Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport First Special Report


Appendix 1

  MEMORANDUM BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE

V. SPORT

Staging International Sporting Events

28. The Committee's most extensive sporting inquiry examined Government support for bids to stage and the staging of major sporting events in the United Kingdom. We found a compelling case for more concerted and co-ordinated Government support and recommended in May 1999 that:

  • the Government and national bodies take a more leading role in events in partnership with host local authorities;

  • the Government examine the case for additional Government funding for the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games; and

  • the Prime Minister designate a Minister for Events in the Cabinet Office with particular responsibility for the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and Wembley National Stadium.[56]

29. The Government responded on 8 September 1999. A Minister in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for the Manchester Commonwealth Games had been appointed in July 1999, but this was due to a personal initiative of the Prime Minister in response to our Report rather than any action by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.[57] We decided not to publish the Government's response. The reply was eventually published by the Government itself in a modified form in January 2000, but this document differed little in substance from the previous version.[58]

30. This year we examined one issue which had caused us concern in the earlier inquiry—the development of Wembley National Stadium and its preparedness for athletics in particular. The Report which we published in early March considered that the new Stadium was suitable to serve as the venue for the 2005 World Athletics Championships.[59] This recommendation was rejected by the Secretary of State on the day of the Report's publication. The Government published a full reply, extending that rejection to the Committee's other recommendations and conclusions,

later in March 2000.[60] We subsequently published the more positive response from Sport England and other related documents ourselves.[61]

31. The Committee has decided to conduct a follow-up inquiry in the New Year to examine the impact of our earlier Report on Staging International Sporting Events and developments since that Report.

The Future of Professional Rugby

32. Last year the Committee held a short inquiry to examine the difficulties faced by professional rugby, both League and Union. We concluded that the sustainability of professional rugby mattered because of its wider impact on participation in sport. We recommended the extension of best practice in rugby clubs' educational work to other sports and linkage of grants for facilities to community work and scrutiny of the financial viability of clubs.[62] The Committee received a positive reply from the Government and new memoranda from Sport England and the Department describe subsequent progress.[63]

VI. THE MILLENNIUM

33. The Committee has devoted five inquiries during the current Parliament to the on-going scrutiny of Millennium projects, including the Millennium Dome.[64] The following issues relating to the Millennium Dome were highlighted during our inquiries:

  • the paramount importance of the timely delivery of the transport infrastructure;

  • the particular difficulties and pressures for the project created by the unalterable deadline for opening;

  • the project's dependence upon innovative and attractive content and the slow pace at which this content was finalised and marketed;

  • the crucial role of an effective ticketing and marketing strategy;

  • the need for the New Millennium Experience Company to generate a sense of national involvement in and ownership of the project;

  • the importance of harnessing the regenerative benefits of the project for the area and the nation;

  • the need for effective planning for the long-term future of the Dome; and

  • the need for the highest standards of financial accountability for the project.

34. Some of the Committee's concerns have been justified by recent events. However, in other ways, the Committee has accepted that, despite its close scrutiny of the project and of Government responses, it failed to foresee some of the problems which have now become apparent. Most of the Committee's recommendations have been superseded by events and the Committee has not sought further information from the Government at the present time. Some issues remain outstanding and it is possible that the Committee will return to its consideration of the Dome in the course of 2001.

35. It should be emphasised that several of the Committee's inquiries were not confined to the Millennium Dome, but considered the impact of Millennium projects across the United Kingdom. There are some outstanding issues arising from this consideration, relating, for example, to the assessment of the regenerative impact of the Millennium Commission's capital programme, the financial sustainability of projects and arrangements for support of such projects when the Millennium Commission is dissolved.[65] The Government's most recent response does not provide definitive answers on these issues.[66] We may pursue some of these issues in the course of 2001.

VII. CONCLUSIONS

36. The Annex to this memorandum sets out the number of days between the publication of the Committee's Reports and the receipt of the Government's response. From this it will be apparent that the Government has not always adhered to the two month convention, though as a general rule, the Committee is more concerned with the substance than the timing of replies. The swiftest response we received was on Wembley National Stadium: the reply took 21 days and rejected all of our recommendations.

37. Of the 22 Government responses which we have received, 10 have been in the form of Command Papers and 12 have been in the form of memoranda which we have subsequently published in the form of Special Reports. I consider the latter method unsatisfactory. In my view, replies are Government documents and Government should take responsibility for their publication. Publication by Government itself also makes publication possible during the recess.

13 December 2000


56  
Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Staging International Sporting Events, HC (1998-99) 124-I. Back

57  Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Wembley National Stadium, HC (1999-2000) 164, paras 45, 143. Back

58  Staging International Sporting Events: Government Response to the Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1998-99, Cm 4575, January 2000. Back

59  HC (1999-2000) 164. Back

60  Wembley National Stadium: Government Response to the Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000, Cm 4686, March 2000. Back

61  Second Special Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Wembley National Stadium: Responses to the Fourth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000, HC (1999-2000) 412. Back

62  Second Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, The Future of Professional Rugby, HC (1999-2000) 99. Back

63  First Special Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, The Future of Professional Rugby: Government Response to the Second Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000, HC (1999-2000) 268; Appendix 2, Part V; Appendix 5. Back

64  Second Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, The Millennium Dome, HC (1997-98) 340-I; Sixth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Not Only the Dome: The Millennium Celebrations in the United Kingdom, HC (1997-98) 818-I; Third Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Back to the Dome, HC (1998-99) 21-I; First Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Countdown to the Millennium, HC (1999-2000) 24-I; Eighth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Marking the Millennium in the United Kingdom, HC (1999-2000) 578-I. Back

65  HC (1999-2000) 578-I, paras 7-30. Back

66  Marking the Millennium in the United Kingdom: Government Response to the Eighth Report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Session 1999-2000, Cm 4899, October 2000. Cm 4899, pp 1-2. Back


 
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