Coun­cil bosses’ £50k Gold Coast trip ‘in­valu­able’ Lessons learnt for Com­mon­wealth Games

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Coun­cil Cor­re­spon­dent

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

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