Keeping the flame alive: the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy - Select Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Contents



411.  The delivery of the 2012 legacy is a major undertaking, cutting across a number of Government departments and a range of departmental bodies and regional and local authorities. A diverse range of organisations and individuals are therefore involved in this programme, giving rise to a complex network of relationships and delivery arrangements.

412.  This complexity can, to an extent, be understood, and mirrors some of the complex arrangements that were in place for the delivery of the Games themselves. Unlike the Games, however, there is no firm deadline to focus minds and concentrate delivery, meaning that the impetus for joint working and cooperation is perhaps not as strong.

413.  Throughout our inquiry we asked witnesses to consider the efficacy of governance and delivery arrangements, from the national level down to the local level. We believe that these arrangements will have an impact on the extent to which the UK is able to secure the maximum possible legacy from the Games.

Continuity and cooperation

414.  We have previously described the long-term nature of the legacy programme, and the need for sustained commitment and vision (see paragraph 263). In order to deliver this long-term vision, some element of cross-party working and cooperation will be required.

415.  Lord Mawson told us how previous regeneration initiatives in east London had floundered as a result of political change:

    "What we need to deliver this legacy over the next 20 to 25 years is continuity, and understanding within government—cross-party, really—of the scale of the task and the long-term job. The history of poverty in the area tends to be government sometimes passing through with the latest policy and Ministers staying around for six months but not staying with us, because some of these things take a decade to really build and change".[208]

416.  Cross-party consensus regarding the hosting of the Games was in evidence as early as 2004, in a House of Lords debate.[209] Cross-party cooperation of this nature, and long-term, sustained, commitment, was essential to the successful delivery of London 2012. Dame Tessa Jowell told us that "all the substantial decisions about the Olympics were negotiated on a cross-party basis".[210] Dame Tessa went on to explain, with particular regard to sport, that:

    "You have to get commitment to the long-term, and the funding has to be long-term, and therefore the programme is sustainable … It worked for the Olympics; we had a Cabinet Committee that oversaw the budget for the Olympics and some of the aspects of service delivery … You have to have that kind of embedded structure in order to create the resilience of Ministers, who will come and go".[211]

417.  Strong and sustained cross-party cooperation was essential to the successful preparations for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games; a similar degree of cross-party cooperation is required if we are to deliver a coherent legacy. Within Government, cross-cutting decision making, rather than silo working, is required. Structures for delivering this coordination must be embedded for the long-term.

The need for Government leadership

418.  Within Government, the Cabinet Office is the Department responsible for general oversight and coordination of the legacy programme. Delivery responsibility for the different aspects of the legacy programme rests with the individual Departments concerned.

419.  In its recent report, Sport and exercise science and medicine: building on the Olympic legacy to improve the nation's health, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee was "surprised, and disappointed, by the apparent lack of joined-up thinking in Government about the Olympic health legacy" and called for the Government to "take a strong, joined-up approach to promoting the health benefits of exercise and physical activity".[212]

420.  DCMS has oversight of the sports legacy, the culture legacy, the tourist legacy and the retrofit and sale of the Olympic Village. The Cabinet Office has responsibility for volunteering. UKTI has responsibility for coordinating economic growth ambitions from the Games, working with the FCO and BIS. DCLG funds the Greater London Authority and, through that, the LLDC, which is responsible for the post-Games transformation of the Olympic Park. The relevant Secretaries of State, along with the Mayor, are brought together through a Cabinet Committee, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport as Vice-Chair. We asked the Government to confirm how often the Cabinet Committee meets, and whether the Prime Minister regularly chairs it, but were not provided with the information.[213] The Mayor of London told us that the Committee meets on a quarterly basis.[214]

421.  The work of this Cabinet Committee is supported by a small team of seven staff, based within the Cabinet Office, known as the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Unit. The team includes secondees from DCMS, the FCO and the office of the Mayor of London. We were told that this team was established after the Games to provide support to Lord Coe in his role as the Prime Minister's Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Adviser, and to support the work of the Cabinet Committee. The Head of the Unit told us that: "Our role centrally is largely around co-ordination and making sure that Departments are working together, that the focus is where we think is appropriate, and that Lord Coe is able to feed in his views about the appropriateness of the particular aspects of legacy that we are working on".[215]

422.  We were told in evidence that "the coordination unit … reporting to Lord Coe is important but only if it has real clout with the departments it seeks to influence and strong backing within Government generally".[216] We are not certain that this is the case.

423.  In July the Guardian carried an article which stated that Lord Coe would be stepping down from his role as Legacy Ambassador by the end of 2013. He was reported as saying that he wanted the four main strands of legacy to be embedded in Government Departments by the end of the year.[217] We asked where leadership at the national level would come from if Lord Coe were to step down; we were told that this responsibility would lie with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.[218]

424.  We were told that coordination across Government is not always evident. One area where this was highlighted to us regarded the volunteering legacy. The NCVO complained that:

    "there was some delay among departments in sorting out what contribution they were going to make to volunteering and the legacy … Watching the discussions sometimes felt like a poker game, to see who was going to pick it up. It took a while for the Government to resolve some of these issues. Frankly, I am not sure it was all resolved … if you look at the Cabinet Office, Home Office and CMS websites, you might wonder which was the lead."[219]

425.  To put all this in context, ahead of London 2012, the Government Olympic Executive (GOE), based within DCMS, was responsible for coordinating public sector activity to deliver the Games. This body had over 60 staff, headed up by a Director-General. It had a lifetime cost of £52 million.[220] Whilst we are not equating the work of the GOE to the work needed to deliver the legacy, this does provide a useful comparison. The GOE was based within one department, reporting through to one Secretary of State, with a sizeable staff and a significant budget.

426.  The Cabinet Committee looks, on paper, to be a strong coordinating body composed of the right departments and non-governmental actors. It is concerning, however, that the Government would not confirm how frequently the Committee actually meets. The Committee has a huge and difficult task in trying to ensure a coherent approach to the legacy from the many organisations and authorities involved in delivering the Olympic and Paralympic legacy. This Committee must be capable of giving leadership to the legacy, and must be more than a theoretical body. Delivery of the legacy is every bit as important as delivery of the Games themselves. Given the public interest in the legacy of such a public event, we believe that the frequency of meetings and content of agendas should not be shrouded in secrecy.

427.  As such, the need for clear, strong leadership and ownership within Government is paramount. Such leadership needs to be supported with the appropriate resources to allow coordination of activity across a wide range of different bodies. We are not convinced that either the leadership, or the resources, are provided within the current structure. The arrangements for replacing the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Adviser, if he were to step down, do not seem clear to us. Likewise, we would question how well placed DCMS is to provide long-term coordination, across Government, of a legacy programme that requires substantive inputs from UKTI, FCO, DCLG, DH, DfE and a host of regional and local bodies.

428.  We recommend that one Government Minister, at Secretary of State level, should be responsible and accountable to Parliament for coordinating delivery of the legacy. This would provide clear, identifiable, national ownership of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy. (Recommendation 38)

Delivering the legacy outside London

429.  Within London the LLDC and the Mayor, as well as developments on and around the Park itself, should give the legacy a visible public profile, as well as providing some clarity of ownership. Outside London, ownership and delivery of the legacy is spread across the wide range of departments and agencies identified in paragraph 102. We have already discussed, in Chapter Seven, the imbalance of legacy benefits between London and the rest of the UK.

430.  Ahead of the Games, the decision was made to hand responsibility for planning the legacy within London to the Mayor, and to entrust responsibility for the legacy outside London to the Government Olympic Executive.[221] We were told that this lead to a fragmentation of responsibility, and difficulty in sustaining a coherent approach.[222]

431.  We received evidence to suggest that, post-Games, the legacy appeared to be focused upon London.[223] In Essex, which played host to the Olympic mountain biking events, the county council told us that:

    "It is very unclear as to governance arrangements for overall delivery of a post games legacy. Essex as a host county who have invested a lot of time and resources do feel that everything appears to be London centric … Essex would like to see clearer engagement with other areas outside London".

432.  In Weymouth and Portland, which hosted the Olympic sailing events, a similar picture was found. We were told that:

    "Despite the exporting of games time expertise and knowledge being apparently a top prioritymaking contact with bidding organisations in other countries via the UKTI has proved problematic"


    "The area has potential for tourism expansion and watersports and outdoor activity. Weymouth and Portland had fantastic television coverage in games time showing the locality, the Georgian seafront and Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. There is a huge opportunity for the area and the UK as a whole to benefit from edited sequences of this filming . . .but despite requests to Visit England and Visit Britain this has not been achieved, which is a huge missed opportunity".[224]

433.  These representations came from parts of the country which played host to events and, clearly, have seen some legacy benefits from investment in facilities and supporting infrastructure (see paragraph 254). The feeling that there is a lack of post-Games leadership of the legacy seems to us, however, to be symptomatic of a wider issue. It is clear to us that the legacy outside London does not enjoy the same identifiable leadership and ownership as it does inside London. This, in part, accounts for difficulties such as those detailed above.

434.  Outside London, it is not clear who is responsible for taking forward the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is leading to the perception—and reality, in some cases—that the legacy is 'London-centric'.

435.  We recommend that the Government give responsibility for delivering the legacy outside London to the designated Minister, with appropriate resources to support them in this role. The designated Minister should work with the devolved administrations, where appropriate, to secure ongoing cooperation and commitment to delivery of the legacy. (Recommendation 39)

Delivery of regeneration within East London

436.  We have discussed in Chapter Six the role of the LLDC, which is a Mayoral Development Corporation created under the Localism Act 2011. At that point we stated our belief that the office of the Mayor must provide a clear, long-term, vision for the regeneration of East London.

437.  When the LLDC was created in April 2012, the boundary was extended beyond the original boundary of the Olympic Park, taking in additional sites within each of the four surrounding boroughs. We were told that this was to promote the integration of the Park with the surrounding area.[225] There is a debate to be had about whether the area for which the LLDC is responsible should be extended further to promote integration. We recommend that consideration be given to the optimum extent of the LLDC boundary. (Recommendation 40)

438.  The LLDC acts as planning authority for the land within its boundary, including that which sits outside the original Park. It is in the process of developing its own local plan. The LLDC is also the landowner for large tracts of land within this area. The LLDC Planning Committee includes five representatives from the Host Boroughs, along with three LLDC Board members and four independent planning experts, appointed by the Mayor of London.

439.  We heard concerns that these arrangements might lead to a conflict of interest, or a democratic deficit.[226] The Chief Executive of the LLDC was familiar with these concerns:

    "Yes, that has been put forward; I have heard it before. As I say, we take representation from each of the host boroughs on our planning committee. They are represented there".[227]

440.  In spite of this representation, it was apparent to us that there were tensions between the LLDC and some of the host boroughs. The Leader of Waltham Forest Council told us:

    "We think the current structure is simply not up to the job. I did not go to the last LLDC meeting, and [Sir Robin Wales] told me that neither did any other Leader. Now, that speaks volumes".[228]

441.  Sir Robin Wales, the elected Mayor of Newham, told us that:

    "What is happening in planning is being done in my borough, by and large, and it is a separate entity. [Section] 106 deals are being entered into which will involve people in the future paying for the maintenance of it. Who will that be? That will be us, but we are not in. I do not think it works well … "[229]

442.  Whilst these views were not shared by all of the surrounding boroughs, they do give some cause for concern. Successful integration of the new developments on the Park into the wider surrounding communities will depend, in part, on strong joint working between the LLDC and the host boroughs. We are concerned about the impact that such tensions might have on the long-term success of these developments.

443.  Tensions between some of the host boroughs and the LLDC are a cause for concern. In setting out planning policy, making planning decisions and negotiating Section 106 agreements, the LLDC needs to ensure that it is working closely with the relevant local authority for the area concerned. The LLDC should examine its working practices and decision making structures in this regard, taking on board concerns raised by the host Boroughs. Strong joint working will be essential to developing and delivering a clear vision for the future of East London.

444.  The responsibility for managing venues and land within the Olympic Park does not rest solely with the LLDC. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) has a remit for promoting leisure, sport and recreation across a wide area that stretches from the northern part of the Olympic Park up into Hertfordshire and Essex. LVRPA will be responsible for managing 35% of the parkland within the Olympic Park, and will also manage the velopark and the Eton Manor hockey and Tennis Complex (in addition to the White Water Centre in Hertfordshire).

445.  We received evidence that questioned the reasoning behind having two organisations involved in managing and running the Park.[230] Lord Mawson, a member of the LLDC Board, told us that:

    "My independent view is that I have concerns about it, a bit, and I think there are challenges. We need to make sure that for the customer... it feels like one place and the quality is there. I think that the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority can do more in learning about entrepreneurial engagement with local communities … I think there are some challenges and we need to work at it."[231]

446.  We were also told, however, of the strong role that LVRPA had played in making plans for the velopark; these plans were already in existence in the late 1990s, before the decision was made to bid for the Games. Shaun Dawson, the Chief Executive of LVRPA, told us that working arrangements with the LLDC were strong.[232] Mr Dawson explained that the Park consisted of a diverse array of landowners and operators, of which the LVRPA was one, working under the overall stewardship of the LLDC.

447.  Dennis Hone told us that the LLDC and LVRPA worked effectively together and that:

    "when people come to the park, they can move seamlessly between the venues that are LLDC jurisdiction and those under Lee Valley's jurisdiction. No one when they come to the park will notice any boundaries between us and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority".[233]

448.  We were told more than once that the LLDC will be a "sunset organisation" and that its work would eventually come to an end, possibly in around 10 years time.[234] This will clearly have impacts for the relationship with the LVRPA and, likewise, for other partners of the LLDC, including the London Borough of Newham, who have a shared interest in the stadium. More fundamentally, we would question whether the work of the LLDC can be concluded within 10 years; the convergence aims of the Growth Boroughs, which have been backed by the Mayor, have a 20 year timeframe.

449.  We were told that the LLDC is a "sunset organisation", with a life-span of approximately ten years. We would question whether the LLDC can deliver against its remit within this timeframe; we were consistently told that this project was a long-term one, and believe that it will take longer than a decade to deliver.

450.  Regardless of the ultimate lifespan of the organisation, the fact that the LLDC will not last forever reinforces the need for balanced, detailed cooperation with the surrounding boroughs. These local authorities will inherit the communities created by the LLDC. The limited lifespan of the LLDC also reinforces the need for the office of the Mayor to provide long-term, overarching leadership and ownership for the legacy in East London.

451.  The division of management responsibilities between the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority makes coherence on the Olympic Park more difficult to achieve. We were reassured to hear of the strong working relationships that currently exist between the two organisations; it will be important to maintain this relationship over the long-term. Both organisations should give thought to how the relationship might evolve in future, particularly when the work of the LLDC comes to an end.

452.  Ultimate responsibility for the long-term, over-arching leadership and ownership for the legacy in East London must fall to the office of the Mayor.

453.  We recommend that this principle is accepted both by national Government, by the Greater London Authority and by the London Boroughs and that the office of the Mayor is given the necessary powers and authority to ensure that that legacy is delivered. (Recommendation 41)

208   Q 348 Back

209   HL Deb, 19 May 2004, cols 777-809 Back

210   Q 19 Back

211   Q 20 Back

212   Science and Technology Committee, Sport and exercise science and medicine: building on the Olympic legacy to improve the nation's health (1st Report, Session 2012-13, HL Paper 33). Back

213   Q 486 Back

214   Q 503 Back

215   Q 3 Back

216   Richard Sumray. Back

217 Back

218   Q 486 Back

219   Q 453 Back

220   Emma Boggis. Back

221   Richard Sumray. Back

222   IbidBack

223   Essex County Council. Back

224   Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. Back

225   The Government. Back

226   Waltham Forest Council. Back

227   Q 307 Back

228   Q 195 Back

229   IbidBack

230   Written evidence from Waltham Forest, Q 195 Back

231   Q 355 Back

232   Q 339 Back

233   Q 316 Back

234   Q 306 and Q494. Back

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