“The World in a City: Ensuring an Olympic Games for everyone through fair and accessible business.” London’s winning bid for the 2012 Olympics pitched the city’s multiculturalism and diversity as major strengths and promised to host the most accessible Games ever.
The diversity promise
The 2008 LOCOG Diversity and Inclusion Strategy emphasizes that diversity and inclusion must be “an intrinsic part of business life” to create a work culture where everyone feels welcome and respected. The LOCOG strategy incorporates these values into all aspects of its day-to-day business activities – from recruitment to communication, decision-making and procurement.
Critical to the LOCOG’s strategy is its Diversity and Inclusion Business Charter with its supplier promise: “We will be easy to do business with; we will be transparent, and will actively promote diversity and inclusion to everyone we do business with.” It follows in the footsteps of the Greater London Authority’s commitment to socially responsible procurement, a policy that Ken Livingstone called, “a significant opportunity to improve the quality of life of all Londoners through the way in which we buy our goods, works and services.”
All LOCOG’s contracts, tenders and business opportunities are posted on CompeteFor, an online marketplace where any business can register. The transparency and accessibility of LOCOG’s procurement process opens up the supply-chain, improving access for small and minority-run businesses. Over 25% of London’s businesses are BME-owned (Black, Minority, Ethnic people).
LOCOG actively promotes diversity among its suppliers by encouraging them to advertise sub-contracts on CompeteFor as well as checking every potential contractor for an equal opportunities policy. Suppliers are also asked to complete the“Diversity Works for London” (DWFL) online assessment which measures diversity and inclusion performance. DWFL is a Mayoral program that encourages and supports businesses to realize the benefits of London’s diversity. A suite of business support products helps companies to improve performance through the strategic management of diversity. LOCOG was an early adopter and the first organization to receive the Mayor’s “Diversity Works for London” Gold Standard in 2009.
In recruitment, LOCOG Personal Best training program provides opportunities to groups which are under-represented in the workforce, assisting them into long-term, sustainable jobs. Between April and December 2010, 1,164 people received employment support from Personal Best of which 47% were from ethnic minority backgrounds.
LOCOG’s Diversity and Inclusion Business Charter has been described as “a bold and potentially groundbreaking attempt to tackle the issue of diversity in the supply chain” by the Commission for a Sustainable London. By 2011 over 134,000 UK businesses were registered on CompeteFor; 38,683 were London-based, like the Asian-owned RedLine Bus Company from Bedford that is supplying vehicles for the Games. Of these 17.7% were from ethnic minority communities, 20.3% run by women, 1.7% run by owners with a disability and 2% by LGBT people.
LOCOG staff are enthusiastic in their support. One Human Resources employee said, “London can be very proud that those behind the scenes are as culturally diverse as the local communities that make this city so fantastic.”
LOCOG continues to work with partners in UK government and the Rio 2016 Team to lead the sports sector in implementing inclusion policies, “going for gold’ and a lasting legacy beyond 2012.
Cities of Migration:
The World in a City: The Olympic Diversity and Inclusion Strategy