A government-commissioned report by Sir John Armitt looks at how UK business can maximise the benefits of the construction of the Games. One of his main recommendations was that the marketing restrictions applying to London 2012 suppliers are relaxed as soon as possible after the conclusion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The government responded that it was in talks with the British Olympic Authority, which wants to protect the interests of its own sponsors, but given that the focus was now on delivering the Games, talks will run into the autumn and the aim is to get a solution by the end of the year.
The Armitt report, called London 2012 – a global showcase for UK plc – makes clear that, so far, the benefits to suppliers have been limited.
Some 276 companies were involved in £6.9bn of contracts to help deliver the facilities for London 2012. While 68% said that being involved with the Games had enhanced their reputation, only 49% said that it had improved their finances, and only 43% said it had put them in a stronger position to win work on other sports projects.
However, Sir John Armitt remains convinced of the opportunities. He said: “The Olympic Park stands as a superb advertisement for UK plc. It is already enhancing the reputation of our country, and reminding everyone that we can deliver big projects – even set against a backdrop of economic downturn. The contribution of British businesses to this success has been huge. No-one else has this unique selling point. But it needs to be pressed home soon before the gold dust loses its shine.
“The next 12 to 18 months represent a crucial window of opportunity for UK businesses to capitalise on their involvement in the project, particularly in terms of securing work on other major sports events – a fast-growing sector that is creating many new opportunities. British companies now have precious experience that they can use to win business at home and abroad. They are already doing so in Sochi, host city of the next Winter Olympic Games, and Brazil, where the next football World Cup and summer Olympic Games will be staged. Further ahead, there are fresh opportunities in Korea and Qatar.”
Sir John Armitt’s key recommendations and the government’s response
1. PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
Government should adopt the principles of the procurement and programme management approach used by the ODA for public sector projects valued at over £10m – including recognising the benefits of a ‘balanced scorecard’ approach to procurement, incorporating other criteria like sustainability and health and safety, in addition to time, cost and quality.
Government agrees that the Olympic build project has been a major success and that procurements should be evaluated using a range of relevant criteria in addition to time, cost and quality. Government will be seeking to apply ODA best practice to other major public sector projects where possible, and is working with the ODA to develop and share the key principles that have underpinned their success, making them available to departments undertaking major projects.
2. PROMOTING BRITISH BUSINESS
UKTI should build on its existing and past work promoting British business achievements in delivering major sporting events - for instance by creating a small task force, drawing in the expertise including representatives of London 2012 contractors of all sizes, to target major overseas opportunities and work to ensure British companies can compete for, and win, contracts.
UKTI, in conjunction with industry, has developed a comprehensive strategy to maximise future opportunities on the back of the Games. UKTI will focus on markets in Russia, Brazil, Qatar and South Korea as part of its prioritisation of high value opportunities and projects. As a first step, the Global Sports Projects Team will host a major conference in the autumn for UK suppliers to London 2012 and other sports events to explore the opportunities, methods of undertaking business in priority markets and support that UKTI can provide.
3. SUPPORT FOR SMEs
Government and business organisations should explore new ways to ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises are fully aware of the support available when working overseas, through better promotion of existing sources of information about international assistance, and investigation of new channels to reach a wider audience.
UKTI offers British business of all sizes and from all parts of the UK access to its global network and expertise to help businesses win more of these high value opportunities that will help to deliver stronger economic recovery and long-term sustainable growth for the UK. As part of this, UKTI will hold over 50 regional events in the course of 2012, in conjunction with the British Business Club, to provide business support and market information for UK businesses wishing to access major project opportunities in overseas markets. UKTI’s regional teams across the UK offer bespoke advice and networking opportunities for SMEs.
4. COMPREHENSIVE MARKETING TOOL
A comprehensive marketing tool should be created to promote the success of UK plc, Government and its agencies, and individual companies, in building the venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Games.
UKTI has recently launched version 2 of Springboard to Success – a Suppliers Directory which showcases over 700 UK companies who have won contracts to supply major global projects including London 2012. Using the platform of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the GREAT campaign is designed to showcase the capabilities of UK plc and promote the UK as a destination for business, investment and tourism. It has now been adopted as a common identity by all international facing parts of HMG - FCO, UKTI, Visit Britain and the British Council – and is increasingly being used by Government departments and their agencies domestically.
Furthermore, UKTI's Global Sports Projects Team is currently exploring the feasibility of developing a multimedia interactive toolkit incorporating film, imagery, case studies and testimonials to tell the story of the delivery of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Utilising the best examples of creativity, innovation, sustainability and highlighting the achievements of the UK companies involved, this creative showcase will help to position the UK as a world leader in supplying and delivering global sporting events. The toolkit would be available to UKTI's commercial teams around the world as part of their wider promotion of the UK.
5. MARKETING RESTRICTIONS
Government should take urgent action to ensure that marketing restrictions applying to London 2012 suppliers are relaxed as soon as possible after the conclusion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The building of the Olympic Park and other Games venues for London 2012 has been a great success story for the UK. We understand and support the reasons why restrictions have been in place to protect the marketing exclusivity of London 2012 sponsors. Government, however, is committed to working with relevant partners, most notably the BOA and through them the IOC, to find a way to ensure that contractors and sub-contractors can seek a form of recognition of their superb contribution to the Games to support them in competing for new contract opportunities. DCMS is in discussion with the BOA and hopes to have a workable solution in place through which supplier companies can make reference to the work they have undertaken by the end of 2012. The discussions will run into the autumn given the immediate focus of both the Government and the BOA/BPA on delivering a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The CompeteFor network should be retained for all public sector projects, given fresh promotion and its database expanded.
The Government has engaged with the ODA to review possibilities of leveraging the CompeteFor product, following its successful use supporting procurement for the London 2012 supply chain. The Government Chief Procurement Officer’s view is that CompeteFor is a very useful product for any Department engaged in significant amounts of procurement where transparency in the supply chain is beneficial. The Government’s own recently-sourced solutions for Contracts Finder and the Government E-Market Place, which are being used across all central Departments, offer much of the functionality that CompeteFor provides. Nevertheless, CompeteFor will be promoted where appropriate. Work is currently underway within the GLA Group’s Responsible Procurement team (based in TfL) to create a sustainable business model for CompeteFor that will enable it to continue after the Games. In addition, future host nations are looking at the CompeteFor model as a vehicle for their own procurement opportunities.
7. ODA LEARNING LEGACY
The ODA’s Learning Legacy website should be continued after the Games and broadened to include other successful projects.
Responsibility for the Learning Legacy will transfer to the Major Projects Authority (MPA) in the Cabinet Office from 1 January 2013. The Cabinet Office will take over ownership of the Learning Legacy website and supplementary materials, as part of the MPA’s work to refresh the operating environment for public sector project delivery. Government will continue to support industry’s work to raise awareness of the Learning Legacy through dissemination events and workshops throughout 2012.
8. PROMOTING LEARNING OF UK MAJOR PROJECT SUCCESS
The Department for Education and examination bodies should encourage learning about successful British delivery of major projects like London 2012 in business, built environment, geography, and related courses.
The Government believes that schools and colleges are best placed to decide what curriculum best suits their pupils’ needs. Within that broad context it welcomes the report’s recommendation and recognises the role that examination bodies, schools and colleges can play in promoting education in this area. It is important that children and young people know about the wide range of career options available to them in these dynamic sectors. Following the passage of the Education Act 2011, schools will be subject to a new duty to secure independent and impartial careers guidance for their pupils, which covers the full range of options, including apprenticeships. The duty will come into effect in September and will apply to pupils in years 9-11. We are also consulting on an extension of the duty to apply to pupils in year 8 and students up to the age of 18 who are studying in schools and colleges.