Olympic stakeholders

I attended the International Congress for Project, Programme and Risk Management on Wednesday and Thursday last week and was able to listen to some very interesting speakers. Liz Underhill, Programme Manager of the London Olympics Programme, spoke on the first day about the progress made in planning for the Games. Her role in managing this large programme is what struck me the most.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, at the government level, has established a Government Olympic Executive. Tessa Jowell serves as Minister for the Olympics & Paralympics.
The London Organising Committee is responsible for preparation and staging, broadcasting and services sales. This Committee will have around 100,000 members, 70% of which will be volunteers and contractors. This group is funded through the IOC. They also have a role to play and a seat in the board.
The current sponsors, EDF, Lloyds TSB and Adidas, expect to have a say in how the programme is run. Their needs must be considered in order to maximize sponsorship.
The Olympic Delivery Authority is responsible for developing the Olympic Park and preparing the site. Given that the 250,000-hectare-site in East London is filled with waterways, this means that we will need to build a lot more bridges, as well as utilities and infrastructure. This body is funded by the Lottery and council tax. It also receives funding from the Mayor’s capital investments programme, the Exchequer, and the Mayor’s Capital Investment Programme. This is the largest urban park development in 150-years, so everyone wants to make sure they get the land right.
The Greater London Authority also has an interest in the site: they are the strategic regional authority for London, and are comprised of the Mayor and the London Assembly. Add to that Transport for London, Metropolitan Police, and the London Fire Brigade. None of these are’responsible’ for either the Olympics or the redevelopment, but all of them need to be involved at some level.
The London Development Agency actually owns the land. This adds to the complexity. This group will be looking at the best use of the Park and Village during the Olympics. However, they are also responsible to own the legacy to ensure London doesn’t end up with a huge white elephant development to its east.
The sports side is another. The British Paralympic Association and British Olympic Association were also heavily involved in defining the areas and facilities that would be used by the athletes.
With the Mayoral elections approaching, Ken Livingstone may not make it to the end of the development. There may also be other political changes over the next four years. It’s a complex group of stakeholders, each with their own needs and political agendas, creating a complicated delivery structure. It’s actually the largest single peace-time program since WW2.
All of these players have agreed to a common vision, which may not be so amazing. Although they are all working towards the same goal, I would not have preferred to be the facilitator responsible for achieving agreement on their vision statement.
“To host an inspiring, safe, inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games that leaves a lasting legacy for London and the UK.”
We’ll have the opportunity to see if they are successful.

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