The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) celebrated its last Diversity Day before the start of the Games on Tuesday (6 March).
At an event held at ExCeL, LOCOG Chief Executive Paul Deighton was joined by Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Chair John Armitt, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes and members of the LOCOG Diversity Board including Tanni Grey-Thompson and John Amaechi.
Paul Deighton highlighted how LOCOG and London 2012 stakeholders are delivering on their promises during the bid to host the Games to ensure the London 2012 Games are as diverse and inclusive as possible. He focused on three key areas where the most impact could be made – within the workforce, supply chain and Games time service delivery. This reflects the work done by the ODA to encourage people to work on the construction of London 2012’s venues and infrastructure.
He announced that promises to recruit a local workforce were being fulfilled with over 500 members of LOCOG’s staff coming from the six Host Boroughs, a ratio of more than one in five. More than 325 people that were previously unemployed now work full-time at LOCOG, about one in eight of its workforce.
Since London won the bid, LOCOG has partnered with over 1,000 community organizations ranging from JobCentre Plus and the Host Borough job brokerages to the East London Mosque, Elevation Networks and the Stephen Lawrence Trust to highlight all employment opportunities. LOCOG also launched three dedicated recruitment programmes
-> access now for disabled people,
-> attitude over age for older and younger applicants and
-> action on inclusion for people from the BAME community.
Recruitment will continue to happen at a rate of 100 new employees joining per week and LOCOG is committed to ensuring that it employs as many local people as possible and also that it continues to recruit a diverse workforce.
There will also be around 100,000 contractors and recruitment for those positions is still underway. More than 130 recruitment events have now been held by our contractors supported by LOCOG’s employment and skills team, with around 6,400 residents from the six Host Boroughs having received job offers so far after attending the recruitment events – a conversion rate of 75 per cent. Overall, six Host Boroughs residents account for around half of the total job offers made and half of attendees. LOCOG has been working with Adecco, its recruitment services provider, to ensure that as many people as possible from the local communities and diversity strands are aware of the contractor opportunities.
LOCOG also announced that the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply has agreed to work with LOCOG to enhance their certification standard so that it covers diversity and inclusion more fully. This change means that businesses being assessed will need to demonstrate significantly improved performance in diversity and inclusion and will help leave a lasting legacy.
The Mayor’s Office is also investing £4 million to make the riverside walk along the South bank of the River Thames from Westminster to Tower Bridge more accessible. The project includes improvements to pavement layouts, better lighting and signage, increased seating and more access ramps and handrails at key locations including Bankside, the Southwark Cathedral quarter, Clink Street, the Globe theatre and Oxo Tower.
Partnering with the GLA, Direct Enquiries, the Nationwide Access Register, launched the Inclusive London website in March 2011. The website and app provide access information about hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions in London, enabling visitors and Londoners with access needs to better plan their London experience. A number of businesses have been reviewed by Direct Enquiries and now provide detailed access information. Over 35,000 businesses in London are now registered and the web site has received more than eight million hits since its launch.
The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has been working on a number of projects including working with bidders for its first neighbourhood Chobham Manor, to ensure 100 per cent lifetime (or easily adaptable) homes and 10 per cent wheelchair accessible homes and over 70 per cent of family so communities can stay together.
The OPLC has endured that 85 per cent of the workforce employed on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games come from diverse communities within the local area. It is developing a ‘Best Practice’ handbook for park employers on how to deliver diversity and inclusion.
It is also running programmes which promote integration between disabled and non-disabled young people such as the ‘All Ride’ programme with local social enterprise Bikeworks which works with disabled young people teaching them how to ride specially adapted bikes in schools.
As part of the £6.5bn invested to improve and expand the capacity and reliability of the transport network ahead of the Games, hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent in accessibility improvements by Transport for London. These include new lifts, trains, platform humps, wide aisle gates, tactile paving, audio and visual displays among others. These together with the vast array of other accessible transport options, will ensure that passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility will be able to get to the Games and provide a lasting legacy for all Londoners.
Paul Deighton, LOCOG Chief Executive said: ‘London is probably the most diverse city in the world and we have always said that we want to reflect this diversity in all our work – whether in our staff, volunteers, businesses we work with or in fact anyone connected to the Games. We have been working very hard over the last seven years with our stakeholders and partners to ensure that everyone understands the importance of diversity and the value it brings. Long after the Games finish we want to leave a lasting legacy of a greater understanding of diversity and inclusion and I strongly believe that the work we’ve been doing will ensure this happens.’
ODA Chairman John Armitt said: ‘This initiative to create opportunities for everyone to get involved during the Games builds on the work the ODA has done around getting people into work during the construction of London 2012’s venues and infrastructure. A quarter of our workforce came from the Host Boroughs, while more than ten percent were previously unemployed. Our figures also show levels of employment for women and BAME workers exceeded the UK manual construction average.’
Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes said: ‘We can be proud that all the partners have worked so closely together to meet the Mayor's pledge to make London 2012 the most accessible and diverse Games ever. That partnership has ensured that many people from very different backgrounds benefit from this once in a life time opportunity.
‘From simple measures like ensuring jobs go to local people, to developing the unique Inclusive London website to help those with different accessibility needs enjoy the capital, we have set new standards for future host cities to follow.’
Home Office Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone said: ‘With the eyes of the world on the UK as we host the Olympic Games this summer it’s more important than ever that we ensure sport is open and welcoming to participants and spectators alike.
‘I applaud LOCOG for their work to ensure the games are as diverse and inclusive as possible. They were one of the first bodies to sign the Government’s Sport Charter to tackle abuse and discrimination in sport, particularly that faced by LGB&T people, when it launched last year. The message is the London 2012 Games are for everyone to enjoy.’
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: ‘I have always seen the Olympics as an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for East London. By the start of the games over 1,000 residents of Tower Hamlets will have been given priority access to apply for jobs on the Park. Offering employment opportunities for local people is a real demonstration of a Games that will leave a positive legacy for our borough.’
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