MD1601 British House at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
04 February 2016
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games offer an unparalleled opportunity to promote London to the world.  The Games provide a global platform used by countries, cities and brands to convey their promotional messages to the world, to network and to target potential investors.  

Working with Her Majesty’s Government (HMG), namely UK Trade and Industry (UKTI), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), The GREAT Campaign and 10 Downing Street, the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA), this proposal concerns London’s representation at the Games in Rio through two ‘Houses’ (British House).  London’s focus will be on promoting London’s business, trade and cultural offer, to attract foreign direct investment and to promote London’s hosting of major events such as the IAAF and IPC World Championships in 2017.  

Expenditure will cover London’s contribution towards the hire of the venues, fitting out the venues including temporary overlay, security, lighting, AV and the London content programme for British House at both the Olympic and Paralympic Houses. 

British House will provide the venue for promoting London and the UK as well as be the venue for the celebration of British success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.


The Mayor approves: 

1.    Expenditure of up to £2 million (£0.92m in 2015-16 and £1.08m in 2016-17 of which £0.5m is contingency) to promote London’s business, trade and cultural offer, to attract foreign direct investment and to promote London’s hosting of major sporting events at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games through two ‘Houses’; and

2.    GLA working in partnership with HMG, the BOA and the BPA to deliver British House at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Over the past 20 years national houses have become an important part of the Olympic and Paralympic city hosting programme.  The Olympic and Paralympic Games provide a global platform to countries, cities and businesses to promote, network and target potential investors and clients. British House will offer an unparalleled opportunity to promote London to businesses from around the world. 

1.2    London was represented at the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games through ‘London House’, which hosted a programme of events to promote long-term trade and investment relationships as well as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This project will build upon the experience gained from previous houses and directly deliver the commitment to promote London overseas, creating direct impacts through future business wins and media coverage which will in turn highlight London as the city to invest in, study and visit.

1.3    During Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, London, HMG, the BOA and the BPA ran separate houses. Whilst the BOA and the BPA have had houses previously, for HMG and London this was a first and was in direct response to London being the next host city of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Both HMG and London delivered a comprehensive programme of activity to engage with businesses and investors in order to maximise the economic opportunity the Games presented. 

1.4    At the Beijing 2008 Olympics and Paralympics, London House set out to deliver an ambitious programme of events, including seminars, press conferences, space for private business meetings, lunches and dinners. The initial target was to attract 5,000 invited visitors to the house. By the end of the Games London House had attracted 10,011 invited guests.

1.5    London House was widely accepted to be one of the best venues in the city for meeting key individuals, with an appealing calendar of events attracting valuable audiences. In the two weeks of the Olympic Games 40 business leads were generated worth circa £11.5 million of initial business for London businesses. The house also created an enormously positive impression of London with 91% of those attending the house stating they would recommend London as a good place to do business, 86% would recommend it as a place to study and 72% would recommend it as a good place to invest.

1.6    As cities become the driving force of national economic growth, they compete for the same talent, ideas and capital. With key nations such as France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, America and Canada already committing to a national house and the promotion of their cities at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games; London will use this ultimate global platform to convey the message that London is the best place on earth to study, invest and do business, positioning the capital as the partner of choice for both trade and investment.

1.7    London will partner with HMG, the BOA and the BPA to deliver British House through two houses spread across two games that can host visiting dignitaries, global and British businesses, athletes and their families during the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The core budget is £0.92m in 2015/2016 and £1.08m in 2016/2017 of which £0.5m is contingency. 


Objectives and expected outcomes

Strategic Objective:

2.1    Use the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games to target CEOs of global organisations, investors and sponsors showcasing London and London businesses in order to create the generation of jobs and growth in the capital.

Operational Objectives:

2.2    Work with HMG, the BOA and the BPA to create a venue where the UK and London can host business events and visitors. This will include the fit out of high quality but value for money venues for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, delivered on time and to budget.  This will provide a vehicle to promote London’s physical development opportunities, position London as the technology, digital and science capital of Europe, at the vanguard of tackling the shared problems of cities in the 21st Century;

2.3    To have a formal programme of business events including well known speakers, showcase events, gala receptions as well as space for private business meetings, lunches and dinners all highlighting the London offer with a view to generating FDI wins and positive media coverage of London;

2.4    Work with corporate partners to deliver ‘a meeting place for the world’ providing a suitable environment for domestic and international businesses to meet, a business programme to identify and host potential inward investors and the deployment of London business ambassadors to showcase London.


2.5    20 targeted FDI wins with a focus on headquarter functions, targeting technology, creative and life science companies.  This is considered to be the area of activity with the most potential at the Games due to the high numbers of corporate partners in Rio;

2.6    Host at least 500 business guests through British House, this will provide a setting for an informal hosting business lounge and networking;

2.7    Generate £10m AVE from coverage of British House with further reach and value expected across social media.

2.8    Attract £500,000 in kind contribution from the private sector.

2.9    Host at least 500 global sports administrators and influences, jointly with partners, using the venue     to provide a setting for networking, formal and informal hosting with the objective of promoting     London as the home of world class sport.

Equality comments

3.1    Lead officers will ensure the monitoring of equalities in is built into the overall project plan including procured services and monitoring. Once the scope of both the Olympics and Paralympics Houses have been agreed with partners a proportionate equalities assessment will be undertaken. 

3.2    Project proposals will be assessed in terms of accessibility to ensure the minimisation of disadvantages suffered by people based on their age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief or sexual orientation. 

3.3    All documents produced will be encouraged to comply with Mayor of London branding guidelines, it being based on guidance from the Royal National Institute of Blind People.  Where possible accessible formats will be available.  

3.4    The venues for British House will be accessible and where possible will encourage people who share a protected characteristic to participate where the participation is disproportionately low. 

Other considerations

Key risks and issues: 

4.1    A risk register for this project is in use and was submitted to the IPB. The register covers the risks and control measures to mitigate impacts.  The risk categories identified include 
-    Political, security and reputational
-    Commercial, financial and legal
-    Partnership and delivery 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities: 

4.2    The promotion of London is one of the objectives of the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy, specifically to ‘promote London as the world capital of business, the world’s top international visitor destination, and the world’s leading international centre of learning and creativity’.  The promotion of London is a key plank of the London Enterprise Panel’s Economic Development Plan for the capital which includes the following ‘London faces challenges if it is to maintain its position as the leading global hub in a rapidly changing world’ and that to address this London needs to radically step up its promotion activities to attract emerging market business, visitors, talent and students.

Impact assessments and consultations:

4.3    GLA Officers have met with officials from HMG, the BOA and BPA to establish their plans for Rio 2016 and to design this joint proposal.  Subject to approval of funding the GLA will engage a wider set of stakeholders including the London business community. The GLA and L&P will also undertake more detailed analysis of the target audience in Rio and design the engagement plan for this audience. 

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for expenditure of up to £2.0m to contribute towards the hire of venues and related costs in Rio and the London programme for British House at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

5.2    Programme delivery is anticipated to commence in January 2016 and span into the 2016-17 financial year until December 2016. It is estimated that £0.92m will be incurred in 2015-16 and £1.08m in 2016-17.  Any expenditure from contingency should be formally approved by the GLA Project Board.

5.3    The expenditure will be funded from the 2015-16 Contingency Budget and a request will be submitted to carry forward the remaining budget at year-end into 2016-17. 

5.4    This initiative will attract significant funding from the project partners, namely HMG, the BOA and the BPA. It is also anticipated that additional sponsorship (cash and value in-kind) will be secured to enhance the delivery of this joint partnership and the scaling up of the programme will be in line with the level of sponsorship that is formally secured.

5.5    For sponsorship that has a direct impact on the core project budget (i.e. the receipt of cash and/or value in-kind sponsorship for expenditure items originally included in the project budget) the receipt of such sponsorship will reduce the overall cost of the core programme, including the GLA contribution.

Investment and Performance Board

7.1    IPB approved the proposal at its meeting in September 2015.  The Board noted the importance of the profile of the London brand given that the project will be delivered in partnership with other organisations.  The project team noted that discussions are underway on use of branding and the name of the venue which needs to meet the needs of all partners.


Planned delivery approach and next steps

8.1    The project will be governed through an Oversight Board which will provide project direction and leadership for the UK and London presence at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and includes representatives from the core partners – GLA, HMG, BOA and BPA.  It will be chaired by the UK Trade Minister and will have representation from an independent senior individual with experience of overseeing a project of this scale and project.  

8.2    Day to day project delivery will be managed through a GLA Project Board which will oversee all elements of the GLA activity including:

•    GLA contribution to the finance, production, operations and management of the venues;

•    the GLA contribution to the programme of events and activities during Games time;

•    the creation of a business focused programme that maximises the trade and investment opportunities arising from the Games; and

•    the creation of a programme for the Mayor, Deputy Mayors and other London guests;

8.3    The GLA Project Board will be made up of senior representatives of the following GLA Teams and organisations: Sports, External Relations, International Relations, Economic & Business Policy, CMT, Culture and London & Partners.  The Chair of this group will represent the GLA at the Oversight Board on a regular basis.

The following timeline sets out key activities:




IPB consideration


Agreed draft London programme


Detailed site visit


Agree London Programme


Sponsorship packages out to market


Update GLA Project Board on programme and budget information


Internal Project review meeting


Announcement of programme 


Invitations sent out


Detailed planning visit


Project Budget Review


Project Operations Review


Programme Review


Final site visit


Core project staff deployed to Rio


Olympic House Project delivery


Paralympic House project delivery


Evaluation start


Evaluation finish


Delivery End Date and final report to IPB


Project closure



Share this page