UK Sport has developed a strategy to achieve the Government’s ambitions for the GB teams to finish fourth in the Olympic medal table and to maintain second in the Paralympics table at the London 2012 Games. The achievements of athletes at recent elite international events suggest performance levels are improving. The NAO’s report identifies a number of risks to be managed if those ambitions are to be realised, in particular the fact that plans depend on raising £100 million of funding from the private sector which has yet to be identified.
Meeting the 2012 goals would require Team GB to double the number of gold Olympic medals that it won in Athens 2004. To achieve this, UK Sport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have agreed a £700 million funding package, with nearly £600 million for elite athletes. This funding comes from the taxpayer and the National Lottery, plus the private sector money that still has to be raised.
The report highlighted the progress made in establishing a system to support elite athletes up to and beyond the 2012 Games, so that the next generation of athletes has access to the best coaching staff, facilities and sport scientists. The ability of sports governing bodies to handle public money has also been upgraded, along with UK Sport’s capacity to assess their performance.
In view of the competing demands for private sponsorship for London 2012, there is a risk that not all of the £100 million will be raised from the private sector. DCMS has met the Committee of Public Accounts’ recommendation to draw on specialist fundraising expertise to help raise the £100 million from the private sector, though it did not put out to tender for a fundraising partner until November 2007, 16 months after the Committee identified the need for expertise.