The Evening Standard

The government’s legacy plans for the 2012 Games are at risk according to a confidential government report.

The document urges ministers to take action by the end of May to ensure the Government’s pledge of creating a more sporting nation as a result of hosting the London Olympics is fulfilled. Handed to ministers last month, it pinpoints weaknesses in the legacy project ranging from nervousness over budgets, poor communications of goals and a turf war between the Government and Olympics chiefs over what the legacy y targets are and who is responsible for targets.

It warns the government that the answer does not lie in a “rash” of new initiatives but to ensure “a few things are well done”.

The report says the Government’s sports legacy delivery board (since renamed the sports steering group) suffered from “paralysis by analysis” and was “introspective”, “reactive” and “defensive”.

Infighting among sports bodies and top officials was “debilitating” and caused by mutual “distrust”, it added.

The report delivers a stark reminder to Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell that the 2012 legacy remains a principal weakness. The Government’s pledge is to get two million more Britons playing sport by 2012 but the report warns against setting up “externally imposed targets”

The Office of Government Commerce, carried out the “Starting Gate” review and based its findings on interviews with former Olympians including Sir Steve Redgrave, sports quangos and the governing bodies of swimming, cycling and rowing.

The report said: “There is a gap, a lack of visibility round the work being done on the ground to deliver the strategy and therefore a natural level of concern and perception that little is being done and that the legacy is at risk.

“At the top and the centre too much time is being diverted into managing organisation friction… and nervously defending budgets.”

Although the report does not name individuals, it is thought Paul Bolt, the head Olympic legacy civil servant at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has clashed with the British Olympic Association, which represents the 26 governing bodies of Olympic sport.

The only group to emerge with credit in the report is the Mayor’s Office for what it calls its well presented legacy plans which the public can understand.

A DCMS statement said: “We are absolutely clear about the legacy we want from the 2012 Games – many more people playing sport – and how we will make this happen. We have already achieved a great deal, with record investment producing results. Our priority now is to make sure that we do even better. That is why we commissioned an internal review of the progress made so far. We are working together constructively with all the bodies involved in the legacy from the Games, to deliver a clear strategy to get the nation more active.”


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