Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Olympic Chiefs to Bring in Experts to Curb Spending

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Olympic Chiefs to Bring in Experts to Curb Spending

Article excerpt


A MAJOR shake-up has been ordered of Tessa Jowell's team responsible for the Olympics, a confidential memo reveals.

Outside experts are to be drafted in to bring the 2012 finances under firm control, says the memo seen by the Evening Standard.

The overhaul is being seen as the Culture Secretary ' s response to criticism that her department is not on top of the complex management of Europe's biggest sporting construction project.

It will mean "fundamental changes", says the confidential memorandum written by her permanent secretary, Jonathan Stephens.

He sent it to key officials two days ago, just before a hard-hitting Commons committee report severely criticised the [pounds sterling]900 million leap in costs and the failure to identify VAT and other major costs earlier.

Some senior Whitehall officials currently handling the London Games will be redeployed and a beefed-up Government Olympics Executive, the body that advises ministers on Olympics issues, will adopt a more questioning and critical role over the delivery of the tournament.

Mr Stephens said the department can be proud of its achievements but needs to improve. "I am clear that we are now entering a phase where the challenges for DCMS in delivering the Olympics will both change and grow," he wrote.

"The Capability Review Team has confirmed my view that we need to make fundamental changes to meet these new demands."

Among the changes will be the recruitment from the commercial sector of a new managing director and a new financial director for the executive.

They will bring high-level commercial experience which is needed to make the department an "intelligent client" of the Olympics Delivery Authority - in other words, to keep the ODA on its toes.

Mr Stephens wrote: "This is a change in the skills we are looking for in the senior leadership team. …

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