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Wherever your turn in the live events industry at the moment, everyone is talking about and has an opinion on London 2012.  But very few people seem to have a clear idea of the business opportunities available from the Olympic Games, much less how the tendering process works.  Here Heath Freeman, managing director of leading nationwide crewing company, Pinnacle Crew, cuts through the plethora of information and red tape to give a clear picture of how all suppliers should be approaching the Games.


Most contracts for services to deliver and stage the Olympic Games are being let by The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG).

LOCOG says that it “welcomes formal proposals from a wide selection of bidders”, and there seems to be three clear means of discovering what opportunities are available. The first is by registering with CompeteFor, an internet site that can be accessed via The London 2012 Business Network at www.london2012.com/business.  This acts as a brokerage service between potential suppliers and buyers throughout the London 2012 supply chain, and bidders who are successful in winning work with LOCOG will be encouraged to use CompeteFor to advertise any related business opportunities.

According to LOCOG “by using CompeteFor, buying organisations gain access to many thousands of potential suppliers who have registered on the site.”

Expanding on CompeteFor there is also a download that may be accessed from http://www.london2012.com/documents/business/future-competefor-opportunities-feb-aug-2011.pdf.  This provides a schedule of CompeteFor opportunities.

Further information may be obtained by registering for London 2012 business e-alerts at


The “formal proposals” are expected to be submitted for evaluation in response to an invitation to tender from LOCOG.  The results of the ITT process will lead to selected bidders either being invited to present their proposals for further scrutiny, or directly enter discussion and negotiation talks with LOCOG.  The award of contracts will be made based on what “is deemed the most appropriate match to LOCOG’s needs.”

Chief amongst these needs is value for money; although it is true to say that LOCOG’s view of value for money is different from that of some other organisations.  To support its vision for London 2012, it will be considering a broad range of criteria when assessing tenders.

LOCOG expects pricing to be competitive, make best use of discounts, value-in-kind agreements and other “innovative arrangements”.

Quality, delivery and disposal is at the heart of its Sustainability Sourcing Code (a document far too detailed to go into in-depth here), along with criteria on the environmental, social and ethical issues in connection with procurement.

Goods and services must be inclusive and support LOCOG’s aim of delivering an Olympic and Paralympic Games for everyone.  Successful bidders will have to demonstrate their commitment to being a diverse and inclusive organisation.

As with any other tendering process, suppliers must conform to LOCOG’s terms and conditions, and must be financially sound to assure supply.

Naturally, health and safety is also a key consideration.  Suppliers and licensees must comply with health and safety legislation and industry standards. LOCOG’s stated belief is that high H&S standards can be further achieved by visible leadership and personal commitment at all levels, combined with effective management in consultation with a trained and competent workforce. 

Bidders will probably be asked to tender via LOCOG’s eTendering system, but before being invited to view the ITT document will be requested to sign and return a confidentiality agreement.

During the tendering process, it is also likely that potential suppliers will be required to prepare a management plan, using a template provided.  This will need to be updated on a regular basis or whenever there is a change to the products or services being supplied.

Finding the way through all this bureaucracy is not going to be easy for any of us.  But London 2012 is not only going to be a prime business opportunity for everyone in the live events industry, it is also going to be an opportunity to showcase our abilities to the rest of the world.

A version of this article may be found in the May edition of Access All Areas: www.access-aa.co.uk

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Posted in features


It seems that most of the live events industry agrees that the list of requirements for suppliers laid down by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is confusing and difficult to understand.  Here, Heath Freeman, managing director of leading nationwide crewing company Pinnacle Crew, tries to unravel the facts and make sense of the requirements on employment.


Most people I have talked to in the live events industry recently are saying that there are a great number of hoops to jump through to fulfill LOCOG’s requirements for suppliers at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  And the standards set for the supply of staff and labour in LOCOG’s Sustainable Sourcing Guide adds yet one more confusion.

The Guide asks that “where suppliers and licensees intend to use temporary/agency staff they should seek to ensure that any labour providers supplying such staff are members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and, if relevant, are licensed by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA)”.

On its website the GLA states that it is a government agency established to regulate those organisations that supply labour or use workers to provide services in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, shellfish gathering and food processing and packaging.

So as far as crewing and other staff supply companies in the live events industry are concerned, I think this can be safely ignored.

The REC, the representative body for the UK’s private recruitment and staffing industry, may be far more relevant to us.  But, there are certain areas that still need to be made clear.  For example, do organisations in the live events industry – such as crewing companies, providers of stand staff, production companies who employ freelancers – fall into the category of the “recruitment and staffing industry”?

If we look at the government’s The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, the Employment Agencies Act 1972 and the Employment Relations Act 199, we will find definitions of employment agencies or employment businesses.

Broadly speaking an employment agency introduces work-seekers to client employers for direct, permanent employment by those employers.  Of more importance to the live events industry is the definition of an “employment business”.  To quote directly from the regulations:

“An employment business engages work-seekers under either contracts for services or contracts of employment and supplies those work-seekers to client hirers for temporary assignments or contracts where they will be under the hirers’ supervision or control”.

This is where we get into a grey area for crewing companies, suppliers of stand staff and the like, who in the main employ their staff on a job-by-job contract basis.  It is a highly moot point as to whether, once your team is on-site, whether they remain under your supervision and control or that of your client’s.

Even legal advice that we have taken does not make it any clearer.  We were told that in the end it comes down to who has the degree of control, who creates the schedule of work, and even if there is a team leader on site supervising crew, who supervises the team leader?

If we feel that it is our clients who have the ultimate control, then I believe each and every company that provides staff to the events industry needs to consider joining the REC as we could all be thought of as an employment business – not just by the law and regulations, but by LOCOG too.  And, since crewing and other staffing is often the last element of the supply chain to be put in place, we need to be prepared now rather than later when at the last minute – we may discover we cannot even be considered as an Olympics supplier.

Ideally, LOCOG itself needs to clear this up.  London 2012 is too important to all of us to miss opportunities because of a technicality.

A version of this article can be found in eventindustrynews: http://www.eventindustrynews.co.uk/2011/05/olympic-employment-regulations-need-clarity.html

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