Supporting the creative economy - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

2  Olympic and Paralympic legacy

11. The opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympics and Paralympics were widely considered a success. They were undoubtedly a great showcase for British creative talent.[15] More than any other recent events, they have greatly enhanced 'Brand GB' and were a fitting accompaniment to the magnificent achievements of athletes from across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. The Paralympics further provided a hugely significant backdrop and boost for disabled artists, allowing all to acknowledge some of the contributions people with disabilities make to our cultural lives.[16]

12. Some 800 paid performers and stage managers were engaged, together with a further 10,000 volunteers.[17] Trade unions have highlighted the importance of recognising music and entertainment as legitimate, paid, careers as one factor that will influence the sustainability of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.[18] Both the ceremonies and the London 2012 Festival—a cultural programme bigger than the Festival of Britain— showcased the UK creative industries across genres. The 12-week London 2012 Festival was the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad which began with a nationwide series of events in 2008. An assessment has been completed by the University of Liverpool: among the many opportunities identified as arising from the successes of the Cultural Olympiad are the further development of cultural tourism, particularly in the context of VisitBritain's work, the GREAT campaign, and the new partnership between Arts Council England and VisitEngland.[19]

13. The UK Government provides financial support to independent television producers, among others, to help them access markets in the form of grants from UK Trade & Investment, and Brazil, the next Olympic host, is a particularly important market.[20] British architects are winning contracts for work on venues for the Rio Olympics and Lord Green, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, has reportedly stated that there have already been 160 missions to Brazil.[21] In written evidence, the DCMS informed us of the establishment by UKTI of a new creative industries Sector Advisory Group and an executive delivery group to lead work in promoting businesses overseas.[22] The written evidence goes on: "The success of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games has focused the world's attention on the UK's creativity. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) plan to build on this by helping UK companies, including those involved in the delivery of the London Games, to access opportunities in key markets which will be hosting major international events in the next few years."[23] We believe that the ambitions of UKTI and the Government more generally should extend even wider than this to showcase the United Kingdom's unique strengths throughout the creative and cultural sectors.

14. We welcome the efforts of UKTI to promote the UK creative industries overseas and believe international trade missions should contain wide cultural representation. The greatest effort should continue to be directed towards ensuring that UK creative talent and businesses are assiduously promoted not only by UKTI but in all work to promote British business overseas.

15. The spectacular success of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics owed much to the efforts and ingenuity of the British entertainment technology industry. The trade association, PLASA (Professional Lighting and Sound Association), gave written evidence containing case studies of the impressive special effects provided by two of the companies involved.[24] These special effects ranged from the fiery appearance of the iconic Olympic rings in the Opening Ceremony, to the 70,500 LED[25] Tablets placed at every seat to integrate the audience into the projection element of the shows.[26] In drawing attention to this, we pay tribute to all the UK companies who supplied the professional audio, audiovisual, lighting, projection, staging, special effects and related services. This links to a specific concern PLASA has about developing the Olympic legacy: London 2012 suppliers were required to sign supply agreements which included No Marketing Rights clauses, preventing them from proactively talking about or marketing their involvement in the London 2012 Games.[27] PLASA told us: "The Olympic No Marketing Rights Protocol has prevented each of the companies involved from being able to proudly publicise their involvement in London 2012. PLASA is calling on the Government, LOCOG[28] and BOA[29] to urgently lift the marketing restriction, to allow British companies to publicise their work at London 2012."[30]

16. Businesses that have successfully delivered goods and services to the Olympic and Paralympic Games can apply to the BOA for a licence under a supplier recognition scheme.[31] This is the first time that No Marketing Rights restrictions have been relaxed in this way.[32] However, PLASA have told us that this has not provided an adequate remedy.[33] Whole categories of business (such as audio, video and audio-visual equipment) are excluded from this scheme to protect, indefinitely, the rights of Olympic TOP[34] sponsors.[35] The British Olympic Association told us that, in developing the Supplier Recognition Scheme, they and the International Olympic Committee "had to strike a balance between supporting the interests of London 2012 suppliers and our responsibility to ensure we do not infringe upon the rights of worldwide Olympic sponsors, whose long term support is essential to the future of the Olympic movement."[36] By way of contrast, Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, told us that people can publicise their involvement in the Cultural Olympiad.[37]

17. The excessive constraints imposed by the Olympic No Marketing Rights Protocol and the inadequacy of the Supplier Recognition Scheme mean that the benefits from the participation of UK businesses in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are not being properly realised. This deeply disappointing state of affairs endangers the economic legacy that British companies in the creative and allied sectors have a legitimate right to benefit from. It reflects badly on the wider Olympic movement that, in other contexts, is all too ready to celebrate individual and collective achievement.

18. We recommend that the Government review, as a matter of urgency, whether the supplier recognition scheme can be improved to meet the objective of allowing British firms to promote their contributions to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. This is all the more pressing as firms throughout the UK seek to gain contracts for the next games in Rio de Janeiro.

15   Ev w60-62. Ev 224-230, Ev 283-287, Ev 299-304 Back

16   Q 134 Back

17   Ev w4 (Equity) Back

18   Ev w4-7 (Equity); Ev w7-11 (Musicians' Union) Back

19   London 2012: Cultural Olympiad Evaluation, University of Liverpool, April 2013 Back

20   Ev 226 Back

21   'London 2012 was a shop window for the companies that staged it', Financial Times, 11 June 2013 Back

22   Ev 199 (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) Back

23   Ibid.  Back

24   Ev 355-357 (PLASA) Back

25   Light emitting diode Back

26   Ev 355 (PLASA) Back

27   Ev w198-200 (British Olympic Association) Back

28   London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Back

29   British Olympic Association Back

30   Ev 355 (PLASA) Back

31   Q 837 Back

32   Ev w198 (British Olympic Association) Back

33   Qq 734-739, 752-759; Ev 363 (PLASA) Back

34   The Olympic Partner Back

35  Back

36   Ev w198 (British Olympic Association) Back

37   Q 135 Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2013
Prepared 26 September 2013