Bruce Robertson, centre, praised the working relationship of Games partners ©CGF

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Coordination Commission chair Bruce Robertson has praised the "unprecedented" working relationship with partners, putting Birmingham 2022 on course to deliver fantastic opportunities.

Speaking at the end of a three-day visit to the English city, Robertson expressed confidence around Birmingham 2022's preparations so far.

The Canadian claimed there were certain areas where plans were more advanced than Gold Coast 2018, despite the shortened four-year build-up to the Commonwealth Games.

Robertson, who replaced fellow CGF vice-president Chris Jenkins as Coordination Commission chair prior to the visit, believes the strong working relationship between Games partners has contributed.

"The most positive thing I have seen is the working relationship between the partners," said Robertson, who previously chaired the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Coordination Commissions.

"This has been an exceptional experience over the past couple of days seeing the openness, transparency and collaborative working relationship between DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), Birmingham City Council, the West Midlands, the Organising Committee and the CGF.

"In terms of assessing options, making the best decisions for funding partners and finding the best legacy benefits.

"The approach is unprecedented in my experience.

"I think the underlying cause of that may be London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, not just within the organising committee having that experience base, but finding there are individuals within the Government entities who have had exposure to these types of projects.

"That experience I think has helped."

Robertson praised the Organising Committee, led by chairman John Crabtree and chief executive Ian Reid, for their work to date.

He stressed the next six months would be a key period, with three major construction projects due to begin.

The CGF vice-president said the organisation was comfortable with where Birmingham 2022's budget stands at this stage of the process, with procurements expected to increase over the next 18 months.

He reserved praise for the potential benefits for citizens in Birmingham and the West Midlands through the procurement process.

Companies seeking to secure contracts for Birmingham 2022 will need to demonstrate a social value component, which could lead to training and internship opportunities for local people in the region.

The Commonwealth Games Federation held meetings over three days with Birmingham 2022 ©CGF
The Commonwealth Games Federation held meetings over three days with Birmingham 2022 ©CGF

"It is a first for any Commonwealth Games that an organising committee and Government partners have included a provision in every procurement contract for a social value requirement, backed up by a charter.

"This outlines the areas where bidding firms will be rated on how well they bring proposals forward for social value, in particular for Birmingham and the West Midlands.

"When you think there are well over 100 procurement packages, the number of offers coming back from a social value perspective should bring significant value to the citizens of Birmingham and the West Midlands.

"Six months from now we will know more about what these firms are putting on the table, but the expectation is they will be putting forward some creative ideas, such as skills and internships which can drive the return on investment."

Around 70 per cent of the current Birmingham 2022 staff comes from the region, with Robertson expecting the figure to rise as the workforce grows as the countdown to the Games continues.

Robertson called on Birmingham 2022 to be more vocal over the potential benefits of the Games to local people.

"The Organising Committee and Government partners are far too modest; they are not getting the story out and telling their own story.

"There are a lot of good things to say already.

"I am encouraging them over the next six months, and definitely after Tokyo 2020, to tell of the benefits and the return on investment the Games will bring.

"I suspect over the next months you will start to see some of those stories being told.

"These Games will be a fantastic opportunity.

"Birmingham 2022 can be confident, not complacent; however, I believe the West Midlands has all the ingredients to host a truly memorable event that will leave a lasting legacy for the region and the wider Commonwealth."

Robertson was joined on the visit to Birmingham by fellow Coordination Commission members, CGF chief operating officer Darren Hall, Association of Summer Olympic International Federations executive director Andrew Ryan and Carole Forrest, director of governance and solicitor to the Council for Glasgow City.

CGF President Dame Louise Martin and chief executive David Grevemberg were among the organisation's management team present.

The Coordination Commission is set to return to Birmingham for a fourth visit in June.