U.K. Government Watchdog Group Hails London Games As Good Value For Money
The U.K. government's spending watchdog has “hailed” the $14.5B of public money spent on the London Games “as good value, but said strong leadership is needed if promised legacy benefits are to be realized,” according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The National Audit Office said, "By any reasonable measure the Games were a success, and the big picture is that they have delivered value for money." The NAO report hailed Olympic Creative Dir Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony “as a great success.” The report said that the “final bill for the ceremonies, including money allocated to the separate unit formed to cover transport, catering and logistics,” was $177M. It found that the final investment in the Games involved around $1.6B of operational costs, encompassing $827M “for venue security, that were not included" in the original '07 $15B public sector spending package. The NAO highlighted the “lack of planning on venue security … as the only example of poor forward planning” (GUARDIAN, 12/5). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported "the NAO found fault with an initial underestimate of how much public money was needed, and the failure of private contractor G4S to supply enough security guards, which meant British troops had to be drafted in just before the Olympics." However, its report was "generally positive." The NAO said, "Crucially, the Games passed off without major transport disruption or security incident. The scale of the construction program and the fact that it was completed on time and within budget is impressive" (REUTERS, 12/5).