By David Owen

london 2012 stadium 051211December 5 - The British Parliament's public spending watchdog has pronounced London 2012 a success, while reserving judgement on arrangements for delivering the much-trumpeted Olympic and Paralympic legacy.

A new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) states that "by any reasonable measure" the Games were a success; what is more, "they have delivered value for money".

However, the watchdog found it "difficult to pin down precisely what the delivery bodies intend to deliver in terms of legacy benefits" and cautions that "strong leadership will be required to deliver the longer term benefits on which basis the public spending was justified".

The report outlines new arrangements being put in place, whereby the Cabinet Office is responsible for "coordinating and assuring delivery of the legacy", while Prime Minister David Cameron chairs a Cabinet Committee to "oversee delivery" and Culture Secretary Maria Miller "remains the lead Minister".

However, it states "the effectiveness of the new arrangements remains to be seen", adding: "Numerous individual organisations are delivering aspects of the legacy and...coordination of this activity remains a challenge."

With what anyone familiar with the G4S fiasco will recognise as a Whitehall-esque penchant for understatement, the report notes that the "planning for venue security at the Games did not go smoothly".

It goes on: "The 2007 public sector funding package contained no provision for venue security until 2010 and has since had to cover costs of over £500 million ($805 million/€616 million).

"This was only possible because contingency funds had become available..."

The NAO acknowledges, however, that, "When it became clear that G4S could not provide the full number of venue security guards required, effective contingency plans were implemented."

g4sThe report admits the planning for venue security at London 2012 "did not go smoothly"

The report also includes interesting detail on what those contingency plans entailed, stating: "The Ministry of Defence has told us that it provided 135,000 additional days of military personnel time, at an estimated cost of £36 million ($58 million/€44 million).

"The Home Office told us that the police service provided some 12,000 additional police shifts at an estimated cost of £6 million ($10 million/€7 million)."

According to the NAO, "G4S has confirmed that it will meet the additional costs relating to deployment of increased military and police personnel."

The report states that London 2012 "told us that it paid G4S £90 million ($145 million/€111 million) on the contract before the Games began but that, in light of G4S's actual performance, it has made no further payments pending settlement negotiations".

In other points of interest, the report notes that London 2012 has put the cost of the much-praised Games ceremonies at £110 million ($177 million/€136 million).

It confirms that while London 2012 did well on sponsorship and ticket sales, it "fell short of its target for digital media sales (mainly advertising on its website) and sale of merchandising".

While London 2012 is due to wind up next year, it first needs to close 1,300 contracts.

The report can be accessed pdfhere.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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