According to this report, the London Olympic Delivery Authority has been forcing contractors to sign ‘draconian’ deals, essentially barring them from discussing conditions, progress, costs (including environmental and health and safety costs) or anything else of interest about the development of the Olympic site in east London for six whole years.
The contracts certainly seems extreme, even paranoid, especially when one gets to this part: ‘For the purpose of investigating any breach or threatened or possible breach, the company will allow the ODA direct access upon demand to any of its premises or information which may…contain confidential information or any communications with any third parties in respect of confidential information.’
This hardly seems standard practice, does it? In fact, it seems deliberately designed to frighten any potential whistleblowers. But surely, considering the ODA’s ‘commitment to transparency’, there should be no fear of whistleblowing in the first place?
There’s a real problem here, not just with how those in charge of delivering the Olympic Games are acting towards others, but in how they are presenting themselves, and perhaps even in how they perceive themselves: I don’t think London’s hosting of the games was ever quite as unpopular as some liked to make out, and the success of Britain’s cyclists and others in Beijing certainly gave the idea of the Olympics as a whole a boost. But reports like this once again make the organisers look as they’ve got something to hide, and make it look as if they themselves are not confident in arguing the case for the benefits the Olympics could bring, in spite of the costs and upheaval.
This behaviour can only alienate Londoners from the games. And an Olympic Games without the support of the host city’s citizens is not going to work, no matter how much money you throw at it.