CSL – our story so far

Shaun McCarthy

August 9, 2012   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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Flowers and the Orbit

It was several years ago, 2008 I think, when one of our Commissioners, Professor Stuart Green had a little rant about legacy. We spent a lot of time talking about the social and economic legacy of East London and the environmental standards of the developments but Stuart had an alternative angle on this subject. He advocated that there should also be a legacy of learning. He believes that one of the key flaws of the construction industry in which he specialises is its inability to share and acquire learning in a systematic way from project to project. He explained that London 2012 can make a real difference if we can break that mould. We went to discuss this with ODA Chairman John Armitt and after a few false starts the ODA learning legacy project http://learninglegacy.london2012.com/  was born. LOCOG plans a similar initiative but I suspect it will be on a much smaller scale than the comprehensive offering of the ODA.

Over the years we have spent a lot of time advocating others to share their learning but we have not really addressed our own. Delegations are in town from Rio, Sochi and Pyongyang, all future host cities and from Madrid,Istanbul and Tokyo, all competing to host the 2020 Games. I have met all of them as part of the IOC observer programme and have had separate meetings with Sochi and Rio representatives.Madrid are also interested in what we do. The Commission has created a whole new form of assurance as a result of London 2012 leaders having the courage to subject themselves to independent scrutiny and we have our own lessons to share. We believe our learning can apply to a variety of major projects, not just events. We assured Europe’s biggest construction project through the ODA and we will go on to assure the legacy until the Commission closes down in March 2013.

We will do more to evaluate our role and share our lessons after the Games but we have taken the opportunity to make a short video http://www.cslondon.org/ while all eyes are onLondon to try to honestly share our positive and negative lessons. The video covers the vision of a new form of assurance with interviews with people involved in developing that vision like Jonathon Porritt, Peter Head, Samantha Heath and others. It attempts to communicate the delicate balance between all parties and the importance of trust with the delivery bodies and wider stakeholders, including the example of what happens when this breaks down with candid contributions from our stakeholders and some Commissioners. We describe the professional service we provide and the importance of acting with integrity with contributions from some of our team and the commercial team from LOCOG including Commercial Director Chris Townsend. Finally we ask the question about replicating this type of work in future projects. All of our contributors think it should happen but will anybody have the courage to do it?

Shaun McCarthy

August 2012  

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