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Lord Glentoran: Before the noble Lord sits down, I have a technical question for him. Will an Act of Parliament be needed to close down the ODA?

Lord Davies of Oldham: It will be done in secondary legislation.

Lord Dixon-Smith: Will it be a positive or a negative order?

Lord Davies of Oldham: I will have to write to the noble Lord about that. I am not in the habit of writing extensive letters to Members of the Committee because they are so good at communicating outside the Chamber when the need occurs. We are absolutely clear that we do not need primary legislation of any significance or length to effect this wind-up. However, we are not certain about the nature of the order and I will write to Members of the Committee.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am grateful to the Minister. I feel like saying, with a certain amount of glee, "Gotcha". With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 43:


"THE LONDON ORGANISING COMMITTEE
Schedule (The London Organising Committee) (which makes provision about the London Organising Committee) shall have effect."

The noble Baroness said: If we had debated the Question whether Clause 9 shall stand part, we might well, in everybody's reading, have found the answer to that last question, but I could not read it fast enough.

I have tabled Amendment No. 65 to insert after Clause 9 a new clause which, in turn, will introduce a short new schedule. The schedule covers certain aspects of LOCOG, the London Olympic Games Organising Committee. I have referred in the amendment to the appointment of the chair; to freedom of information, following a formula used in respect of the ODA; and to the conduct of proceedings, using my own formula on openness, debated earlier this afternoon. I have tabled the
 
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amendments to be able to ask the Minister to clarify the question of appointments. I think we covered some of this on Tuesday.

I have not had an opportunity to look at this, but I do not recall that he confirmed, as I hoped would be the case, that Nolan principles will apply to appointments. This might be the opportunity to clarify that and to ask the Minister whether LOCOG will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. There is also the matter of openness, on which I might be able to anticipate his reply with a little less accuracy than I first did. I beg to move.

3.30 pm

Lord Davies of Oldham: I resist the amendment. I think it barks up the wrong tree entirely. I assure the noble Baroness that if I do not convince her of the strength of these arguments, I shall certainly be in a resistant pose throughout any consideration of the Bill. We will be involved in a conflict of perception, unless I can persuade her that the Government have got it right.

Let me be absolutely clear about what we have done and what LOCOG is. It is a company, limited by guarantee. The owners of the company are three key Olympic stakeholders: the Government, the GLA and the British Olympic Association. We are not prepared to consider turning LOCOG into some form of quasi-public body, which is the burden of the noble Baroness's intent. It is not a statutory body and we have no intention of it becoming one. It is a self-financing organisation that is a party to the host city contract and it is concerned with the organisation of the games, as is required by the International Olympic Committee. It is a commercially oriented organisation.

That was why, when Members of this Committee had the chance to explore the provisions on advertising and relations with the advertising industry, which we shall discuss later, and when the chairman of LOCOG, the noble Lord, Lord Coe, came to discuss those issues with us, we did not have the slightest doubt that he was talking in business terms about serious business. LOCOG has to do that. He was seeking to establish the basis on which, effectively, he would get guarantors from commercially minded organisations to provide very substantial finance for the preparations for the games. Members of the Committee had first-hand benefit of that, but everyone will know, through the press, the extent of the work being pursued energetically by the noble Lord, Lord Coe, and his colleagues in seeking to raise the vast resources necessary for the Olympics.

A body operating in those terms is different from the one that the noble Baroness conceives in her amendment. The arrangements for appointments, records, meetings and the publication of information are matters for that body to decide in conjunction with the three hugely significant stakeholders. They are not matters for this Bill. We do not support the proposal contained in the amendment that any appointment of the chair of LOCOG should be subject to the agreement of the Mayor. As with the ODA, it is right
 
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and proper that the Mayor should be consulted on appointments, but the ultimate decision-making power must rest with the Secretary of State, a key stakeholder.

A large amount of public money is at stake here for the ODA, as well as the private resources that it is raising. We are making the ODA a statutory body, accountable to Ministers and to Parliament, which is customary for a large, non-departmental public body. The Bill does not, and should not, delve into the detailed arrangements for the establishment of LOCOG. The ODA has public money and public responsibility. LOCOG, of course, operates within a different framework as a private company. That is why we have to conceive of those two bodies as being quite different in their organisation, in their purpose and in their lines of accountability. I consider the amendment a good try by the noble Baroness, but we are very resistant to changing the nature of LOCOG.

Baroness Hamwee: I thank the Minister for his reply. It is a serious business. Many other bodies that are not private undertake serious business on business terms. I do not believe that he has specifically referred to freedom of information. Am I to understand that the Freedom of Information Act will not apply to LOCOG?

Lord Davies of Oldham: The status of LOCOG in regard to freedom of information will be kept under review and considered again once this Bill passes into legislation and LOCOG fully settles down into its role in regard to the games, as provided by the host city contract. More generally, the Freedom of Information Act has been in place for a very limited time only, as the noble Baroness will know. The Government have to take stock of the requirements under the Act over a range of their activities. As LOCOG is such a new organisation, and this pattern is still bedding down, we are reserving our position to review LOCOG in relation to the Freedom of Information Act.

I realise that that is a far-from-satisfactory answer to the noble Baroness, but she will recognise that, on the Freedom of Information Act, not everything is easy. This is the second year of the Act and there are many challenges to which we must respond. At this point, we want to reserve our position on a new body such as LOCOG, which is fitting into a new structure under a unique provision to create a successful 2012 Olympics.

Lord Glentoran: I want to reinforce a couple of points. I agree with the line that I believe the Minister is taking. The Freedom of Information Act is an extremely serious situation for LOCOG. I am sure that LOCOG will be tied closely into commercial confidentiality problems and situations. It will need to have the total confidence of major multinational and international corporations and maybe even overseas corporations and foreign bodies. Considerable help will be needed to extract the sponsorship and funding necessary—I believe it is £750 million. I hesitate to use the word "protection", but it is the word on my lips.
 
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Knowing something of this game, to do what LOCOG has to do, it will have to win the confidence of such people, and it will have to look to government and demonstrate very competently and adequately to would-be players its confidentiality and its ability to keep the business affairs of those companies private.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to the noble Lord who, from his vast experience, has expressed his position very clearly. I recognise that the noble Baroness might regard that as a somewhat unholy alliance. I take on board what the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, has said and I indicate to the noble Baroness that a substantial body of opinion recognises this to be a very difficult and challenging issue. Therefore, I hope she will not press the matter too far.


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