have the enforcement officer take charge of the seized items, remain in control of them and retain them in secure storage within the local authority. We don’t have concerns about the changes—we’re happy.
Q 31 Mr Foster: As a supplementary before you move on to the other questions, will you confirm that it is your view that the procedures operated by trading standards officers around the country, under the legislation that applies to them, are a more sensible set of rules and approaches than applies to police, and that it might be appropriate to change the police rules in due course?
Alice Nugent: On the impact assessment, the original arrangement was that the police would hold all the seized items within their various storage arrangements and we would be charged for that, both for officer time and storage. Under these arrangements, we are looking to provide our own arrangements for oversized or excess items. That is the estimate of £22,000. The majority of seized items and the cost of storage is now transferred to local authorities and we will pass on some on-costs to officer time to cover that. The saving is that we do not now need a police officer attached to every enforcement team just to deal with seized items and, additionally, will not be charged for storage of those items. The rules are all time-limited to the venues and events, so they do not kick in for the Olympic park, for example, until four days ahead of the opening ceremony.
Q 32 Mr Foster: Just so I am clear, any shop or any regularly agreed venue that is advertising a non-Olympic sponsor, as long as it is there four days in advance of the event, will not be attacked, have goods seized or whatever, including Boris bikes?
Alice Nugent: There are a number of exemptions, so the majority of normal practice will be within those exemptions. Some things may be caught and may therefore need to be removed temporarily during the games.
Q 33 Duncan Hames (Chippenham) (LD): Alice, you will be familiar with the various mechanisms by which the Metropolitan police is accountable to the public. Will you explain to us how the ODA and its officers will be accountable for their conduct of seizures?
Alice Nugent: The Act sets out the powers and, obviously, officers need to work within those powers. The ODA is responsible for training designated officers
Alice Nugent: It remains the ODA’s responsibility; we are responsible for the actions, so if there was a contentious issue, it would have to be escalated to the ODA before any enforcement action would be taken. That, again, will form part of our training to make sure that officers are aware that, if there is an uncertainty, they must come to the ODA.
Q 35 Gavin Barwell: How much freedom does London have over the definition of infringing articles? Is that something that was agreed with the IOC as part of the whole deal or is there a reasonable amount of freedom about that? What is the definition? Can you give us more clarity about what is an infringing article?
Alice Nugent: My understanding is that the definition of an infringing article was part of the debate on the Act originally passed. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport policy officers would have agreed that at the time. I think it is broad enough to allow enforcement officers to do their jobs—not only to seize goods that may be being sold, but items displayed or a stall being used to display those items—in order for us to prevent the commission of the offence. Obviously, those items remain the property of the person they have been taken from, so they will be returned in due course.
Q 36 Bob Blackman: Can you say how this will operate? The venues in London will be quite diverse and spaced around London, but it is not just limited to London and there are venues outside. As I understand it, there will be strict enforcement within the immediate facility of the venues. However, Londoners all over London will, for example, be entering tube stations, and potentially people selling articles. The former individuals will then turn up at Olympic venues to be told, “Sorry, that is illegal and I am going to take it off you.” Possibly that will include even the shirt off their back. How will that be operated?
Alice Nugent: The regulations do not cover, as you say, some of the transport areas where things may be given away or sold. We may anyway not necessarily have a right to seize people’s carried items and their belongings—for example, their T-shirt. There is an exemption for people wearing their own clothing. The issue is if they are part of an ambush campaign—people will be aware that they are part of such a campaign if they have been paid to wear particular shirts or T-shirts. Only then does it become an offence, and that is the only time that we can take action. We do not have the right to seize items off individuals. The issue is the selling of those items, which has to take place within the zone for the Olympics.
Q 37 Bob Blackman: This continues then. There will quite rightly be strict enforcement in operation around the venues, but presumably illegal street traders can set up stores outside any tube station or any route across London. What action can be taken against them?
Alice Nugent: We are in the process of working those arrangements up. The regulations have not been made yet, but we have met with some small businesses, particularly in Newham. Westminster council has also approached us to start getting the message out regarding what the regulations cover and what could be affected. Generally, the response has been reasonably positive because quite a lot is exempt from what we are trying to do. Businesses are responding positively to the fact that we will be tackling illegal traders who come into their area.
Q 39 Bob Blackman: What about small businesses outside the main games area? They are the ones that may be affected for only relatively short periods, but they may be completely unaware of the restrictions. What consultation will you have with them?
Alice Nugent: Again, we have spoken to all the affected local authorities, so the information is within local authority remit now and there is no reason why we cannot visit traders in those areas to talk to them about the impact of the regulations. We are quite prepared to do that; it forms a part of our programme.
Q 40 Bob Blackman: One final point from me. The legislation brings the regulation in line with that for Glasgow in the Commonwealth games. Obviously, the Olympics is a much bigger event, but were any particular lessons learnt during the Commonwealth games that will be translated into the Olympics?
The Chair: If Members have no further questions for this set of witnesses, that brings us to the end of this part of the evidence session. I thank our witnesses; we appreciate your coming today and the time that you have given. We hope that you found it an enjoyable experience and not too much of an ordeal.
Examination of Witnesses
Guy Pratt: Thank you, Chair. I am Guy Pratt. I represent the Trading Standards Institute. I also represent the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers, which is part of the Trading Standards Institute. In my current day job, I am assistant director of community protection for Hertfordshire county council, which involves being head of trading standards and a number of community safety issues in Hertfordshire. We have one of the Olympic venues in Hertfordshire, so I have knowledge of that although I represent the Trading Standards Institute and the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers today.
Bill Bilon: I am Bill Bilon. I am head of trading standards for the London boroughs of Brent and Harrow. I am also the chair of the London Trading Standards Association. In my role as chair of LOTSA, I have been involved in discussions with both the ODA and LOCOG’s independent trading standards response to what might be required of us during the Olympic games.
Mike Baker: I am Mike Baker from the Outdoor Media Centre, the chief executive body that used to be called the Outdoor Advertising Association. It is the trade body for media owners, basically the companies that sell outdoor advertising space. We have been in touch with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games for a very long time, even before the bids for the games went in, in terms of making available all of the stock and media assets to sponsors and LOCOG. We have been involved most recently in the auction to which sponsors have had privileged access in outdoor media space.
Q 42 Mary Macleod: Thank you gentlemen for coming in today. Perhaps you can each begin by giving us your view of the things in the Bill, the impact of the Bill and any challenges that it might give you.
Bill Wilson: Someone has to start. As far as we are concerned—Mike will concur—we have read it all, and I do not see that we will have any issues with it whatever. I can imagine your concern about the element for accessibility of potentially ambush marketing, but from everything we have seen and the control that has been asked of, and signed up to, by our members, we do not foresee any issues with that.
Mike Baker: I have to say just what Bill said. We represent something like 95% of outdoor advertising revenues; the other 5% sit outside our remit, so we are not in a position to regulate them, but we have spoken extensively to LOCOG and we know, in terms of the regulations, what is permitted and what is not permitted. We have a further session on 16 June at which London 2012 will again set out what is permitted and what is not
Bill Bilon: In respect of trading standards, our main concern is marketing and advertising. We support all the recommendations, and trading standards are well-equipped to deal with those powers and the provisions under the regulations. We have been in consultation with the ODA and discussed what would be required of our profession during the Olympics, and we feel that we can provide and carry out those particular functions. With respect to the suggested changes regarding the delivery of seized goods to the police, we are fully supportive of that recommendation as well.
Guy Pratt: In terms of the key amendments put forward by the ODA, we are very supportive of that. It makes sense that the seizure and storage is under the control of the enforcing authority within a venue. If it turns out to be the trading standards officers who are the enforcement agents of the ODA, again that makes more sense, so we are very supportive of that.
In terms of the wider issues and of some of the questions posed earlier, there are a number of issues and concerns from trading standards about more general enforcement outside the 200-metre zone. I have got a slight, technical point about the procedures for retention within the zone. The requirements of the Bill are for seized articles to be returned under various circumstances. It is unclear, if the articles seized in the area are counterfeit, whether they can be returned to the people they are seized from—they would be illegal articles but potentially seized under another thing.
To cover that, it would make sense if trading standards officers were the enforcement authority, because they would carry dual enforcement roles with them in the zone—the zone would be within their powers anyway, if that is clear. Rather than just having the powers under this bit of legislation, trading standards officers would carry powers under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, so they could seize goods under other legislation, as well as the new trading regulations.
Q 43 Mary Macleod: Clause 1 talks a lot about “infringing articles”. We asked the previous panel whether they were all comfortable with the definition, or lack of definition, of such articles. Do you think the term is self-explanatory, and that the Bill can easily implement it?
Guy Pratt: In relation to the Bill and the 2006 Act, which are purely talking about the zones within which the Olympic events are taking place, that makes sense. “Infringing articles” is wide but it protects the sponsors of the games and protects against ambush advertising. The point I am making is that you can get ambush advertising by using counterfeit goods, just as you could with genuine goods, so there are two things.
Outside the zone, the definition of “infringing articles” does not apply. However, there will be all sorts of infringing articles outside the zone, but it is the local authority’s responsibility to ensure a safe trading environment for the games and for local businesses to be able to profit from the games and to trade fairly around them. Part of that responsibility is to prevent illegal trading—a key concern for local authorities—and the funding is a key concern that is not covered at all by this legislation before you.
Bill Bilon: I agree with what my colleague has just said. In so far as the definition of “infringing articles” is concerned in the event zone itself, I think that covers it. People envisaged all the situations that could possibly arise, and therefore the definition is sufficient for us, if we were given the powers and asked to enforce the legislation, to seize and detain quite a few of the offending articles.
Q 44 Tessa Jowell: The intellectual property of the Olympics is subject to tight protection because it is so valuable. In making the argument for the games, the protection of intellectual property and the ORN are both points where the insistence and the obligation that come with hosting the games may rub up against public support. We have been, on a cross-party basis, tough in saying, “You want to host an Olympics? This is what you have to do.” That said, we are all concerned to ensure that, where these breaches of the Olympic marque occur and require you or your officers to move in and seize goods, that is done in a fair and proportionate way. That is similar to the discussion that we were having earlier about the application of the ORN. We, as I am sure you do, have a clear idea of where the good will towards the Olympics erupts into a bit of negative public feeling.
Can you take us through a couple of scenarios where you would apply these powers? What, for you, would be the gold standard of good practice to achieve the objective of protecting the Olympic marque or Olympic sponsors while, at the same time, not treating the vast majority who were responsible for that kind of breach as if they were carbon-copy fraudsters, because the majority of them will not be.
Bill Bilon: Many in our profession hope to take a light-touch approach to enforcement. We do not want to be seen as being heavy-handed in the approach that we take, because that could lead to bad publicity and the public would be against that type of enforcement. We are well versed in taking a light-touch approach to all sorts of different things in our day-to-day job. Where a heavy-handed approach, if that is the right terminology, may be taken is where somebody has deliberately set out in an organised manner to breach the provisions of these regulations. In that case, it falls on us as designated officers to take whatever appropriate action is necessary. That is the approach that a trading standards professional has always taken and will continue to take in whatever regulations we enforce.
Guy Pratt: I would add that the approach is always based on informational intelligence. Before you can take any action, you have to get some intelligence around it. That would be on-the-day intelligence, when the officers are operating at the venue. That intelligence will vary, whether within the zone or without the zone. I will speak about that in a minute.
Once you have that intelligence, you decide what the appropriate tactical approach is to deal with the issue. That should result in proportionate enforcement. Trading standards are well versed in dealing with large events, be they football matches at Wembley or, as in Hertfordshire, big pop festival events at Knebworth house, which we deal with. It is an intelligence approach, where you tactically decide how you will deal with that intelligence, with least disruption to the public and maximum fairness to the traders. There are different approaches within
Outside the venue, the Olympic marque itself will come much more into being because it is much more likely that there will be people looking to make profit on the back of it, to the detriment of genuine traders. Hertfordshire is quite a busy shopping area. People will be selling genuine, sponsored Olympic articles and they would want as much protection—and quite rightly they should receive it—from people setting up stalls or just hiding in bushes trying to sell other goods. Again, that is about intelligence. It is about having officers on the ground trying to find out what will be happening and dealing with it in the most appropriate way.
Enforcement will be difficult logistically and numbers are an issue, as is funding. Funding that enforcement within 200 metres of the venues will be the responsibility of the ODA, although we do not know the detail of that yet. Outside of that, no funding outside London is currently made available to local authorities, so if funding were not forthcoming from LOCOG, local authorities will have to decide with the resources that are put to them—which again will be for local politicians to decide—and balance the needs of the traders and the need for a safe and enjoyable event for members of the public, which is what local authorities want, against the cost of resources to do that.
I hope that I have answered the questions. First, it is intelligence on the ground working out the best tactical approach and then the most proportionate actions. I want to give the Committee a prime example of the concerts that take place at Knebworth, where there are probably 200,000 or 300,000 people over a three-day event. A number of teams of officers work throughout the weekend. Most of the seizures take place in, say, pub car parks or cars around the venue out of sight of the crowds. We identify where the issues are; we have appropriate resource, whether police officers or security people, and we then prevent the items from occurring. The last thing we want is confrontation and potential seizures among the public. Generally, trading standards are very well experienced in that and have a very proportionate approach to such issues.
Q 45 Mr Foster: Can I just follow up on your answer to Tessa Jowell? Outside the Olympic venues, you are quite rightly suggesting that all sorts of people will try to do all sorts of things and trading standards officers all round the country will presumably anticipate that. Have either the association or the institute made an assessment of the likely increase in activity of trading standards officers in each area, and what the cost implication will be? Clearly, you rightly say that there is no money to pay for it and so on.
Can I ask a second question about money? In relation to the handling of seized items, which is covered specifically by the Bill, we know that that will be transferred from the police to the ODA. We also know that it is likely, but not finally agreed, that the ODA will use trading standards officers near the Olympic park and other venues to do the work. We also know that the figure put in the impact assessment as the additional cost to the ODA is £22,000 which, presumably, is likely to be money then handed to trading standards officers for that work. Can you tell us whether you believe that that sum of money is appropriate?
Guy Pratt: As I understand it—and there have been no detailed discussions between the ODA and local authorities—if the Bill is enacted and seizure and storage become the responsibility of the ODA, then if it passes the power on to local authorities, that would be paid for by means of an on-cost on to a standard officer rate. Currently, there have been no detailed discussions, so I cannot comment whether that would be sufficient or whether all of the £22,000 will be transferred. But I do understand what it will not be: for instance, if in Hertfordshire we seized an articulated lorry and had to store that with its goods, we would not charge that back to the ODA. The cost is met by the on-cost of x number of officers for whom we are being paid y amount per hour. We are expected to meet such costs within that amount. In terms of £22,000, it is difficult to say whether that would meet the cost, because it entirely depends on the issues arising at the time.
Bill Bilon: No. In our discussions with the ODA, we have not discussed the financial aspects of the work that trading standards would be doing during the Olympics. Those discussions have yet to take place, so I could not really help the Committee with how the figure has been arrived at. It is something that trading standards has not been involved in. However, it is envisaged that in the very near future, discussions will begin to take place about the funding aspect of trading standards’ involvement with these regulations. In the funding, we would want to include the costs not only of officer time but, definitely, the storage of seized articles and, obviously, any litigation that might take place subsequently—in effect, underwriting the work we would be doing. Coming back to your question about funding, no, those discussions have not taken place, so I cannot explain.
In the first part of your question, you were talking about outside the venues and whether we had done any work to establish what level of activity might take place. In my own area of Brent, where we have Wembley stadium, we always find that whenever the FA cup, the champions league final or whatever takes place, there is a good build-up of activity, with itinerant traders selling all sorts of articles, whether counterfeit or unsafe goods—unsafe products as well—and it requires a lot of resources for trading standards to get involved and to stop such activities from taking place.
As a result, we envisage the same thing will happen with the Olympics. There will be a huge build-up of activity, not necessarily within the venues but, I expect, outside—at railway stations and on the periphery of the venues, where itinerant traders will try to sell their goods and make money. That is where, in the main, trading standards activities will be taking place, although also in the venues and the zone. The lesson that we learned from Manchester—we had extensive discussions with our colleagues there following the Commonwealth games—is that these were the sort of issues that arose. Within the zone or where the events were taking place, there were not too many issues, but outside that were huge problems which they had to resolve.
Q 48 Mary Macleod: Do you think there has been enough consultation on the whole issue of advertising linked with the Olympics? For example, there are certainly major restrictions within the Olympic site itself, but will we suddenly see a large amount of outdoor advertising on the routes into London, one of which goes directly through my constituency? Do you have any idea about future growth in advertising in that period?
Mike Baker: I would be surprised if that were the case. It is not impossible, having said that—it does not take very long physically to build a structure. However, under the same contract whereby our members put forward all their advertising assets to the disposal of London 2012 and for selection by sponsors, anything new that gets built in the interim has to go through that same process. It has to be made available to sponsors, which does not entirely answer your question about the sheer volume, but certainly there is control.
There is, if you like, less of an incentive for people to build structures because they would know that they still have to place them at the disposal of sponsors. There is a strict price cap by which the sponsors are protected from price gouging. Prices have to be based on last summer’s rates paid with a certain indexing that is provided by the Advertising Association. So you could not simply build the site and then, because it was a great site, charge £1 million to somebody. It would still have to be the fixed market rates that everybody else would be paying for equivalent sites.
Mike Baker: Basically the sites that our members would have at their disposal would be divided into vicinity sites, which are within the immediate surroundings of the venues themselves, and then other sites that are within the London TV area or Greater London, let us say. There is a slight difference in terms of how those can be used because the proximity sites, the vicinity sites, have to be made available to sponsors and if sponsors do not take them, we very much hope that the look and feel messaging from London 2012 will fill any shortfall, because otherwise there is a risk that our members lose money on the process. So in terms of build that would not make a difference.
Bill Wilson: If your concern is whether there would be a proliferation of boards going up, the answer is no, there will not. The boards that are there constitute an adequate supply. There is no point in oversupplying,
Mike Baker: To go back to Tessa Jowell’s question, in terms of protection of Olympic marques, rings and mascots, the content of any advertising that is displayed in posters there also has a strict regime of approvals and checking. So the sponsors themselves have to submit their creative work for inspection, but it would also be extremely risky for any non-sponsor to take liberties with those assets because, realistically, by the time they get posted, they can get covered over within a day, so it would be a rather stupid exercise. Our industry is still mostly paper and paste—there is obviously digital signage as well—and it has to go to the printers. So there is ample time to review all the advertising copy, and for the media owners—our members—to look carefully at anything that seems a little bit suspect in terms of the use of those properties.
Q 50 Bob Blackman: We heard earlier that as a result of this Bill the police will not necessarily be attached to enforcement officers. Do you have any concern about not having a police presence when you need to take action?
Bill Bilon: Yes, those concerns exist in our day-to-day role. There are occasions when it gets confrontational with the businesses we deal with—the itinerant traders—and therefore, we require the assistance of the police to avoid a possible breach of the peace. We also conduct some serious investigations when it is necessary for the offenders or suspects to be arrested. I envisage that, during the course of the Olympics, we will require the assistance of the police and we are in discussions with the Metropolitan police about obtaining their assistance with those investigations.
Guy Pratt: On the practicalities of how this will work, if there was likely to be large-scale ambush advertising at any venue against the regulations, the police would invariably be involved. If 100 or so people are about to put on T-shirts, or whatever, there are potential public order issues if an ODA enforcement officer or a trading standards officer tries to prevent this, not in uniform, not in anything else. If the intelligence said that a number of people were going to be doing this, the tactical approach would be to have uniformed police officers and/or security people—I do not know how that is going to work at the venues—and deal with that in one go, calmly and effectively, so that the event can take place. The practicalities are that the police will not deal with the seized items once they have been seized, but at the point of seizure, big ambush advertising practicalities will not alter.
Q 51 Bob Blackman: Moving on to how some of these actions may impact across London, obviously, within the tight arrangements around the venues there will be strict enforcement taking place. One of the points I raised earlier was, what about around tube stations all around London and areas outside the venues? How will you operate, given the Bill, on enforcing the regulations?
Bill Bilon: We know that there will be a proliferation of issues and problems during the Olympics over trading standards matters, protecting consumers from scams
Guy Pratt: May I say something on behalf of the Trading Standards Institute and the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers? The Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers are the heads of trading standards who effectively manage the services and resources across the country. One thing these organisations are doing at the moment is trying to co-ordinate intelligence on a strategic level, linking in with police intelligence on a strategic level, because, invariably, the people who will cause issues around venues are known people who would cause the same problems around Wembley or Knebworth. The approach is to work with the police and with intelligence across the country within our networks to identify where the issues are and prevent them at source. That is at the strategic level—work is under way to do that because trading standards works on intelligence at the moment. Tactically, it will be about putting that intelligence into practice. That is where it will come down to individual local authorities to have the resources to do that. Strategically, we hope to be at the place where we can identify potential issues and where they might be. That might be warehouses producing some of the counterfeit goods or goods with fake Olympic marques. It would be down to the tactical response of the local authority in that area to address that. Those resources would be at the whim of the local authority.
Q 52 Bob Blackman: Bill, you will be aware that around Wembley stadium many of the routes into the stadium on foot are in private ownership, as opposed to being a public highway. That enables greater enforcement to take place on those particular areas. Across London, at a lot of the Olympic venues, there are public highways. I understand that there are different restrictions that would apply to the public highway as opposed to private land. Are you content that the proposals in the Bill are sufficient to give you the powers you need to enforce the whole process?
Bill Bilon: As far as the Bill is concerned, I think there are sufficient powers to enforce the ambush marketing and advertising issues that might arise. There are sufficient powers to deal with that, both on public and private land. We work closely with the ODA in each of the local authorities to identify the control zone in the vicinity of the various venues. The ODA has been along to all the local authorities to discuss it. As a result, the zone itself has been agreed. I am quite happy with that.
I would still go back to the issue that you identified and the question you posed. It is not so much what happens within those venues, it is what happens outside. That is why my colleague pointed to a number of cases where trading standards will have a lot on their plate during the course of the Olympics, dealing with ambush marketing and advertising, but in the main dealing with day-to-day issues that arise on a much bigger level. Those are the problems we face: transport hubs and other areas where people congregate.
Q 53 Bob Blackman: Given that is the issue, and that enforcement officers at the Olympic venues are likely to be trading standards officers, will there be a need to bring in trading standards officers from other parts of the country to cover the rest of London, to compensate for the people going to the Olympic venues?
Bill Bilon: There are already discussions taking place. As chair of the London Trading Standards Association, I continue to get contacted by colleagues throughout the country who just want to volunteer for the Olympics to come and work here. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There is a possibility of having volunteers come along within the trading standards profession during the Olympics. There is also the possibility of backfilling. If our officers are doing the work with regard to specific regulations on ambush marketing and advertising under the Bill, we may need to backfill to do our day job. That is where we may have to get contract or agency staff in support of the Olympics and Paralympic games. That will be an issue for us, particularly with the reduction in budgets we have had generally in local government and within our profession. That is a big issue that we need to address between now and the Olympic games.
Q 54 Duncan Hames: Earlier, we were reassured that ambush marketing is typically conducted knowingly; indeed, people are generally paid to do it. Do you think that, through some innovative marketing technique, members of the public could be unknowingly conscripted as ambush marketeers? Can we be confident that they will be treated sensibly, especially if they are children or teenagers?
Bill Bilon: We always take the approach that the intention of enforcement officers is to get to the heart of the problem and take action against those who organise these things—the controlling minds of the operation—and not those who perhaps fall into the trap. If somebody perpetrates a scheme, and they stand outside the venue and hand out particular T-shirts, which would constitute ambush marketing if a group of people were to wear them, clearly it would be wrong for us to try to prosecute the individuals wearing the T-shirts. The intention would be for enforcement officers to establish who was behind the particular scheme and prosecute those individuals. So yes, I agree that there is a possibility that innocent members of the public could be induced into perpetrating this type of offence or breaching the regulations, but we would not necessarily prosecute those people, no.
Guy Pratt: You have to rely on the professionalism of the people on the day. Yes, if they were young children you would make sure they were dealt with in a certain way. As I understand it, ambush advertising will be effective only if you have, say, 100 people wearing those T-shirts. If that is cured, and there ends up being one or two young children wearing T-shirts who are not noticed
Q 55 Malcolm Wicks: Within all that, can you assure us that a citizen is perfectly at liberty to go to the Olympic games wearing a T-shirt or whatever that might advertise a product, without the risk of being harassed? Secondly, from the earlier discussion, I got the impression that the exact nature of the co-operation between you, your officers and the police was not clear. Is there a danger that the police might say that they have enough to worry about without helping trading standards officers? Do you think you need to have these negotiations at a more senior level?
Guy Pratt: On venues, there will be various groups under other legislation, called safety advisory groups, that look at safety around the whole venue. That will take all the issues into account. There are high-level people involved around the specific venues. The approach will be, “We will need police officers to help if these things occur,” and that would be taken into each agency’s response plans for the venue.
Guy Pratt: Absolutely not. Ambush advertising is about hundreds of T-shirts, and it’s generally effective by means of TV. That is what we are looking for, or media taking pictures. Individual people turning up wearing T-shirts will not be stopped and searched.
Guy Pratt: There needs to be—I don’t know the Government or ODA approach to this—a certain amount of education around ambush advertising. Coming into the previous issue, there probably needs to be some education leading up to the games around ambush advertising, because it’s a phrase that is known to me now, but it was not prior to some of this.
Q 59 Hugh Robertson: I went into this in some detail when it came up on Second Reading. A child turning up wearing a T-shirt with an advertising label on it that contravenes the sponsors will not be asked to take it off. Indeed, if any children should turn up wearing football shirts with another advertiser on them, they will not be asked to take them off.
Q 60 Tessa Jowell: Sorry to press this, but what happens if a whole class of children turn up from an east London primary school wearing Nike shirts when Adidas is the sponsor? This is the kind of thing that we want to avoid. Do not feel that you have to give an answer now, but I do not think that any member of the Committee
Q 61 Bob Blackman: I presume that anyone organising ambush advertising would get disparate people to turn up either wearing the clothes or with them secreted about their person, as it were, and to put them on when they got into the stadium to cause an incident in full view of the cameras. What plans do you have to combat that sort of scheme? Other people will, no doubt, be thinking about all sorts of other scams.
Guy Pratt: We have not got into the detail of looking at that as yet. There are a number of things you could do. I imagine that we would want officers working with closed circuit television in the TV room, looking around the crowds for suspicious activity, and officers outside a venue looking for people who appeared not connected but who were making contact. It is all about intelligence and the approach that you take to it. That needs to be worked out.
Bill Bilon: That is exactly what happened in South Africa during the World cup. A group of individuals walked in and then put on T-shirts advertising beer or whatever it was, and that resulted in ambush marketing. The fear is that, if a heavy-handed approach is taken, the public view will be totally against it. It may be that security staff in the stadiums look out for those types of possible offence and deal with them as and when they happen. As my colleague says, we have not got to that level of discussion with the ODA as to what approach we will take should those things materialise.
Q 62 Tessa Jowell: I think you will take from this discussion a concern that the Bill’s provisions are one thing, but that everything hinges on their proper application and implementation when necessary. In a way, there is all the difference in the world between 20 young people who come in with the intention of making a demonstration that breaches the rules and a party of school kids who come in from some other part of the country and who are all wearing Puma or Nike shirts or similar. What we want to be confident about is that the training given to volunteers and trading standards officers who will be on the gates, as it were, will be sufficiently sophisticated so that they can draw a distinction between those two things. It is fine to punish people who set out to break
Guy Pratt: I would wholeheartedly agree. I can reassure the Committee, on behalf of the Trading Standards Institute and the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers, that trading standards officials are very well versed in enforcement. They have years of practical experience, and one of the key attributes of trading standards officers is, in some ways, knowing the legislation to ignore. You could probably go into any premises and find breaches of regulations. That does not happen at all. If we look at the prosecutions nationally for trading standards, the people prosecuted are those who are deliberately breaking the law, who often get custodial sentences. The days of prosecuting for small regulatory offences are over, and it is very much about proportional enforcement. I can reassure the Committee on that basis.
Q 63 John Cryer: Following on from what Tessa said earlier, I was at a school yesterday morning that is virtually within walking distance of the Olympic site. This particular school has a logo on its tops. Frankly, I do not agree with the idea that 30 of those children might enter the Olympic site and be given plain T-shirts to wear. They should be allowed to enter the Olympic site and the event regardless of what they are wearing.
Guy Pratt: And I am sure that is what would happen. The detail has not been worked up—I would expect the ODA to provide detail around ambush advertising, and that would be about numbers. I do not know if 30 T-shirts, or two, or three, would be broad enough to be ambush advertising. Some of that detail needs to be worked out. I can reassure you that schoolchildren coming into any of the venues are there to watch and enjoy the games, and that is absolutely what they will be doing. Coming back to my colleague, we are looking for perpetrators of deliberate actions designed to undermine the legislation of the country. That is what trading standards officers do on a daily basis. A group of schoolchildren are not perpetrators designed to undermine the will of Parliament and laws of the country. That is the approach that we would take.
Q 64 Mr Michael McCann (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) (Lab): There have been so many brands mentioned already that we might be guilty of ambush advertising. Mr Pratt mentioned the potential to bring in additional staff. I have no concerns about professional trading standards officers, but this event will be vast. I have attended many sports venues in my time, and all you need is one person, whom we would normally describe as a jobsworth, to cause a problem, which can blow into something it was never intended to be. Can you convince and reassure us that if additional staff are brought in, they too will get the appropriate training and be aware of the potential for a flashpoint to be created over something very small?
Guy Pratt: We heard earlier from the ODA that it would look to train staff in that and in the memorandum of understanding. From the point of view of the Trading Standards Institute and the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers, we would look to be involved in that. We would look to employ or move staff who were well versed in dealing with those sorts of situation. In Hertfordshire, in relation to our response to the Knebworth festivals, this year we had no public order offences and very few seizures. We had no seizures in the venue itself; all the seizures were outside. Various authorities—including my own authority and my colleague’s in Brent—have experience of officers working in such environments and providing proportional enforcement. It is not about taking a trading standards officer off the street, who is used to carrying out only inspections of businesses and putting them into a different situation without any training. I can reassure you that that would not be the case.
The Chair: If Members have no further questions for these witnesses, that brings us to the end of our business for this morning. I thank all four witnesses for coming along and giving up their time. That is very much appreciated by the Committee. The Committee will sit again to take further evidence at 4 o’clock this afternoon.
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