COMMONS

London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games: post-Games review

05 December 2012

A statement from The Rt Hon. Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts:

The Games were a fantastic triumph for London, and for the whole country. Our Olympic and Paralympic teams performed brilliantly and surpassed their medals targets, the opening and closing ceremonies attracted worldwide acclaim and the tens of thousands of volunteers brought to life the values of Britain and the spirit of the Olympic movement.

For the most part, the Games ran extremely smoothly and without incident. The exception was the unacceptable failure by G4S to provide the required number of security guards. G4S failed to notify organizers until the eleventh hour that it could not fulfill its contract, leading to a last minute scramble where Army and Police officers had to be drafted in to fill the gap. Given that G4S has accepted full responsibility for the fiasco, my committee will want officials to update us on how and when they will reach a final settlement with G4S that ensures the taxpayer is fully compensated for the additional costs caused by the debacle.

In my view, G4S’s performance must call into question whether they are a fit company to secure other government contracts to deliver public services.

On current assumptions, it looks as if the final cost to the Public Sector Funding Package will come in some £377 million below the £9,298 million budget. The eyes of the world have now moved on from London to Rio, but my committee will want to see that the Department keeps a tight grip on every last bit of expenditure.

The momentum that the Games generated must now be harnessed by government to deliver the promised legacy. The government needs to capitalize on the events of the summer to inspire wider participation in sport, regenerate east London and trigger economic growth. The Cabinet Office must provide firm leadership and oversight of the many organisations charged with these important tasks. The project management and contracting skills gained by officials must now be deployed elsewhere in the civil service where these skills have often been found wanting in the past.

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