Charter announced to help local businesses win Olympics contracts
Commission announces '2012 Charter' to help local businesses in East London win Olympics contracts
26 November 2008
New research published today by the Commission suggests the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has taken important steps to ensure East London's diverse small businesses benefit from the procurement of goods, facilities and services ahead of the 2012 games, but more action is needed if East London is to reap the full benefits.
The Commission also today announced that it will develop its own 2012 Charter. Working closely with businesses in the local community and the ODA, the Commission will develop a Charter that provides guidance for those sourcing suppliers from the local community and advice for small companies to help them through the procurement process.
The Commission's study investigated whether the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) procurement policies and practises are benefiting businesses within the five host boroughs (Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest) with a particular emphasis on companies owned by ethnic minority groups, women and disabled people.
The Commission's report found that the ODA has made significant attempts to increase the number of contracts won by smaller, local businesses and those run by ethnic minority groups, women, and disabled people.
Download the research report here(PDF)
Highlights include the CompeteFor website, set up by the London Business Network, which the ODA is using as the main vehicle to link small businesses with Olympics-related opportunities. According to the ODA, more than 42,000 businesses have now registered, 29,000 of whom have less than 50 staff. In addition to the website, the ODA has been running 'meet the buyer' sessions for local businesses.
However, the report indicated that there are still constraints that could limit the ability of these businesses to win contracts. These include the ability of small companies to dedicate time and resources to participating in the procurement process, and the fact that many lower value contracts are not directly with the ODA, but with other purchasers not bound by the same public-sector procurement rules on diversity.
The report found that to date most of the high value contracts issued have been large scale, and therefore unsuitable for most local businesses, 96 per cent of whom employ less than 50 people. However, the Commission's report notes that the Olympics are still in a relatively early stage of procurement and that most of the opportunities for small companies working in areas such as hospitality, catering, security will come closer to 2012 than 2008.
The Commission argues that efforts need to be made at this early stage to address the challenges highlighted by the report in order to ensure that a diverse range of companies are able to benefit.
The report recommends addressing issues, such as how to make local businesses more aware of upcoming contracts so that they can prepare properly, and reconsidering the short timescales for some suppliers to express an interest.
Patrick Diamond, Group Director of Policy at the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
'The 2012 Olympics have been promised as 'the Olympics for All' delivering a lasting legacy. We look forward to working with the ODA to ensure that between now and 2012 this becomes a reality for those working in hundreds of small companies in the five host boroughs.'
The ODA Head of Equality and Inclusion Loraine Martins said:
'This report recognises the ODA's efforts to open up business opportunities to small and diverse companies from across the UK and the challenges we face. We have created a level playing field and early signs are encouraging, with small companies making up the majority of over 800 companies already supplying the ODA. We look forward to working closely with the Commission as we roll out a programme of increased engagement with BAME businesses to help them compete for the bulk of opportunities which will come on stream over the next few years.'
For more information contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission Media Office on 02031170255, out of hours 07767272818.
Notes to Editors
* Procurement and Supplier Diversity in the 2012 Olympics, was written by David Smallbone, John Kitching, Rosemary Athayde and Mirela Xheneti of Kingston University's Small Business Research Centre.
The report investigates five major data sources: the ODA’s published procurement strategy, policies and practices, supplemented by interviews with ODA procurement and equality and diversity staff; secondary data on businesses in the five boroughs; interviews with business intermediaries in the five host boroughs; telephone interviews with first tier contractors; and focus groups/face-to-face interviews with business owners, including those owned by ethnic minorities, women and disabled people.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourage compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.