Council bosses’ £50k Gold Coast trip ‘invaluable’ Lessons learnt for Commonwealth Games
A£50,000 taxpayer-funded trip to send ten council bosses to Australia for the Commonwealth Games provided ‘invaluable’ experience, a report has stated.
Birmingham City Council has declared that key lessons were learned including around transport and ticketing, during the visit to the Gold Coast as part of the authority’s own accelerated preparations for hosting the competition in 2022.
Several council officers were among the delegation including former Lord Mayor Anne Underwood, who delivered a speech at the Carrara Stadium as part of the formal handover ceremony.
Council leader Ian Ward, who did not attend but signed off the visit, initially revealed the expenditure vowing that the authority would get ‘full value’ from the trip.
It has now been detailed further in a report for the Council Busi- ness Management committee on Tuesday which analysed all overseas travel conducted by council representatives.
It said: “Staging a major multisports event such as the Commonwealth Games is a complex logistical operation.
“To ensure a future host city is as prepared as possible, there is a clear need for a transfer of knowledge and the best and usual way to do that is to attend the edition of the games that comes immediately before.
“Mindful of the need to represent best value to the taxpayer, there was a clear commitment from the Birmingham 2022 team that the minimum possible number of delegates would attend, but what they brought would be invaluable in the four years ahead.
“In the case of Birmingham, the normal preparation period is significantly shorter following the withdrawal of Durban as the initial 2022 host, increasing the importance of maximising the time available ahead of the staging of the games. That means the experience, learning and contacts gained from the Gold Coast will be invaluable for Birmingham, covering all aspects of a Games from the delivery of the village to transport, security, venue configuration, ticketing, communications and of course the sporting experience for athletes.”
The report also stated the visit helped the council understand how to deal with the world media, adding: “Presenting the Birmingham 2022 story to the world’s media was important.
“This included direct support for the local journalists attending, via background briefings, interviews with the delegation and regional athletes and joint press conferences.
“This also included managing media moments such as Birmingham’s role in the handover ceremony, as well as first-hand operational experience of managing hundreds of international journalists, photographers and camera crews at a multi-sport event.”
> Lord Mayor Anne Underwood makes a speech as part of the handover ceremony in the Gold Coast