Cost estimates of holding the Olympic Equestrian Events in Greenwich Park

John Bettelley made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The request was partially successful.

From: John Bettelley

7 February 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

In view of the significant increases in cost estimates for very
many of the Olympic Games sites, could you please let me know what
is the current estimate for holding the Equestrian Events in
Greenwich Park?

Yours faithfully,

John Bettelley

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From: LEWRY SHARON
Department for Culture, Media and Sport

9 February 2009

Dear Mr Bettelley

FOI CASE: 111385

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request about the equestrian
events at Greenwich Park during the Olympic Games, which was received on 7
February 2009.

You asked "In view of the significant increases in cost estimates for very
many of the Olympic Game sites, could you please let me know what is the
current estimate for holding the Equestrian Events in Greenwich Park?"
We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.
We aim to reply to your request within 20 working days following the day
on which we received your request.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Regards,
Sharon Lewry
FoI Central Team
Public Engagement and Recognition Unit

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH
Tel: 0207 211 6307
Website: [1]www.culture.gov.uk
DCMS aims to improve the quality of life for all through cultural and
sporting activities, to support the pursuit of excellence and to champion
the tourism, creative and leisure industries

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From: TARIQ SAIRA
Department for Culture, Media and Sport

9 March 2009

Dear Mr Bettelley

Thank you for your request of 7^th February 2008 relating to Greenwich
Park and the 2010 Olympics. You have asked

`In view of the significant increases in cost estimates for very many of
the Olympic Games sites, could you please let me know what is the current
estimate for holding the Equestrian Events in Greenwich Park?'
We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
("the Act"). Under the Act you have the right to:
. know whether we hold the information you requested; and
. subject to the application of any relevant statutory exemptions,
be provided with that information.

I regret to inform you that the Department for Culture Media and Sport
does not hold the information you have requested. The cost of holding the
equestrian events at Greenwich Park is entirely a matter for The London
Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). LOCOG
is a private company whose budget comes primarily from commercial sources.

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our response to your request
for information and/or wish to appeal against information being withheld
from you please send full details within two calendar months of the date
of this letter to:

FOI Central Team,
Public Engagement and Recognition Unit
Department for Culture Media and Sport,
2-4 Cockspur Street, London,
SW1Y 5DH

You have the right to ask the Information Commissioner (ICO) to
investigate any aspect of your complaint. Please note that the ICO is
likely to expect internal complaints procedures to have been exhausted
before beginning his investigation.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Kind regards

Saira Tariq
Freedom of Information Case Manager
Freedom of Information Team
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH
Telephone: 020 7211 6192

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John Bettelley left an annotation (10 March 2009)

Quote-marks Once again in the realm of Olympics authorities, a highly inadequate response.

I shall be requesting an internal review, complaining to the information commissioner, and writing to the secretary of state and olympics minister.

Details to follow.

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From: John Bettelley

11 March 2009

To: Tariq Saira, FOI Central Team,
Public Engagement and Recognition Unit
Department for Culture Media and Sport,
2-4 Cockspur Street, London,
SW1Y 5DH

Dear Tariq Saira,

I have your reply to my FOI request “In view of the significant
increases in cost estimates for very many of the Olympic Games
sites, could you please let me know what is the current estimate
for holding the Equestrian Events in Greenwich Park?”

Your response was “I regret to inform you that the Department for
Culture Media and Sport does not hold the information you have
requested. The cost of holding the equestrian events at Greenwich
Park is entirely a matter for The London Organising Committee of
the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). LOCOG is a private
company whose budget comes primarily from commercial sources.”

This is entirely inadequate. I am requesting an internal review, on
the following grounds:
1. To wait until 5.15 pm on the 20th day of my enquiry – i.e. the
last possible moment within the allowed time under the act, is
utterly unacceptable: it is cynical, disrespectful, and a gross
misuse of the rules.
2. It is just not credible that the information I requested does
not exist in the DCMS, nor to imply that LOCOG is nothing to do
with the DCMS.

In pursuing my review I would hope that a) you could get me a
response in considerably less than 20 days, and b) pass up your
hierarchy, for context, the following extracts from the National
Audit Office Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and
Paralympic Games Progress Report June 2008.

• “LOCOG was established by a joint venture agreement between the
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Mayor of
London and the British Olympic Association. In addition to being
the central government organisation to which LOCOG is accountable
(as well as to the other two principal stakeholders), the
Department, through the Government Olympic Executive, has the role
of co-ordinating delivery of Government commitments to the
International Olympic Committee so that LOCOG can deliver the Games
in accordance with the Host City Contract.

• The Government Olympic Executive has set up arrangements for
monitoring LOCOG’s progress and has formed a Staging Team to do
this. The Executive has a series of regular stock-taking meetings
at various levels with LOCOG; and the Minister for the Olympics has
appointed an experienced business figure to LOCOG’s Board who also
sits on the Audit Committee. LOCOG is introducing more
comprehensive financial and programme management reporting to the
Executive”

I am aware that the costs of building the facilities in Greenwich
Park are not counted as ‘construction’, therefore not funded by the
ODA, but rather ‘overlay’ which is to be funded by LOCOG from their
own resources.
I am also aware that LOCOG’s privately raised finance is falling
well short of targets. Given that the DCMS will be picking up any
shortfall through the public purse, given the rapidly worsening
national economic scenario, it is difficult to accept that no one
in the highly expensive Olympic management structures within the
Ministry is keeping a close eye on what that financial cost and/or
exposure might be.

Yours sincerely
John Bettelley

PS I shall be pursuing the question of the 20 days wait with the
Information Commissioner, as this is not the first time I have
received such treatment from an organisation within the ambit of
the DCMS, and I shall be writing to the Secretary of State and the
Olympics Minister.

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John Bettelley left an annotation (19 March 2009)

Quote-marks No acknowledgement or response yet - 19/3.

JB

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Alex Skene left an annotation (19 March 2009)

Quote-marks LOCOG has now been added as a "non-FOI" entity on WhatDoTheyKnow:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/locog

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From: John Bettelley

20 March 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

I responded to your reply on 11th March, requesting an internal
review, and making a number of points.

I have not yet had an acknowledgement or any other kind of reply. I
would be pleased to hear from you.

Yours sincerely,

John Bettelley

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