Culture, Media and Sport Committee - Minutes of EvidenceHC 689-iv

Oral Evidence

Taken before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee

on Tuesday 15 November 2011

Members present:

Mr John Whittingdale (Chair)

Dr Thérèse Coffey

Philip Davies

Mrs Louise Mensch

Steve Rotheram

Mr Adrian Sanders

Jim Sheridan

Mr Tom Watson


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Paul Deighton, Chief Executive, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, John Armitt CBE, Chairman, Olympic Delivery Authority, and Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, Olympic Delivery Authority, gave evidence.

Q262 Chair: Good morning. Before we start I would like to express the sadness of the Committee at the death of our friend and colleague Alan Keen. Alan was the longest serving member of this Committee and he will be greatly missed, and we send our condolences to his family.

This is a further session of the Committee’s examination of preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is an annual session we have and I would like to welcome this morning Lord Coe, the Chairman of LOCOG, Paul Deighton, the Chief Executive, John Armitt, the Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and Dennis Hone, the Chief Executive. Perhaps you could just give a brief summary of where we are now and how you see the state of play in the remaining six months before the Games.

Lord Coe: If I may, just before we get into it, also express our sadness at the loss of a valued member of your Committee and a very strong personal friend to this whole project. Alan was with us at the very outset, he was with us throughout the delivery phase and was one of those politicians who did look like he enjoyed being at sport and-wearing just a particular hat-he was of course Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Athletics Group. So we share in your sadness this morning.

John Armitt: As far as the ODA are concerned, we are now well over 90% through our scope of works. All the main stadia are completed. We have some work still to do to finish the artillery barracks; we have some work to do to finish the water polo stadium and the Olympic Village itself. We are in the final throes of that but we expect to complete that by the end of this year, ready to hand over to LOCOG at the end of January. So we are on track with the village.

We continue to bear down on our costs. We have £870 million of savings from the budget so far. We remain very aware of the fact that we have had a good safety record so far. We are very concerned that we keep that through to the end and, as ever, the difficulty of doing that becomes greater as you get towards the end and perhaps people take their eye off the ball a bit. So we continue to have a very strong focus on safety.

For us, there is still a lot to do, however. We are laying lots and lots of tarmac at the moment, and that will continue, to prepare the areas for Seb’s team, for LOCOG’s team, for their back-of-house activities. Landscaping, of course, we continue to work around and will continue to work around that as Seb completes his works and then we will probably go back in and tidy up. We continue to be closely involved in transport, although there again we are handing across, in a sense, the planning aspects of transport and the work that we have done in thinking about what is required to the actual operational phase of that to Peter Hendy in particular, who is increasingly taking the lead on transport and its actual operational aspects in London-the planning of the operations against the overall plan. People say, "Well, you must be nearly finished". Yes, we are nearly finished but we still have quite a lot of work to do and are having to just keep our eye on the ball for the remaining months, and supporting LOCOG obviously in the work that they are doing on the park. We hand over the park itself in January, from a control and security point of view, to LOCOG as well.

Q263 Chair: Can I just ask you, what is your current estimate of the amount of the £9.3 billion that will be left to return to Treasury?

John Armitt: Our current amount is the amount that we last declared, which is the £870 million, but as I say we are continuing to push down on that and hopefully we can find some further savings over the next few months. We only like to release that when we are really confident that we have something to release.

Lord Coe: Very briefly and just picking up immediately from John, we are massively scaling up the organisation. I think we are recruiting at about 120 people a month. We are currently a work force of about 2,000. Over the next nine months we will be reaching 6,000, so clearly quality and thresholds are very important there. Also we have the venues to complete. You have been to the Olympic Park but there is a mountain of work to do making sure that they are all operationally integrated, turning those magnificent venues into theatres of sport, and that is a Herculean amount of effort. Of course, it's a question of testing, testing, testing. For me it is a very simple analogy. I never wanted to go into any Olympic final and be thrown something I had not been thrown or dealt with a thousand times before on the training track. That is exactly what we are going through at the moment. I think we have done 18 or 19 test events; we will have 42 altogether, and not just testing the field of play. We have many other venues that are non-completion, which we must make sure operate properly. Clearly budget is important-our ability to maintain a balanced budget and also to drive down costs at all time, which means good, smart procurement practices. Of course, this is a process of engagement and excitement. We have a lot of things, like the torch relay, that will really kick off that process, I believe, in an extraordinary way in May next year.

It is that long process of making sure that people recognise this is a London-based project but, of course, it has to have salience and relevance for people around the United Kingdom. That is always a challenge and I think it is one we have met pretty well.

Q264 Chair: Are you confident that you will be able to cover the cost of the Games without recourse to the taxpayer?

Lord Coe: Yes.

Q265 Chair: Is that a guarantee that you can now give?

Lord Coe: You know the nature of the organisation and the structure that we have in place. We work very collaboratively, very closely with 19 Government Departments and agencies that are helping us to deliver that, but our ability to raise the money from the private sector, through probably the teeth of the worst recession that any Olympic Games since the 1970s has been delivered in, gives me confidence that we will meet those budgetary requirements.

Q266 Jim Sheridan: When you say good, smart procurement practices, that sometimes worries me. Can you tell me how many indigenous people you have employed, as a percentage?

Paul Deighton: As Seb said, our current work force is about 2,400. It is predominantly a UK work force. For example, over 20% of them are resident in the host boroughs. We do not break it down by nationality but it is predominantly a British work force.

Q267 Jim Sheridan: The reason I ask you that is because the last time you were here you were asked a question about the building department. There was anecdotal evidence about construction workers who were being imported from Eastern Europe and exploited. You said then that you would go away and look at it, and we've never ever heard anything back since. So now I am asking just a simple question: how many indigenous-and by indigenous I mean British-workers are employed on this site, or will be employed?

Paul Deighton: That is probably one for ODA.

Dennis Hone: Can I just pick up on the construction side, if I may? We have had about 44,000 people work on the park. Clearly some of them worked for long periods and some for short periods, but when you do a snapshot-in June we looked at the total numbers and where they came from on the site-about 25% came from the local host boroughs where the Games are, around 62% were from London as a whole and around 90%1 were from the UK. There are people coming in from the European Union but we obviously have practices and we work with all of the contractors to try and make sure that they are paid at the London living wage.

Q268 Jim Sheridan: You try and make sure?

Dennis Hone: Yes. It is not mandatory within our contractual arrangements but we have put a huge amount of effort into ensuring that contractors would honour the London living wage.

Q269 Jim Sheridan: So you could have people working on the site for less than the minimum wage?

Dennis Hone: Not the minimum wage, the London living wage.

Q270 Mr Watson: Seb, it was really reassuring that you got the private sector fully on board with this, but can I ask you a question arising from a comment from the previous Transport Secretary about the Games lanes. He was critical of some of the sponsors who have been given exclusive access to the Games lanes when he said their hotels were on public transport routes. Could you comment on that?

Lord Coe: The Games lanes are drawn up and clearly identified in the host city contract. Sponsors made their contribution of over £1 billion to deliver these Games and some access, not in total but some access, to those Games lanes is what has always been accepted during the Olympic process.

Paul Deighton: We are working with all the different client groups to identify, even those that may have access to the lanes, where point-to-point public transport is available, pointing out to them that probably it is a quicker way to get to where they are going anyway. So we are doing that.

Lord Coe: There is a very good example of that. If you look, for instance, at some of the International Federations and some of the sponsors, they are going to be in hotels in and around St Pancras, King’s Cross. My own federation, the International track and field federation, is at the Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross. It is six minutes from there to the Olympic Stadium. So I think, as always happens in Games cities, people will make judgments about what is the easiest way, and public transport offers extraordinary opportunities within London.

Q271 Mr Watson: I do not know whether you get black cabs these days.

Lord Coe: Yes, I do, regularly.

Mr Watson: Do you, like me, get comments from cab drivers...

Lord Coe: But only for the last 40 years!

Mr Watson:..who say it is disgraceful they are going to thrown off these Games lanes and-

Lord Coe: It may be helpful for the Committee for me to set this out. The Olympic Route Network is about 109 miles of London roads, so about 1%. The lanes are about a third of that. We will not be allowing taxis into the Games Lanes, but they will have access to the rest of the Network. Other than effectively the lane that runs down the Embankment through to East London that allows the connectivity for all the client groups, taxis will be able to access everything they want within London.

Q272 Mr Watson: What these cab drivers tell me is they are all going to go on holiday during the Olympics because London is going to grind to a halt. With the combination of fares going up 7% on public transport, the cab drivers that talk to me are saying there is going to be a big reputational damage to the Games. Are you confident that that will not be the case?

Lord Coe: I refute that. First of all, this is not the message, of course. London is not closed, it is open for business, and that would be entirely the wrong message given what else London offers to the 800,000 or 1 million tourists coming into London. Secondly, as I made very clear, taxis are able to use the vast majority of London roads. It is really just the pressure on that Games Lane: the athletes, the media, those people working, the technical officials. The reputational damage to this city is at its highest if we can’t get those client groups round London quickly, and to those events that they are either competing in or managing for us.

Paul Deighton: Transport for London meets with the taxi trade every month. They have already met a number of their concerns, for example on where there were to have been restrictions on turns, and they will be putting together packs for the taxi trade and all private hire drivers just so they understand how the city will work at Games-time and how they can go about their business.

Q273 Mr Watson: The London Taxi Drivers Association is threatening disruptive action. Is that threat still there?

Lord Coe: My honest observation to that? I sincerely hope not, because I think that would be an extraordinary route to take during a celebration of this city.

Q274 Mr Watson: But you are not aware whether or not they are still threatening disruption?

Lord Coe: No. These are discussions, as Paul quite rightly said, that take place, and appropriately, between Transport for London and the taxi companies.

Q275 Mr Watson: Given the serious reputational harm that it might do to the Games, though, do you not think that you should be meeting them?

Lord Coe: I have met the taxi organisations. I had a working breakfast with many of the tourist groups, the theatre owners, the cinema owners, just last week where I made exactly this point. So it is very important that taxis are not being disadvantaged in this process. They are not being given access to one lane because that lane is absolutely crucial. It is the lifeline for these Games.

Q276 Mr Watson: So just to confirm, you would be extremely concerned if they carried out their threat of disruption?

Lord Coe: I would be concerned if anybody carried out a threat of disruption during an Olympic Games that is tough enough to organise as it is.

Q277 Mr Sanders: I am looking forward to the next taxi ride where the driver says, "I had that Lord Coe in the back of my cab".

Lord Coe: I am sure we can sell tickets for that one.

Mr Sanders: Prior to the start of the Games, how are you planning to test the resilience of the transport network to cope with several events taking place simultaneously?

Dennis Hone: In terms of testing the network, we are working with TfL, clearly, in London and we have been using events that have taken place to date. So where we have had test events we have used them to learn how transport works-whether it is by the Highways Agency on the roads or TfL-how the tube network works, how spectators get in and out of those test events and the impacts on the surrounding community. So we have been looking at those. Some examples are down at ExCeL, where they ran the WorldSkills event. We looked at how the DLR would operate and we put in place the routings that people will use during the Games time. We used the Westfield opening at Stratford to look at how the systems worked down there. So there is a series of events and they will go on through the year to test individual aspects of the system. In May there are going to be major test events on the Olympic Park and we will look at how they work and, as I say, the egress and access of all of the people going to the park and how they get on to the network, queuing times, how the queues are managed, all of those things. So we are working hand in glove with TfL to go through a whole range of events and test events to look at how transport will work.

Q278 Mr Sanders: What are the latest detailed estimates of extra capacity demand at peak stations? Is there any amendment to the estimate of 30%?

Dennis Hone: The 30% estimate was an estimate that said at certain times in certain places there would be a loading of around 30% extra. That is obviously because of the number of visitors that are coming to London at that point in time. But I would stress to the Committee that it is not everywhere in London, it is only in certain hotspots. The whole focus of the work that TfL are doing, and we are working with them, is on travel demand management, working with businesses, giving them information around where those hotspots are and how people can maybe stagger their working days or work from home, or how they can change their business arrangements to help reduce background demand. We are in the process of doing that. Also in terms of the work we are doing with spectators who are coming to the Games, there is a journey planner facility. You can go through the online journey planner now. You can book your tickets now in terms of your transport arrangements and that will take you on a route that hopefully will avoid some of those transport hotspots so that we can smooth the demand across the network.

Q279 Mr Sanders: So is the 30% figure a figure overall, and therefore it is over 30% in hotspots, or is the 30% figure just the hotspots?

Dennis Hone: It is 30% in the hotspots to the best of my knowledge, looking at those. So, for instance, on the Jubilee line between London Bridge and Canary Wharf you will have overcapacity, but that is why we are working with business and others to see how we can reduce some of the demand during the Games time. It is really at peak times. It is not for the entirety of the day, it is at peak times with events starting in the morning or in the evenings.

Q280 Mr Sanders: In the same sort of field, what measures have been put in place to give directions to people in foreign languages, to avoid people walking around in circles trying to get on the right train, bus and so on?

Dennis Hone: There is a volunteer force and the Mayor is putting in place ambassadors. I know TfL are looking at all of the signage and how that will work, but there will be a huge number of people on platforms, on the main line rail stations and on the tube network to make sure that people are pointed in the right direction.

Paul Deighton: I think a lot of the signage does not depend on language ability because it will be done in terms of colours and pictograms representing the sports, which should communicate themselves universally. That is the broad thrust of the approach.

Q281 Mr Sanders: What are the proposed locations for the park and ride car parks near the M25?

Dennis Hone: I can’t do that one off the top of my head. I know that there is one at the Herts Showground, I know there is one at Lakeside, but obviously if the Committee are interested in that I can write to you and give you the actual locations. So there are a number dotted around the parks to make sure that people can get in.

Q282 Mr Sanders: I think we would also be interested in knowing what the approximate estimated costs are of setting them up.

Dennis Hone: As you will appreciate, I can’t do that one off the top of my head but I certainly can write to the Committee and lay out where they are. What I would say is that in terms of arrangements for the Games we now have all the lease arrangements in place for the park and ride. We have signed contractual arrangements with the operators for the park and ride and, in addition to park and ride, we are running direct coach services to and from the park as well. So we have put in place a whole raft of transport arrangements in addition to the facilities that would normally be there.

Q283 Mr Sanders: My final question is, what are those park and ride areas going to be used for after the Olympics?

Dennis Hone: They are temporary. Most of them are existing facilities. The two examples I have given you, the Lakeside Shopping Centre and the Herts Showground, are going to go back to their former uses. They are only being used on a very temporary basis.

Q284 Steve Rotheram: Lord Coe, in July you urged the IOC to return any unallocated, unwanted tickets so that they could be made available for purchase in the UK. How many tickets have been returned from the IOC, or from any other National Olympic Committee for that matter?

Lord Coe: At this point, none.

Q285 Steve Rotheram: It was not a huge success?

Lord Coe: Well, it was a good try.

Q286 Steve Rotheram: In regard to ticketing per se, would you say that the ticketing policy has been a success?

Lord Coe: Yes.

Q287 Steve Rotheram: These are much quicker answers than I envisaged. I have read Lord Coe’s testimony in the past and it is normally quite loquacious.

Lord Coe: I am very happy to elucidate on that. Have we met our budgetary requirements for that? Yes. Have we got a good chunk of them out at affordable prices, two thirds of them at £50 or less? Yes, I think we met that. The first question from the Chairman is always the appropriate one about the budget and Government guarantees. Ticketing is about a quarter of our budget and it is very important. I know that we had the kind of demand for tickets that has never been witnessed in any ticket application in any area of activity anywhere in the world, so it is within those caveats. I do accept that there was some disappointment, of course. When 1.9 million people apply for over 22 million tickets you are immediately into areas of disappointment. Those numbers do indicate straight away that there are challenges in that. To answer your question as succinctly as I can, yes, I do think that the ticket application process-and where we have got to-was successful.

Q288 Steve Rotheram: Despite the fact that 1 million people have been unsuccessful?

Paul Deighton: Yes, you are right, 1.9 million applied. After the first round ballot and then the second chance sales that we immediately put in place afterwards, about 850,000 of those got tickets. On average they got between four and five tickets and spent about £275. There are just over 3.5 million people who have tickets to go to the Games and you will find a lot of the people who applied who did not get tickets were partners of the ones who applied and did. So you can look through the numbers.

What Seb and I have both promised is that in future releases of tickets, which will happen in April for all the sports that sold out-25 Olympic sports that sold out-those 1 million will have some priority access. So we made a promise at the time that we would get as many of those 1.9 million, because they are really our longest standing, most committed fans for the Games, as many tickets as we could. So we have tried, given the enormous demand and the limited supply of tickets, to give as many people who really wanted a ticket a chance to get that ticket. On top of that we have, of course, football tickets, which was the only sport not fully sold out. We sold about 500,000 football tickets, which was more tickets than we sold for any other sport, so that, in fact, was very successful but we have over 1.5 million left. They are going to go on sale on 29 November on a first come, first served basis. Of course, at this stage we know, for example, where Team GB are going to play their first three group games. The 500,000 we have sold so far is really without anybody knowing what team they are going to see. It is quite an extraordinary achievement to sell that many tickets to games where you could not identify the teams. So that is the soccer tickets.

Then the other chunk of tickets is the Paralympic tickets. We had about 2 million to sell. It is quite unprecedented-there is nothing that compares to the success of the Paralympic ticket sales this far out-we have sold just over 1 million of them, a combination of about 850,0002 to the UK public and a couple of hundred thousand to the client groups around the world. That c900,000 set of Paralympic tickets will go on sale on 2 December. So you essentially have three ways to buy some more tickets: the soccer tickets on 29 November, the Paralympic tickets on 2 December, and then we have a million or so tickets that will get released from April through to Games time as we firm up the seating for the other sports. About two thirds of them, I would imagine, will come on sale in April. That batch is being made available on a priority basis to those who were unsuccessful, who applied in that first round ballot, to try and make sure we make as many of our customers as happy as possible.

Steve Rotheram: That's much clearer; thank you very much.

Q289 Jim Sheridan: I do not know if the Chair is as confused as I am. This 1.9 million people for 23 million, could you explain that to me?

Paul Deighton: Yes. Call it 2 million, because it is a round number, and call it 20 million, so on average people applied for 10 tickets.

Q290 Jim Sheridan: I thought there was a limit on how many tickets you could apply for?

Paul Deighton: There was, but it was more than 10. That is a couple of events for a five-person family.

Q291 Jim Sheridan: How confident are you that you will have a true GB soccer team and not just an England team?

Lord Coe: That is a matter for the British Olympic Association and the four home associations. I am confident we will have a Great Britain soccer team but the composition and constitution of that is very much a matter for those organisations.

Q292 Steve Rotheram: It was recently reported that the Government had purchased nearly 9,000 tickets at a cost of around £750,000 to the taxpayer. Is there a mechanism for these tickets to be returned if they are not sold?

Paul Deighton: I think the Government ordered the tickets on the basis that they knew what they wanted to do with them, so the number was derived from knowing how they were going to use the tickets.

Steve Rotheram: You should never give that much credit to the Government.

Paul Deighton: I always try and look on the positive side. So it is 8,815 they ordered and there are a variety of uses. One is obviously to promote the country. It is the greatest thing happening in our city in our lifetime, all that sort of thing, and it is a great chance to promote Great Britain, and you would expect the Government to be doing that. There are some that the Government is using around the country to make sure that the people involved at the borough and city levels can promote their own venues, and then there is a portion-which is not paid for by the taxpayer-for the people in the Government working on the Games and they will pay for them themselves. So there are three basic tranches there. But I do not expect any of them to come back.

Q293 Jim Sheridan: Just on the Team GB, if the other football associations do not play ball, so to speak, will we still go ahead with a Team GB made up of only England players?

Lord Coe: I believe that is the case. You would have to ask that of the British Olympic Association and the four home associations but that is what I believe has been agreed.

Q294 Mr Watson: Would it be possible to give us the data on what Departments have ordered what tickets for what events?

Paul Deighton: I think that the DCMS did that in response to an FOI so I think that is all available.

Q295 Steve Rotheram: Can I just ask in regards to the preferential purchase scheme that some civil servants have obviously qualified for if they have had the years of service for that, do LOCOG or the ODA staff benefit in a similar way?

Dennis Hone: Shall I start with the ODA? We are part of the Government scheme and individual members of staff who have worked for us for a certain period of time will be able to get two tickets through a ballot and then they have to pay for those two tickets. People who have worked for substantial time on this project will get, as you say, the ability to get two tickets. We did not take any tickets for ceremonies. If I give my personal position, I have two tickets to women’s basketball on a Friday afternoon on the park. They are £35 tickets and I have written a cheque for £70 for them.

Lord Coe: Could I have them back?

Q296 Dr Coffey: Just following on with tickets, are you concerned about the slow uptake of the corporate hospitality tickets being sold by Prestige?

Paul Deighton: No, because it is precisely where their projected plan expected them to be, which is just around 40%.

Q297 Dr Coffey: Following on from that, anecdotally I have heard there are certain sponsors and other companies who are worried about the Bribery Act and gifting hospitality to people, especially people involved in procurement. Has that been raised with you at any point?

Paul Deighton: Yes, it has. You are absolutely right that as a result companies offering hospitality have been particularly careful about the rules they will follow and how it will be offered, which has certainly slowed down some of their plans but it has not prevented them from putting a hospitality plan in place.

Q298 Dr Coffey: Building on that, it seems a barrier. I do not know if it is a genuine one or a perceived risk. Have you or DCMS spoken with the Ministry of Justice on this particular matter?

Paul Deighton: No, because it seems to me the balance is about right. It has made companies stop and think very carefully about how they offer corporate hospitality but none the less they have come up with workable approaches, so it seems to me the balance is about right.

Q299 Dr Coffey: LOCOG had planned to give away 100,000 free tickets to schoolchildren across the UK using the levy on the hospitality packages. If there is only going to be a very late rush, how will you work out how you are going to give away how many tickets to schoolchildren?

Paul Deighton: I think we will be happy to base our Get Set programme, which is in total 175,000 tickets, to schoolchildren on the assumption that the 40% will continue to follow the plan.

Q300 Dr Coffey: So you will stand by it even if they do not reach those sales targets?

Paul Deighton: Yes.

Lord Coe: We do need schools in all your constituencies to sign up to the Get Set programme. It is the Get Set programme and the network that gives them access to the six tickets throughout the UK, and in London one in eight London schoolchildren.

Q301 Dr Coffey: That brings me neatly on to my next question. I have written to all my schools twice encouraging them to get involved. Do you think it has been lower than expected? There has been a lot of schools registering. I don’t have the national figure but I think across the board over 80% of schools have registered. Going on to be part of the Get Set network itself has been considerably lower-it is high in London, but if I take the east of England, 27.4% of schools have moved on and in Suffolk it is lower. I am wondering what have been the barriers, in your view, between the two?

Lord Coe: It has been varied. Both Paul and I spend a lot of our time on what we call our Nations and Regions engagement programmes. In fact, I think we have probably visited most of the constituencies or regions represented around this table at one stage or another. We have encouraged schools to do that. I think we have something like 20,000 schools in total that are involved in the Get Set programme, slightly fewer in network. Network is demanding. These were not giveaway confetti awards; we did ask schools that qualified for network to do something that they would not normally have done had the Games not been here, Olympic and Paralympic. I have been blown away by the quality of what I have seen done on a daily basis in schools. But, yes, you are right, there has been some regional variation in that. We have worked quite hard with local media groups and local education authorities, and many of your colleagues have been extraordinarily helpful in helping us do that.

Paul Deighton: I think if we had one message to the Committee, it is, please help us. The deadline is 16 December.

Q302 Jim Sheridan: I am wondering about the practicalities for schools north of the Watford Gap. How do they get here, travel, accommodation, and who pays for it?

Paul Deighton: Of course there are events around the country too, the football tournament for example.

Q303 Jim Sheridan: If somebody wanted to come to London to watch it, how do they get here? Who pays for their accommodation and so on?

Paul Deighton: Yes, that is something they would have to arrange, you are right, so it is potentially a constraint.

Q304 Jim Sheridan: So that would be left to the schools themselves to organise?

Paul Deighton: Yes.

Q305 Steve Rotheram: Chair, just to say how they can help us to help them-if we could get a possible breakdown of schools by constituency, first of all those who have signed up and then see who has gone further.

Dr Coffey: To be fair, there is a website. It does not do it by constituency but it does it by local authority.

Lord Coe: If any of you want some help with this, we have an education team that will come in at any stage and help you structure some of this.

Q306 Dr Coffey: At the moment 7,406 schools, according to your website, are part of the Get Set network. So they are in the bonanza for something like 15 tickets each, if not more, depending if you are in London. I think if you are in London there are more tickets, aren’t there, through the Mayor’s scheme? So there is great opportunity for everyone.

I am now going to move slightly off that and on to the torch relay. I am sure we have all had a letter from Lloyds encouraging our schools to apply to be flame bearers or something like that. But the deadline for that is this Friday.

Lord Coe: They are one of our presenting partners.

Dr Coffey: I have to admit I was ecstatic when I discovered I have 10 stops in my constituency where people have the chance to do it, but I have already started having the emails, which I am sure many Members of Parliament have had, saying, "Why is it going there and not coming here when we are much bigger?" Could you just explain a little bit more: say they are going to a village of 100 people but not going to the town nearby of 5,000 people, so we can do a bit more of a-

Lord Coe: I think it is important to point out that obviously, we did not do this on a constituency by constituency basis.

Dr Coffey: No, I just hit the jackpot.

Lord Coe: If you remember, when I came before the Committee before I think I said we had an overall objective of getting the torch to 95% of the population within an hour’s journey time. We have improved on that. We have done it to within 10 miles. You are right: this is 70 days, there are 8,000 torch bearers, roughly 8,000 miles, and we are going to 1,018 towns, villages and cities. This has been a two-year process. We set up our torch relay advisory group; many of the movers and shakers in your own constituencies and certainly the regions have helped us with that. The journey has been assessed on any number of indices: clearly operational, our ability to meet the 95% objective; clearly security; and clearly some of the operational objectives about the stops, which give us an opportunity to celebrate but also to move on to the next group. So it is a very complex process and I am sure that you will have had e-mails, as I have, from people who would have liked the torch to have stopped or gone through. It has not been possible, but I do think we have met the overall objective over 70 days of getting this torch to as many as we possibly could.

Q307 Dr Coffey: I hear there are reports of Dublin-I have been told it is definitively going to Dublin. Are you allowed to say?

Lord Coe: What I can say is that we are in advanced conversations. As you would understand, I do not want to go into particular details. I have spent a lot of time on this, both in Northern Ireland and in conversations with the Republic. From a personal perspective, I would like to see just a small visit south of the border. You would understand that these are complex discussions, but it is our ambition to do this.

Dr Coffey: I think it would be fantastic if it did, personally.

Lord Coe: I think it would speak eloquently and powerfully for sport.

Q308 Dr Coffey: I have two final questions. When will torch bearers who have gone through the interview process so far find out? The second question is, will the road route be detailed between stops or are you planning not to try to do that?

Lord Coe: The torch bearers that have applied will have a conditional notification in about December and then they will know finally and fully in February. The more granular street-by-street detail will come through nearer the time of the relay for obvious reasons, because we are still working on that and there are other considerations.

Q309 Dr Coffey: Are you anticipating a Tour de France kind of atmosphere with people-

Lord Coe: I really hope so. I was very clear about two things. I wanted the nomination process to be clear, and I think it is. I wanted it to throw up people who were deserving of recognition. As a very good example, I nominated somebody called Len Arnold. He is a gymnastics coach in South London-his wife competed in the Munich Games-he set up a club, he got into difficulties and he sold his house to keep the club going. He now has a club with about 1,700 people: gymnasts, boxers, weightlifters. With generosity from the local authority and the Olympic Delivery Authority, he now has a world-class training centre, which will be a world-class training centre during the Games and will become a focus for gymnastics in London post the Games. He is the sort of person who ought to be running with the torch.

We were very clear, we wanted this to be about young people, young people’s endeavours, to probably break down some of the tabloid misconceptions about what is happening in the lives of young people in this country. So about half of those torch bearers will be between 12 and 24, but we were very keen to make sure that in the overnight stops it gave communities a chance to celebrate those people, the volunteer organisations, sporting, artistic, cultural, that make up the fabric of those communities. I think we have gone a long way towards those objectives.

Q310 Philip Davies: Thérèse might have hit the jackpot but I was reflecting on the fact that, not half as much as the Government have hit the jackpot. They applied for 8,815 tickets and they appear to have been allocated 8,815 tickets. How did they manage to do that?

Paul Deighton: We treated the Government like a tier one sponsor, although in fact it was allocated less tickets than that. So the 8,815 does not come from the 6.6 million-the 75% of tickets that remain available for the UK public. It comes out of the 2.2 million tickets that have been set aside for the variety of different clients who have access to tickets. It seemed to us that the party they were most equivalent to was a sponsor. They are a big stakeholder, a big delivery partner from taxpayers clearly providing a lot of money, so we thought that was the right comparison. By way of comparison, in past Games the Government has generally had control over significant numbers of tickets.

Q311 Philip Davies: There has been a lot of controversy, as I am sure you are aware, from local and regional newspapers about the allocation of press accreditations for them. It seemed to start off at four, of which half were Scottish newspapers, and then it has gone up to somewhere fewer than 20. I was just wondering what the latest situation was and whether or not there would be a higher allocation for regional and local papers.

Lord Coe: I will take this. If I lay out the landscape just briefly. The British Olympic Association is, of course, responsible for the allocation of UK accredited media. The International Olympic Committee awarded them about 400 accreditations, which is far more than any host city has received before. That is far higher than anything that has happened before. There were about 3,000 applications for some 400 places and those places have been judged by, and the BOA quite rightly set up, a group of expert writers, Olympic writers, photographers-people who understand that landscape. The criteria were about frequency of publication; this is more about Athletics Weekly than Caravan Monthly. It was about the nature of that media, the amount of editorial coverage that they give over the four years to the Olympic Games. So that is where we have got to. The IOC appointed the Press Association as the national host news agency, and the Press Association have the responsibility of servicing local and regional press during the Games. They are committed to-they have made a very strong commitment that is an important one for our participation agenda here-supporting the performance of every British athlete competitor, whether they go out in the first round or make it through to a medal. So I think that is where the balance is and that is the landscape.

Q312 Philip Davies: On that last point, because that appears to be the crucial point to me, if we are going to get this sporting legacy where we have people who are inspiring young people to want to get involved in sport, it seems to me that is much more likely to be done at the local level than at the national level, in terms of having local sporting heroes. Are you concerned that if this is not got right it could impact on the local media being able to give proper coverage to their local champions?

Lord Coe: I do not think it is going to stop the local media giving proper coverage to their local champions. I think back to my own career. I was an Olympic athlete; I was based in Sheffield. Those relationships with my local media were cemented 10, 12 years before I got to my final Olympic Games. So it did not prevent them-a good example, I was contracted at the time to write a diary for a national newspaper while I was in Moscow but my father wrote a diary, as a coach, for the Sheffield Morning Telegraph. So those relationships, if they are worked through properly at local level, work extraordinarily well.

You are right: I accept that the longest and truest sponsor that most sports have is the local press coverage that is there year in, year out, day in, day out, competition for competition. They tend not, like national press, to dip in and out when the story hits the priority list.

Q313 Philip Davies: As you made clear, there are lots of events taking place around the country, not just in London, so will the local media have access to the events that are taking place in their part of the country?

Lord Coe: Certainly all the events that we have talked about like torch and volunteer programmes-yes, of course they will.

Q314 Philip Davies: Things like the football and the sailing, will the local media have access to the events taking place?

Lord Coe: I am presuming that is on the same basis. Yes, it is on the same basis.

Q315 Philip Davies: Can I ask about security at the Games? The Secretary of State, when he came before the Committee, said his two main concerns were transport, which we have covered, and security. I do not know if that is the same for you, but can I ask what the latest estimated cost is of securing the Games venues, because it seems to be going up and up and up?

Paul Deighton: We are working through that at the moment. There has been some speculation in the few days around this, so could I just spend a minute explaining the planning process and where we are in that now, because I think that will help everybody to understand where we are. Before you can in detail and with accuracy define the security, and indeed the transport requirements, you need to have a very clear plan for the event itself. That is where all the work in the early years of this project has been focused, looking at exactly what the sporting venue portfolio will be, and that was finalised at the beginning of this year, working out exactly what the sporting competition schedule will be-we have over 1,000 different sessions: 600-odd for the Olympic Games, 300-odd for the Paralympic Games-and how that forms part of the schedule with the 18 days of sport of the Olympics, 11 days break and then another 10 or 11 days of the Paralympics. Then there is how the transport and the accommodation network works around that, so you understand the flows of people and what they are going to be doing. It is only when you have a clear plan around those things that can you plan with any real certainty the security overlay that you need to put in place to protect that event that you then have a clear understanding that you are trying to run. That plan has crystallised through the course of this year.

The threat level, of course, has been set from the beginning at severe level. This is the first summer Games that has ever been planned for under that kind of threat level. The security forces are the ones who determine the security strategies and risk mitigation that you need to put around the venues and the people you need to protect-who drive what falls out of that, which is then the security guarding that goes around the outside. We are now at the stage with the Home Office and the Government Olympic Executive of finalising an extremely detailed scope plan that comes out of all that work I have just discussed and the costs that will flow from that. The Government is working through its satisfaction with that scope and the variety of sources of supply that could meet the man-guarding numbers that would be posted around the venues.

The test events, just to give you another bit of colour and background, that we have held during the summer were very helpful to us, looking at how the spectator and passenger spectator areas would work, because understanding how many people you can get in, how quickly, and how long they are held outside in queues, which potentially creates a vulnerability, was a very important part of our planning. We learnt things like how to put people earlier in the queue to get people prepared to go through security to make the queue go quicker; should we have a cover over where that queue exists because people are, not surprisingly, much happier to take their coats off under cover when it is raining? So the weather makes a huge difference as to how quickly you can get the queues through. All that testing is just an example of one stream of work that has gone into giving us what is now a clear, detailed plan for what we will need for Games time.

Q316 Philip Davies: The Government allocated originally £600 million for security costs and said that they thought it should be able to be delivered for £475 million. Is that going to be possible or are you going to go above what the Government have allocated for this?

Paul Deighton: That budget is the policing budget. There is a separate venue security budget that was put in place to take care of this particular phenomenon and, you are correct, that number will go up and the work the Home Office and GOE are determining at the moment is to finalise that number. It will go up but it will fall within the overall £9.3 billion package, which is why John was able to answer the Chairman’s question in the affirmative at the beginning of the session.

Q317 Philip Davies: What will be cut in the Olympic budget in order to meet the increased security costs?

Paul Deighton: Remember, the Olympic budget initially had a £2.7 billion contingency to provide for unexpected developments. If you think about the nature of this project, you have relatively high levels of certainty for things you do at the beginning, much lower levels of certainty for things you do at the end, which only become clear when you have developed the other aspects of your planning. So, from a theoretical point of view, it is not surprising that the uncertain elements get uncovered as you get towards the end of the project.

Q318 Philip Davies: Just in terms of the policing, one of the issues is that other parts of the country are apparently going to be giving up their police officers to come and help police at the Olympics, which is fair enough on one level but we hear about all these events that will be going in London-tea parties here, there and everywhere, at Marble Arch and in Islington. I can understand that my police force might have to give up some policing to police the Olympic Games but surely we are not going to have to give up police officers to police tea parties in Marble Arch when we have no policing for things up in our part of the world. How is that going to work?

Paul Deighton: The overall security arrangements for the Games, of course, are under the management of the Olympic Security Directorate, part of the Home Office, who work very closely with the Met and all the other police forces to make sure that the deployment of the police force around the country is handled intelligently. What I can tell you about the demand for policing around London is that we have tried to manage this very tightly. The sorts of events you are talking about, your example of the tea party, we define as a parallel event and the police, the transport authorities, the GLA under the Mayor’s supervision, have a very well managed and disciplined process to ensure that the number of these parallel events is within the capacity of the resources you need to supervise them safely.

Q319 Philip Davies: How confident are you that Group 4 Security will be able to recruit the number of extra security guards now required and make sure that they all have the proper checks that are needed?

Paul Deighton: We are quite confident of that, although I should say one of the principal things that is under consideration from the Home Office at the moment is exactly the mix from different sources of security guards. What flows from our planning, for example, is that we know we need just in excess of 10 million hours of man guarding. You can meet those 10 million hours from a variety of sources, and how many people you need is a function somewhat of the skills, background and training of the sources they come from. So there is likely to be a combination of supply that goes to meet those 10 million hours. Some will be from the private security market, and all the discussion we have with G4S is based on numbers that they are confident in securing. There will also be a contribution from our volunteer force, because some of the jobs in security are susceptible to being done by volunteers. So, when I talked about quickening up the pedestrian screening areas, a job that a volunteer can do is at the beginning of that queue basically say, "Okay, get your coat off. Have you got anything that needs to go through the X-ray machine?" to get them ready. So it is a welcome-cum-preparation job that a volunteer is very well suited for. As you know-this has been reported-there have also been discussions between the Home Office and the MOD about what role the military might play in that supply mix too. So that all goes into the picture.

Q320 Philip Davies: Is the fact that you have asked for these, apparently, 6,000 soldiers to help bolster security a reflection of your lack of confidence in G4S getting the right number of people recruited in time?

Paul Deighton: No, not at all. It is a reflection of the fact that 10 million hours translates to something just over 20,000 people, but of course it is only on peak days that you need that number. To put that in context, the police force for the Games, which is drawn from an existing organisation with huge experience, is pretty close to half of that so we need to mobilise a large number. In our view, it is appropriate that we should manage the risk of securing that by going to a range of sources and indeed, from my point of view, having the option to call upon the military is a very attractive option because they come fully trained and highly respected. I always draw the comparison of Wimbledon. If you have visited Wimbledon and seen the role that the military plays in security there, it adds in a very positive way to the experience of the event and the confidence spectators have. So from a qualitative point of view, of course it would be attractive to have a military component and we see it as a mix to deliver what is, by a long way, the biggest event that this country has ever seen.

Q321 Philip Davies: Given the recent shambles with the UK Border Agency, can we be confident that you are not going to be asking people to be waved through quickly to stop them queuing, in order to get them through the thing as quickly as possible?

Paul Deighton: You can take some confidence from the fact that the reason these numbers are going up and the reason this is at the end of a very detailed planning process is because we are determined that the protection we offer at the venue perimeter is very, very effective.

Q322 Philip Davies: Have you asked that the Home Office have in place their e-Borders programme, their Authority to Carry programme that makes sure that people who are a threat do not even get to board a plane into the country? Have you agitated at all that they up their game in terms of these things for the Olympics?

Paul Deighton: Yes. It is not a question of the Olympics. Clearly you want our borders to be secure in the months and years leading up to the Olympics so that you know at the Olympics that you are secure. So we have to rely on the UKBA and the Home Office to manage those borders as we would want them to. What I can say is that we have worked extremely closely and collaboratively with the UKBA on the entry procedures and protocols for the Olympic family itself, which is a big group of people from overseas coming to visit the Games, to make sure they can be processed efficiently and effectively. The work they have done with us has been, frankly, first class. They have been a very good partner under the leadership of Tony Smith who runs that part of their business for them.

Q323 Philip Davies: My final question: it seems to be well known that the people who cut up rough most about the security at the Olympic Games are the Americans-that whatever you do it is never good enough for them. Have they expressed any concerns about the plans? Has anything been changed as a result of their feedback? Are they going to be allowed to send people over carrying weapons, as was reported, to protect their team during the Olympics?

Paul Deighton: No is the basic answer. This all sprung up from an article in a newspaper yesterday. I have the reply from the US Embassy, which sent a letter to the editor of the newspaper categorically rejecting the characterisation in that article. I will quote them here: "The United States Embassy has the utmost confidence in the British Government’s arrangements to ensure safety and security at the Olympic Games. The US has established an excellent collaborative relationship with the police." So what was reported yesterday and followed up on today has absolutely no basis in any experience I have had, and the Americans themselves have rejected it directly. Clearly they have a big team, they have serious security concerns, so they will want to work with us to make sure it is effective. But as I say, and as they said, they are very happy with what we are doing and it is highly collaborative.

Q324 Chair: Anti-aircraft missiles?

Paul Deighton: I never thought I would be sitting anywhere answering questions on that, but yes-as the Secretary of State said yesterday, he was happy to confirm that there would some deployment as I understand it.

Q325 Chair: Are you confident that we are going to be able to sustain our requirements elsewhere in the world, given the large amount of defence forces that seem about to be deployed around London?

Paul Deighton: It really is not for me to answer. We obviously will adjust our plans to ensure that the military complete their obligations elsewhere. We are not trying to put any undue pressure on them.

Q326 Jim Sheridan: Just to follow on, surface-to-air missiles and America, if they apply for anything like that, or even to have armed guards for their athletes, I take it they would have to receive permission from the UK Government to let it happen.

Paul Deighton: Yes.

Lord Coe: It is entirely a matter for the Home Office.

Q327 Chair: Can we turn to legacy matters, which, as you know, is something that has occupied the Committee. Obviously the World Athletics Championship is extremely good news and it means that the stadium is going to be absolutely full of athletes on that occasion. Apart from that there is the Diamond League Athletics Competition taking place twice a year, but how often do you expect to see the stadium used for athletics after the Games?

Lord Coe: You would probably have to ask the Olympic Park Legacy Company directly but my understanding is that athletics within that mix has I think 21, 22 days, including events, set up for its sport. But I think it is worth remembering that we never ever described or aimed for a unique track and field facility barring other sports, activities and entertainment. You are right, the World Track and Field Championships in 2017, the world’s third largest sporting event arriving here for nine or 10 days, is an extraordinary addition to that legacy story. But the other proposals-bringing in other tenancy partners, whether it is football or whatever, and probably some entertainment value and local community use-are something the Olympic Park Legacy Company has now started, in a way afresh, since they cut through the legal challenges and the potential for those challenges, fuelled by the taxpayer, to run on indefinitely. The challenge, of course, is now making sure that there is an integrated set of activities in that stadium, with track and field as one of the core legacies.

Q328 Chair: It is OPLC who lead on that?

Lord Coe: Yes.

Q329 Dr Coffey: You have not yet found a legacy tenant for the Media and Broadcast Centre. Why is it proving so hard?

Lord Coe: Again, that really is a matter for the Olympic Park Legacy Company to answer. They are in the lead role and directly responsible for legacy within the park. But I am sure Dennis may want to-

Dennis Hone: If I can just answer that. I can tell you where they are at the moment. They went out and did some soft marketing and they got 45 expressions of interest for the Media and Broadcast Centre; they are out now formally looking for bids and the bids are due back by 2 December. I think we will be able to see what the level of interest is when they get those formal bids back.

Q330 Dr Coffey: It is a big building. I believe the nearest public transport is eight minutes on a North London line, the overground station. Do you think that is one of the barriers to it being sold on?

Dennis Hone: It is in the north of the park, that is for sure, in the north-west of the park. It is right up against the A12 and Hackney Wick is the nearest station. But, as I say, until we see the bids come back we can’t make a judgment on that. You are right in saying that other elements of the park are closer to Stratford.

Q331 Mrs Mensch: I just have a couple of questions. How is the Olympic Delivery Authority doing on its targets for employing women in the delivery of the Games and also for employing disabled people?

John Armitt: We set ourselves targets at the outset for both of these, along with other various targets that we set for the employment of all sorts of different groups. The two that have been the most challenging, you are quite right to highlight, are women and disability. In the case of women we are at about 3%3 and that is lower than clearly we would have liked. But we are talking about women in the construction work force not women employed across the whole work force. There are much higher percentages of women employed both in the management and in the back-room offices of all our organisations; but out in the field wielding a hammer, the numbers are lower than we would have hoped to have persuaded to come in. Having said that, some of our best apprentices at the younger age end of the scheme have been women coming in to apprenticeships.

Q332 Mrs Mensch: 3% is pretty terrible. What was your original target?

John Armitt: The original target was 7%4.

Mrs Mensch: So that is less than half.

John Armitt: But in terms of what you see in the industry it is more like 1%, so we are doing a lot better than is the norm. We set an ambitious target and I think it is simply that you can’t force women to say, "Yes, I want to go and work in construction"; nor can you force employers to take people on who do not have the necessary skills, which is why we focused to quite a large extent on the apprenticeship side to see what we could do there. At the end of the day, I quite happily acknowledge that the figure is not as great as one would have liked to see in terms of making that significant shift, but it is a significant shift away from the norm in construction. I have been in it all my life, pretty well, one way and another, and you do not see women at the coalface of the construction industry in any normal circumstance. What we have seen here is an increase, a significant increase in the number. The number is not as great as the target that was set at the beginning. The target was ambitious.

Q333 Mrs Mensch: We expect leadership from the Olympics and we expect the Olympics and its delivery companies to be an organisation that challenges stereotypes, that provides leadership, which is precisely why you set an ambitious target for women and disabled people. So comparisons with the overall construction industry are not fair comparisons. We would expect you to be able to show that leadership and have innovative ways of reaching out to skilled females in the work force and, indeed, of persuading your employers to take on those women-perhaps also in administrative jobs within construction, supervisory roles, that sort of thing.

You have made a reference to the higher number of women employed in white collar jobs, management roles and so forth. What percentage of women are employed in non-construction jobs to which you have just referred? You said there are a higher proportion of women involved in the management side and in back-room functions. What is that proportion of women?

Dennis Hone: I can’t answer that one, but can I just add to the previous answer and then we will come back to that? Where we have contractors coming on to the park and their sub-contractors, they will have a certain element to their work force that they move from job to job anyway, who are already employed by the organisations. So where we can have maximum impact is in new roles that are created in those industries. We ran job brokerage schemes with local authorities to take the sort of leadership that you were talking about there. Where we put people through the job brokerage scheme we got 60% from BAME people, we got 17% women coming into the construction industry on new jobs and we got 6% disabled, which are all above our targets. So where we could influence the market we were doing very well. The issue we had was that within the existing work force of the construction industry we found it very difficult to get them to change the composition of their teams.

Q334 Mrs Mensch: How are you doing in terms of meeting your target on the employment of disabled people?

Dennis Hone: In terms of the overall target for disabled people, through the brokerage scheme we were getting 6%. But we aimed for a target of 3% in terms of disabled and we got 1%. So we were hitting 6% where we could influence through the job brokerage scheme, but for the total work force it was 1% against a target of 3%.

Q335 Mrs Mensch: This is to do with construction companies importing their core work force into the job. What about those non-construction jobs in terms of delivering the Olympics?

Paul Deighton: Thank you for bringing up this topic. This is really important to us because in many respects the success of the Games is measured in terms of everybody feeling that they are involved in it and in some way inspired by it. So, for me, our work on diversity and inclusion is the heartbeat of what we are trying to deliver for the country. We try to apply it across our work force broadly-so the people who work for LOCOG, our Games makers, the up to 70,000 volunteers-and how we work with our contractors for those 100,000. We also try to drive it through how we provide services, for example, the approach we have had to accessible seating in the stadium, which beats every standard anywhere in the world; and we also try to apply it on how we work through our procurement approach and how we create opportunities for minority-owned businesses and smaller business who would normally struggle to get this kind of contract. So it is a heartbeat that drives a lot of what we do. I chair our Diversity Committee where we have a broad range of external supporters, people like Tanni Grey-Thompson, Floella Benjamin and a number of others, John Amaechi, Paul Elliott, who really help us to keep focused on it. So this is important to us.

In terms of our targets, with our existing work force our disability target is between 3% and 6% and we are currently at 7%; our BAME target ranges from 18% to 29% and we are at the bottom end of that but we will work up as we get into the final stages of the Games; and on gender, we are at 48% women. Most importantly, half my management team are women: Jackie, who is sitting behind me, who is the director of comms; my legal counsel; my director of sport-the first female director of sport in an Olympic Games-my director of HR; my director of planning. They are star performers who are delivering these Games and they are at the top of the organisation, and that sets the tone going right through. We have made a special effort in developing talent pools of candidates from ethnic minorities and disabled people, so before we have a job for them, we find someone, we say, "You are a great person, we will find you a job when the right job comes along". When the right job comes along, we slot them into it.

The other big aspect of diversity for us is making sure that people in the local host boroughs benefit from the Games being built in their neighbourhood. We do not want to leave them behind and clearly-Jim, you were getting at this earlier-we need to try and embrace them in these employment opportunities. A very big personal commitment from me was to bring together the host borough leaders, our big contractors, for example on the catering side, the cleaning side and the security side, and the Mayor and his team were responsible for making this happen, to sit in a room-we meet quarterly but the operational group meets monthly- and say, "We have a joint responsibility to deliver as many of these jobs as we possibly can into the local host boroughs". Working through their own capacity to supply into the 100,000 contractors, they currently suggest, "We can provide you with 10,000 people who will be able to take those jobs". So I have the hirers there, I have the local authorities there; I am saying, "Let’s do as much of this as we possibly can". I hope, as we get into the next few months, when these hirings take place, that we do see some positive results.

Q336 Mrs Mensch: That is very encouraging. Can I move on a little bit to the controversy over Dow and the wrap for the stadium, of which you will be aware. Dow is a worldwide sponsor. There was the terrible disaster at Bhopal, which we all remember. There are, however, ongoing issues, as you will also be aware, as to whether or not Dow is fulfilling its responsibilities by cleaning up the amount of pollutants it is putting into the water in India. This is not, apparently, a legacy of the original accident but is an ongoing problem. As I have said before, I am increasingly impressed by everything to do with the Olympics, and overall it is a magnificent job. It is very worrying to me, however, that London 2012 is going to be associated in the public mind with a sponsor like Dow Chemical, given the ongoing problems, as I say not related to the original accident. In the Sustainable Sourcing Guide for LOCOG, you are committed to finding suppliers who are, and I quote, "environmental, social and ethical". On all three counts, it would appear that Dow does not currently fulfil those requirements. Can you tell me what work you did on compliance, on ensuring that Dow did match up to those guidelines before you accepted them as a sponsor?

Lord Coe: There is a lot there. Let me take it in the order that you raised it. Yes, absolutely, I think we all remember the human tragedy that took place in 1984, and we have looked at this and we have looked at it thoroughly. I will deal a little bit, in a moment, with the procurement process that you raised. We have looked at the history of this and we are satisfied that Dow were not the owners, the operators, or involved with that plant or that site at the time of the disaster and, crucially, at the time that the overall settlement was made. Again, the explosion was in 1984, the overall settlement was made in 1989. It was upheld in 1991, and then again in 2009, by the Indian Supreme Court. We have looked at this very carefully and in everything we know and have seen, we stand behind Dow as a partner. They are a global partner with the International Olympic Committee. They are, within our territory, able to associate with the London Games, and yes, they are providing the wrap.

It is worth remembering, of course, that in the public expenditure round in 2010 the wrap was removed from the public budget, the Olympic budget, so we went out with a very specific tender to the marketplace to find a commercial solution to the wrap, not a branded, commercial solution, at Games time. We went through a thorough process and on the three points that you raised-I think you talked about environmental, ethical and social-they met by some distance every one of those requirements in that process and, by a distance, the sustainable option that, in their case, meant that the material they are using is entirely recyclable.

Q337 Mrs Mensch: You will understand that in India this was more controversial than anywhere else, and that there were calls for a boycott in the Indian press at the time. Can you tell me-

Lord Coe: I am sorry, at the time of what?

Mrs Mensch: That Dow was announced as a sponsor, the reports in the Indian press-

Lord Coe: I am very familiar with India and the Indian press, for all sorts of reasons. I don’t think that was actually the case.

Q338 Mrs Mensch: The briefings we are given are normally pretty accurate. Have you been in discussions with the Indian Olympic Association? Have you been talking to them about local concerns about using Dow as a sponsor, or is it your position that there is no concern from India about Dow as a sponsor?

Lord Coe: I am in permanent contact with the Indian National Olympic Committee, again for all sorts of reasons. As the Chairman of the Organising Committee and the invitation to India to be here, I would always do that. I have no sense at all that the Indian National Olympic Committee have even broached the thought of a boycott.

Q339 Mrs Mensch: No. The suggestion has arisen in the press. Then there is a corollary question: have they raised concerns with you about Dow as a sponsor and, if so, have you been able to allay the concerns they might have?

Lord Coe: No, they have not.

Q340 Mrs Mensch: There have been no concerns whatsoever from-what about the Indian media? Have they contacted you, asked for a statement?

Lord Coe: Not directly, no.

Mrs Mensch: Okay. Thank you.

Q341 Jim Sheridan: There is a major campaign being launched today about this whole issue. Mainly it is cross-party Members of Parliament, various individuals and organisations. Have you met with them?

Lord Coe: Have I met with-

Jim Sheridan: The people who are organising this campaign.

Lord Coe: Yes. I have met with Members of Parliament. I met with Keith Vaz the other day. I met with Tessa Jowell. Yes, I am politically across this.

Q342 Jim Sheridan: Are you sympathetic to what they are saying about this?

Lord Coe: My conversations with Keith and Tessa were very open, but I do make the point that, of course, I have been through the history of this. I am not unaware of the size and scale. I am the grandson of an Indian so I am not completely unaware of this as an issue, but I am satisfied that at no time did Dow operate, own or were involved with the plant, either at the time of the disaster or, crucially, at the time that the full and final settlement was made.

Q343 Jim Sheridan: I can understand where you are coming from but the problem is that they are still paying the legal bills against the Bhopal victims. Dow are still contesting it in court, and Dow are paying the legal costs against the victims of Bhopal, and it looks like they are going to win the case. That means the victims of the Bhopal disaster are going to lose out, and Dow is paying the legal costs for this.

Lord Coe: I can’t go into that kind of detail. That is a question you should put to Dow. I do make the point that the Indian Supreme Court has upheld, on two separate occasions, the settlement that was reached by the previous owners of that plant.

Q344 Jim Sheridan: Are you not concerned about the harm that this could cause to the reputation of the Olympics?

Lord Coe: Of course. As I said, I have gone through the history of this, I have looked at it very closely. I have gone through the history. I am satisfied, as I said, that the ownership, the operation and the involvement, either at the time of the disaster or, crucially, at the final settlement, was not the responsibility of Dow. There are ongoing issues, absolutely there are ongoing issues, and they are with the Indian Government and they are with the state of Madhya Pradesh, who were the owners of the land.

Q345 Jim Sheridan: But if you understand the sensitivity, these people are suffering horrific injuries at the same time that this company is being flagged up as some major company in the British Olympics. Were they the only tender for this?

Lord Coe: I am not here as a spokesman for Dow but Dow were not the owners, operators or involved in the site at the time of the disaster.

Q346 Jim Sheridan: Yes, but they are still paying the legal costs.

Lord Coe: That is a view you take.

Q347 Jim Sheridan: There is a moral question there.

Lord Coe: You are telling me that.

Q348 Jim Sheridan: Were they the only tender for this?

Lord Coe: No. They came through a competitive process and, as I said, I stand absolutely behind our procurement process. It looked at the options that were on offer and the sustainability of those options, and by some distance they came out ahead on every one of those indices.

Q349 Jim Sheridan: Given that you have just heard that they are paying the legal costs, are you-

Lord Coe: No. I am not in a position to know that detail.

Q350 Jim Sheridan: Now that I am telling you that that is the situation, are you in a position to go back to Dow and ask them to stop paying the legal costs? The victims are claiming compensation and Dow is challenging them.

Paul Deighton: They are paying their own legal costs, they are not paying-

Q351 Jim Sheridan: Obviously, they are not paying the victims’ costs. But the victims are poor people who in no way can stand up against these people. They are the victims, and this is all being dragged into the Olympics.

Paul Deighton: Can I make one clarification that I do not think has come across yet, that Dow became a part of the Olympic movement in July 2010 when the IOC announced them as a top partner. They are a global partner so they have associational rights to the London Games. That exists anyway, and so the wrap is a small procurement, which we had to go and do simply because the Government funding was taken away.

Jim Sheridan: The only thing I would say is it is a major area of concern among parliamentarians and others. I think Steve has a question on it as well.

Q352 Steve Rotheram: Only because quite often these things can come from left field, and if this was to become a major issue, as it could, is there any other way that you could find sponsorship, or that sponsorship could be attracted for the wrap, if Dow were to perhaps do the honourable thing and pull out?

Lord Coe: I think I made it pretty clear this morning that I am satisfied and I am comfortable about standing behind the procurement process we went through, and I am satisfied that the history of this is very clear to me.

Q353 Steve Rotheram: I am not questioning the procurement process. I am saying if this whole issue was to kick off, is there enough time to look for an alternative sponsor?

Paul Deighton: It is getting very late. That is, of course, a matter for Dow if they would choose to pull out, and I do not see that they believe that is something they are likely to do.

Q354 Dr Coffey: If I can move on to the Cultural Olympiad. It was billed as a four-year celebration of UK culture on a scale not seen before. What portion of the £100 million budget has been allocated to the four-year celebration around the country as opposed to just the London and 2012 Festival?

Lord Coe: I am not sure that I could answer it in that way. You are right to say that the Cultural Olympiad started in 2008. It runs naturally into what we call Festival 2012 and there is a combination. It is a half and half combination of public and private. Our two main partners, BT and British Petroleum, who have been our presenting partners in this, have brought between £10 million and £15 million to the table. LOCOG has made a contribution of nearly £10 million, so it is a good mix. We don’t tend to look at it that way because there are partners out there, and some of the funding has come through Legacy Trust, some of it has come through the Olympic lottery distributor, some of it with collaborative work and commissioning through the Arts Council.

Q355 Dr Coffey: I am trying to get a feel of how much is London-focused, as opposed to the rest of the country. You don’t have that information?

Lord Coe: No. We have made it very clear that Cultural Olympiad, particularly given the potential for engagement throughout the country, is really a UK-wide project. We do not look at this as simply a London focus. For instance, in Festival 2012 we will have the World Shakespeare Festival. That is overseen by the Royal Shakespeare Company. There will be 78 productions. They are around the UK and there are workshops in all parts of the UK. We have Stratford-on-Avon, Newcastle, Gateshead, Birmingham and, of course, our four nations, and supplementary workshops delving into the role Shakespeare plays in the lives of young people and how we can interpret Shakespeare. That is just one strand of it, and that is very much a UK-wide programme.

Q356 Dr Coffey: How are you assessing the impact of the reach of the Cultural Olympiad?

Lord Coe: It is probably not the most scientific answer you will get on this but, first of all, I see, quite rightly, the Cultural Olympiad or culture as being the second strand of Olympism. If you look at the seamless path that the founding father of the Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, mapped, it was that seamless path between sport, education and culture. Up until the 1948 Games there were medals distributed within the Olympic Games for prose and art. I think it was a British artist that won the last gold medal for an interpretation. We see this as being very important. You have the Cultural Olympiad that started in 2008, that runs through effectively to the Festival 2012, with the extraordinary programme of events from 21 and 22 June this year. That runs right the way through to the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games. That narrative, the narrative in the Cultural Olympiad, the Festival 2012, and then of course our opening and closing ceremonies, is all one very large effort. On legacy, we have an ambition to see over that period a lot of people going to cultural and artistic events that they have never been to before. Over the Cultural Olympiad, I think we will probably be able to say we have engaged about 16 million people.

Paul Deighton: We will record the number of participants we get as one of the measures-

Lord Coe: Yes. It will be properly monitored.

Q357 Dr Coffey: I will come back to the current stuff. You just mentioned legacy. Who is responsible for pursuing the targets post-2012?

Lord Coe: I can answer that very simply. Post-2012, all legacy is directly, in simple terms, Government, their agencies and, of course, the Mayor of London throughout this period. There is a Cultural Olympiad Board, which we set up. It is chaired by Tony Hall; it has people like Nick Serota, Nick Kenyon, Jude Kelly.

Q358 Dr Coffey: Will that continue?

Lord Coe: I don’t know. That would really then be up to-

Paul Deighton: The whole structure of the festival and the Cultural Olympiad has been to work with existing organisations and deliver through them. The reason they are so interested in being part of it is that they will carry on, and this gives them a great opportunity to get new audiences and do new work that they then take forward. Naturally, the legacy is in place, because they are all existing organisations.

Lord Coe: It turbo-charges a lot of existing programmes.

Q359 Dr Coffey: Apparently there has been a significant event in my constituency as well, but it was an unusual one, very contemporary.

Lord Coe: We have had London 2012 Open Weekends as well, which have been hugely successful, and they have been aimed at celebrating the four years, three years, two years, one year to go markers. We have had about an 88% increase in the number of people and activities over the last three or four years on that as well. Here I express particular gratitude to British Telecom and British Petroleum, both our partners, who have come to the table and have chosen to activate a large part of their sponsorships through cultural programmes.

Q360 Dr Coffey: One extension, if you like, of culture would be the merchandising, and there is, I have to say, some very snazzy stuff that is available <?oasys [pc10p0] ?>right now. In terms of the posters, the Bridget Riley one looks beautiful. It doesn’t look anything like a Bridget Riley, but apparently it represents running lanes. How important is that commercial success on those kind of tangible cultural items?

Lord Coe: Yes, of course it is. Our total merchandising and marketing programme is very important. We are looking, probably, in turnover terms, at about £1 billion-worth of retail trade, which would probably add-I will defer to the Chief Executive-about £80 million to the-

Paul Deighton: Maybe even more.

Lord Coe: Yes, our merchandising is important, and we have been very keen to make sure it is of the highest quality that we could find.

Q361 Dr Coffey: If you have not merchandised certain items-I will give you an example-like beach huts, would you be open to offers from local businesses?

Lord Coe: We are open to all sorts of offers from all sorts of creative forums.

Q362 Dr Coffey: I know that one of the stops in my patch is trying to put beach huts as a prominent feature. The average beach hut in Southwold is about £60,000 to £70,000. It is astonishing, but there we go.

Lord Coe: If you want you can write separately to me on that.

Dr Coffey: Thank you.

Q363 Jim Sheridan: Can I go back to the question I asked earlier about schools and logistics. Unfortunately, there are people who are trying to portray the Olympics as London-based and nothing to do with the rest of the country. I am wondering, given the sort of constraint on education budgets just now, transporting kids down to London may not be a priority for an awful lot of local authorities. Is there any more that you can do, or your organisation can do, to help local authorities to bring kids from outside London down to the Olympics? I think that would be extremely helpful.

Paul Deighton: Our Nations and Regions Group are very keen to make sure that people, whether they are Games makers or children with tickets, get the chance to come to London. Many of them are coming up with schemes that can support them, so we will look at <?oasys [jy ?>that.

Q364 Steve Rotheram: Lord Coe mentioned Baron de Coubertin. Actually, Liverpool has a claim to be the originator of the Olympic Games. John Hulley <?oasys [jy ?>is supposed to be the father of the modern <?oasys [jy ?>Olympics.

Lord Coe: I am across that, but that is probably not for this Committee.

Chair: Steve, you have done remarkably well: we got to six minutes past 12 before you mentioned Liverpool.

I thank the four of you very much.

[1] Witness correction: 64%

[2] Witness correction: 800,000.

[3] Witness correction : 5%.

[4] Witness correction : 11%.

Prepared 6th March 2012