How many more times….?

Shaun McCarthy

March 20, 2013   |   Posted by Shaun McCarthy

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This is the end. After seven years, 21 assurance reports, 235 recommendations (of which only 9 were recorded as not achieved), 58,000 unique visitors to our website and the hard work of too many people to mention today, the Commission publishes its final report.

Our last report was always going to look a bit different. Inspired by our longest serving Commissioner, Dr Robin Stott, we have always maintained the mantra “there is no such thing as a sustainable Games – unless we can demonstrate in some way that the wider influence of the Games has compensated for the resources used”. Our last piece of work has explored this question and broadly concluded that this has also been a success. Of course it is not possible to do this to accounting accuracy and in many ways it is a bit too early to tell, but we can see emerging evidence that London 2012 is starting to make a difference to the sustainability agenda.

In construction, event management, catering and waste sectors we can find examples of good practice inspired or informed by London 2012. Not just in the UK but elsewhere in the world too. In fact in some cases there is more evidence outside the UK than within. This is aided greatly by the learning legacy material developed by the ODA and LOCOG, an idea originally suggested by another of our Commissioners, Professor Stuart Green.

Naturally, there is more to do. In the construction industry we can see mega-projects adopting ODA-esque strategies but less evidence in medium or small sized projects. Despite LOCOG’s best efforts the ethical standards of sponsors and their supply chains need greater transparency. I welcome the initiative from the Institute of Human Rights and Business to tackle this and I plan to make a personal contribution after the Commission has closed.

The existence of the Commission was a bold experiment too. It had never been done before, was it a success and should it be done again? To explore this we commissioned an independent review of our work. This report concludes that the Commission has been a success, offered excellent value for money and added value to the organisations receiving the assurance and most of their wider stakeholders. It recommends that the model should be replicated and suggests some improvements based on things that did not go as well as they should have. We have found some evidence of similar models used since the Commission was established in Australia, Abu Dhabi and in a global corporation but nothing in the UK public sector where it all began. Our recommendation that the London Legacy Development Corporation be subject to assurance for legacy is “no longer supported”. Is this symptomatic of the “British Disease”? Invent something good, lose momentum, let the rest of the world do it better than you, sit at home and complain about it. Like football for example…

When we first started the Commission we were pioneering. That was in 2005, by 2013 it is great to see big organisations around the world adopting the model. How many more times will you see something like the Commission in the UK? Only time will tell.

Shaun McCarthy

March 2013

One Response to How many more times….?

  1. Jane says:

    Congratulations to all involved.