England & Wales Culture, sport and tourism

Council workers deserve more credit for successful Olympics


The first part of the August MORI poll was released yesterday and focused on public reaction the the Olympics.

It asked who ‘deserves the most credit for the Olympics games being a success?

The athletes, unsurprisingly, come out on top with 66%, followed by the Games makers/volunteers (58%), Lord Coe and LOCOG (55%) and the Army (24%). The current government was only given credit by 3% of those asked (with the previous Labour government scoring 6%).

But praise is also due to local government, in particular to all the council workers. Research carried out by the LGiU has shown the enthusiasm, dedication and thousands of extra hours that local authorities have put into their Olympic duties.

Council officers from across the London Boroughs, as well as authorities hosting events in Surrey, Windsor and Weymouth, and all those who had the Olympic flame pass through their boundaries, adopted additional roles and responsibilities that varied from gathering intelligence about counterfeit Olympic goods, to increased food and health checks at restaurants and hotels, managing road closures, monitoring waste, not to mention all-nighters at Borough command and feeding data up to LOCOG – a case study from LB Barking & Dagenham is provided below. 

Key findings of the LGiU’s research include:

– The average number of extra hours being put in by council officers during the entire Olympic and Paralympic period is 50 hours.

– A majority of respondents rated the strength of Olympic fever in their Borough as eight out of ten or higher – confirming the Mayor of London’s theory that the the geiger meter of Olympic fever has indeed gone ‘zoinking’.

– As with the Olympics as a whole, the team effort being put in is producing a feel good factor. Over 80% of participants said they were very happy with the work they have been doing and how things have gone.

– Many council workers noted that cross and inter-organisational working had increased, and expressed hope these new relationships will continue to develop.

This shows the real team effort that councils have put in. From making sure the streets of the capital remain clean for tourists, to ensuring the safety of residents and tourists to enjoy the Olympics, council workers are the unsung heroes of the Games.

As Cllr Peter John, Leader of LB Southwark said “Southwark council officers have really risen to the challenge presented by the 2012 Olympics. Officers have pulled together to make sure our communities are kept safe whilst the Games progresses. London has to look its best with extra waste collections, and councils have a responsibility to monitor travel issues – especially in travel hotspots like London Bridge station. Keeping people safe whilst making sure everyone has the best possible time involves dedicated people doing more work. i am very proud of the contribution Southwark officers have made to the wider effort.”

Often in the background councils have stepped up to the challenge presented by the largest event in London’s history and they should be recognised for that.

Case study from LB Barking & Dagenham

Barking and Dagenham is one of the six Host Boroughs of the London 2012 Games and is the location of more Games Time Training Venues than any other London borough.

The Olympics required the borough’s traffic and transport teams to work hard on notifying residents and businesses about restrictions to roads, bus lanes and parking. As the borough also hosted the Olympic Flame on July 22nd, the team worked long hours to make sure the route of the Torch was completely clear of traffic and of any barriers.

The borough’s Arts and Culture teams have also put in herculean efforts to make sure that a programme of events linked to the Games has kept local residents and visitors entertained. Officers working in Leisure Services have made sure each and every one of the Training venues is ready for elite athletes to get ready to compete.

The borough’s Olympic Ambition Team has spearheaded much of the co-ordination across the authority, working with LOCOG and other partners such as business and voluntary sector partners to deliver a fantastic Olympic Games and a lasting legacy for Barking and Dagenham.

For more information from LBBD please contact Paul Bates on paul.bates@lbbd.gov.uk.

Photo credit: amsr_photography (CC licence)