London Olympic bid team will heed Athens' lessons

11 December 2003
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11 December 2003 | David Arminas

Purchasers for a 2012 London Olympics will need excellent commercial skills and the ability to set up good partnerships.

James Bulley, director of infrastructure at London 2012, the company set up to make the Olympic bid, said lessons had been learned from Athens, site of next year's games.

"Athens has different contractors working on different sites for the same material, such as concrete and steel supplies," he said. "UK purchasers focused on the one site around Stratford will get economies of scale, working more closely with fewer suppliers who are on one site only."

Dylan Owen, head of logistics for the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, who now advises suppliers to the Athens games, agreed with Bulley.

He told SM: "At Athens they have tendered into three geographic packages with separate suppliers. By not having a single tent supplier, no company will gain market value by calling itself the official Games tent supplier.

"For this so-called value-in-kind designation at Manchester, we got a significant portion of their product for free."

Owen also worked on procurement for the 2000 Sydney Olympics with a team of 57 purchasers, a goods and services budget of £304 million and a logistics budget of £16 million (see Features, 27 January 2000).

If a London Olympics was financed through a public-private partnership, purchasers would need to know both public and private-sector procurement methods to ensure transparency of contracts, added Michael Ensor, an interim purchasing director who was the head of services procurement for London's Millennium Dome for three years.

"But private money from the City will want to see some type of value-for-money procurement with purchasers having a lot of commercial skills," he said.

London will know if it has been made a candidate city in May and the final choice for the Olympics will made by the International Olympic Committee in July 2005.


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