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Olympic spend on consultants defended

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) and the HVCA have defended the Government’s decision to spend £100 million on services delivered by three engineering consultancies – Ove Arup, Atkins and EDAW – in preparation for the Olympic Games.


The massive spend was revealed by Tessa Jowell, minister of state for the Olympics, in a written answer to Parliament earlier this week. “…I stated that £50,494,000 had been spent on consultancies providing core services by the Olympic Delivery Authority in 2006-07,” she wrote.


“In the financial year 2007-08, to date, a further £94,272,290 has been spent on similar work, central to the delivery of facilities and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This reflects the pace of the project.


“Around £100 million of the total figure relates to contracts with three companies (EDAW, Ove Arup and Atkins) which have been integral in the start-up and development of the ODA, and in delivering the key milestones around planning and preparing the park to enable the programme to be on track and hitting milestones. They have been important partners in the delivery programme.”


Defending the spend an ACE spokesperson said: “Tessa Jowell’s reply does refer to a lot of start up costs and given the scale of the project and its overall £9.3 billion costs I don’t consider this figure to be overly excessive.


“In the abstract this figure may look huge but this is an enormous project. This is also a significant project with significant benefits and these services have to be paid for.”


John Miller, HVCA president, concurred. “What you want is value for money. You don’t want to buy on price. What comes out in the press is that a spend is too expensive, but you have to consider whether the budget right for the project in hand.”