London 2012 organizers criticized for lacking centralized planning

An influential group of British lawmakers has warned organizers of the 2012 London Olympics they risk major problems because too many different bodies are being trusted to deliver the games.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee, which monitors government spending, also criticized the lack of plans for ensuring Olympic facilities are properly used after the games, and said the government had left itself financially exposed by seriously underestimating the cost of staging them.

The report, published on Tuesday, says that no one individual has overall responsibility for delivering the Olympics and the large number of bodies involved presents "significant risks," including for timely decision-taking.

The Olympic Development Authority is responsible for the venues and infrastructure for the games. The London Olympic organizing committee is in charge of running the games.

The government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport has to develop a framework of timely progress and risk reporting, the report said.

"If the London Olympic and Paralympic Games are to be the great success we all want them to be, then the risks to delivery will have to be managed with an iron hand," committee chairman Edward Leigh said.

"The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is ultimately responsible for co-ordinating the array of bodies involved. It is worrying, therefore, that strong arrangements for monitoring progress and managing risk are so far not in place."

The PAC said there was a lack of clarity about the legacy of the games, especially whether five new venues being built will be properly used afterward.

The report also said that the DCMS had to ensure the organizing committee's costs remained under control to prevent further need for public money.

"The report confirms that the government totally miscalculated the Olympic budget and, as yet, nobody - including (Olympics Minister) Tessa Jowell or (Prime Minister) Gordon Brown - has taken responsibility," said lawmaker Hugh Robertson, who is Olympics spokesman for the opposition Conservative party.

In March, the government announced the overall cost of building the venues and regenerating east London had increased to 9.3 billion pounds (US$18.6 billion; EUR13.75 billion). During the bid process, the cost was estimated at 3 billion pounds (US$6 billion; EUR4.4 billion).