Saturday, October 18, 2008

Olympic budget swollen by consultants and bean-counters

New research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed the enormous number of staff currently being employed across Government to administer the Olympic project.

Answers to Parliamentary Questions by Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster show that 11 Whitehall departments and 14 Government agencies employ staff dedicated to the Games, resulting in almost 1,000 people overseeing the Olympic project.

The research revealed:
· 800 dedicated 2012 workers paid for out of public funds, including 126 from Whitehall departments, 237 from government agencies and a further 212 employed by the Olympic Delivery Authority
· The Government Olympic Executive has now grown to 72 members of staff with an annual budget of £4.7m
· The Olympic Security Directorate has grown to 111 members of staff
· The London Development Agency has 88 staff working on the Olympic legacy
· The self-funding organising committee, Locog, has 175 staff, bringing the total to nearly 1,000

Commenting, Don Foster said:
"These numbers are staggering. To have so many overseeing preparations for the Games seems totally over the top. This is before we’ve taken into account the work contracted out to private consultants.

"With parliamentarians, the London Assembly, DCMS, Select Committees and other independent bodies already keeping a very close eye on the Olympic project, I struggle to believe it’s really necessary for eleven other Government departments to have full-time staff working exclusively on the Olympics.

"I dread to think what the collective cost of all these employees is to the taxpayer. With staffing levels expected to rise even further between now and 2012, we must urgently reassess whether these costs are justified."

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