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- 03 December 2013 00:00
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Full investigation of London 2012 legacy was vital says Olympic and Paralympic Committee Chairman
Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee Chairman Lord Harris of Haringey says it was extremely important that his task force were appointed by the House of Lords to look into the strategic aspects of the London 2012 legacy.
Under the direction of Lord Harris, the Committee began taking evidence in June this year and published their highly anticipated full report last month – which stated that "many aspects of legacy are in danger of faltering”.
The report - titled ‘Keeping the flame alive: the Olympic and Paralympic legacy’ - made a number of key recommendations to Government in order to ensure the strongest possible legacy from the Games and Lord Harris feels the work of the Committee in terms of compiling the document has been vital.
"I think (establishing the Select Committee) was extremely important,” Lord Harris exclusively told Community Sport Network.
"My colleagues and I on the Committee have worked very hard over the last six months to compile what is a fully comprehensive report on the legacy issues surrounding the Olympics and Paralympics.
"My hope is that this report will now be very influential and that it will help persuade people to look at things in a fresh light.
"It has certainly been a very important exercise to pull all the various strands of the legacy together.
"Although there has been a focus on different aspects of the legacy in different places, I am not sure anyone has really looked across the piece as a whole in terms of all the different aspirations there were back when we bid for the Olympics and Paralympics.
"That has been a critical part of our work.”
One of the key recommendations in the report is that Olympic and Paralympic legacy responsibility must rest with one Minister in order to ensure clear ownership of legacy as a whole.
The obvious candidate in Government to take on the legacy responsibility appears to be Maria Miller given that she is Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
But while Lord Harris did not rule out the Culture Secretary taking on the key role – he said his Committee had not singled out a particular individual to fill the crucial position.
"It doesn’t necessarily have to be Maria Miller,” he said.
"We have not actually made any comment at all about individual personalities in our report.
"We are just saying that it should be a clear responsibility of one senior Minster.
"When we had our evidence session with Maria Miller, she actually took the legacy responsibly upon herself.
She said ‘I see it as my responsibility’.
"We’re not making any criticism of that; we are just saying that it must be designated.
"We actually had to ask the question to get that statement from Maria Miller.
"We would just like to see it made completely clear exactly which Cabinet Minister is responsible for these matters.
"They would then be clearly identifiable as being responsible and accountable to Parliament for coordinating the delivery of the legacy.”
Lord Harris has also vowed to ensure Government act suitably on the recommendations in the report in order to build the strongest possible legacy from the Games.
"Moving forwards, I will certainly be wanting to follow through what is happening as a result of the report,” he told Community Sport Network.
"The Government has undertaken to reply within two months of the publication of the report so we are now awaiting their full response to our recommendations.
"On a personal level, this is something I am committed to following up on not only over the next few months but in the years ahead given the huge importance of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy to the nation.”
To read the full Q&A with Lord Harris, Click Here