Minutes: Major Events Investigative
7 February 2001 at 2.00pm in AG23
Eric Ollerenshaw – Chair
There were none.
2. Declarations of Interest
There were none.
Anthony Mayer – Chief Executive – GLA
Susan McLaren – GLA
Anthony Mayer stated that he had formally started with the GLA on the 1 st November
2000 but he had been present in the office of the GLA for a short period between 13-17th
October 2000. He had previously been the interim Chief Executive at Transport for London
between 21st February 2000 and 1st November 2000. In this capacity he had only had
peripheral dealings with the end of 2000 New Year’s Eve event. There had been some issues
relating to confirmation of bus services and he was aware that London Underground had
had some concerns regarding the proposals for the “midnight moment”.
Susan McLaren also briefly outlined her background which had been as a civil servant in
the education and employment fields. She had managed a number of projects in the past.
Romney House, Marsham Street, London SW1P 3PY
Enquiries: 020 7983 4100 minicom: 020 7983 4458 www.london.gov.uk
Anthony Mayer stated that at the point he first started with the GLA there was a “red light”
on in relation to the New Year’s Eve event. London Underground on the 11th October,
announced their green zone plan which meant that few underground stations in central
London would be open on New Year’s Eve. The Train Operating Companies had similarly
indicated that there would be very few trains running in south London on New Year’s Eve.
It became clear that there would not be an adequate level of service to deal with the
anticipated crowds and this had led to a series of meetings being held in order to try and
resolve the situation. It had become clear to Anthony Mayer that the management of the
event needed to be strengthened and following a meeting between himself and the Mayor it
had been agreed to strengthen the management team of Events for London by bringing in
Susan McLaren to manage the project.
In response to the question as to her first actions, Susan McLaren said that she had
attempted to gain a view from all the partners involved about their main concerns with
regard to the New Year’s Eve event. There had been a hand over from John Hall.
In response to the questions as to who was in control of the project and whether there had
been a lack of political leadership, Anthony Mayer stated that in his view the critical
difference between the 1999 event and the end of 2000 event was that the 1999 event had
been a government initiated and government run project. The end of 2000 event had been
initiated by the government but the project had transferred to the GLA who had had no
involvement in the original specification. The Mayor had been kept informed of progress on
the event and had attempted to rescue it when problems occurred.
Anthony Mayer went on to point out that the partners to the event were not fully signed up
at the point where the contract was let. It was vital if this sort of event was going to be run
successfully that all partners were fully signed up at the outset and aware of their
obligations and responsibilities. Susan McLaren added that as of 19th October she was in
charge of the event but did not control the police or Railtrack or the Train Operating
Companies and could not order partners about.
It was Anthony Mayer’s view that by the time 10 Alps pulled out on 15th November it
would still have been possible to have an event if the transport issues could have been
Anthony Mayer considered that there were four key things that were needed in order to
run a successful event, they were:-
(a) Time – the government review of the 1999 event had said that 18 months lead in was
required for such events. The end of 2000 event had been transferred to the GLA on the
24th July 1999.
(b) A proper specification – The specification for the end of 2000 event had clearly been
inadequate and it was not clear what, where and when the event would be held and this
resulted in confusion.
(c) The active participation of all the partners - Each partner had to accept the tasks
allocated to it and clearly understand its role and carry out the functions it was
responsible for. Planning meetings should not be regarded as negotiating forums but
rather a partnership which would take things forward.
(d) Resources - There was a total of £6.5 million for the end of 2000 event whereas the
Millennium Eve event was estimated to have cost anything up to £30 million. The
actual amount required to run a New Year’s Eve event was somewhere between these
two figures but was certainly more than £6.5 million.
With regard to the funding, Susan McLaren said that she had made a number of requests to
Government for additional funding but had received no response. On the cancellation costs
negotiations had been taking place with the contrators and these negotiations were nearly
As to what might be done differently in terms of project management with the benefit of
hindsight, Susan McLaren stated that a clarity of view as to the expected outcome and
sufficient resources were vital. The structure that had been set up for the end of 2000 event
looked liked a project management structure but was in fact a number of stakeholders who
were trying to find a compromise. It was necessary to tie people in at the start of the project
and give the project manager the authority to take it forward.
With regard to the differences between the 1999 and 2000 events Susan McLaren pointed
out that a number of the partners had been very worried about what had happened during
the 1999 event both in terms of potential dangers to crowds and also the knowledge of how
much it had cost them to put it on. They had certainly considered it to be a “one-off” event
and not something that would be repeated year on year.
On whether the lessons of the 1999 event had been included in the specification of the 2000
event Susan McLaren said that she understood they had been. Certainly the fire works had
been brought forward to 7 o’clock and whilst the midnight moment had not been ruled out
it had not been ruled in either. The specification had tried to deal with the problems that
had been identified from the 1999 event.
Susan McLaren referred to correspondence between the Mayor and the government which
made clear the GLA’s concerns by mid October.
Anthony Mayer reiterated that the real problem in the end was transport. South East
London would be basically closed down in terms of trains and there was to be a very limited
underground service to central London. In an attempt to improve the situation the
midnight moment had been cancelled, the fireworks had been moved forward from 7 o’clock
to 5 o’clock but in the end the problems over transport had led to the event being cancelled.
Susan McLaren pointed out that having cancelled the midnight moment and brought the
fireworks forward to 5 o’clock the difficulties with the transport and the loss of the sponsor
meant that the cost of the event was going up and the quality was going down. The options
appeared to be having a safe but not very good event at 5 o’clock or having a successful
event with fireworks at 7 o’clock and a midnight moment.
It was confirmed that risk assessments had been carried out for the event as a whole and
that 10 Alps as part of their contract carried out a risk assessment for the events they were
putting on. The risk assessment had identified risks and the response of the London
Underground to these risks was not to run trains into the centre of London.
As regards to the scale and scope of events that London could hope to run in the future,
Anthony Mayer considered that it was inconceivable that London could not hold events
which appeared to be within the ability of Sydney, New York, Paris and Berlin. The
transport issues needed to be sorted out but other cities managed to do this so there was no
reason why London couldn’t. As an example Anthony Mayer referred to the fact that New
York appeared to be able to get 750,000 to 1 million people out of Times Square and that
people shouldn’t be defeatest in relation to such events. It was not a good idea in Anthony
Mayer’s opinion to try and organise an event around the river but that a dispersed event
could be organised and other more suitable sites explored.
References were made to the Queen’s Jubilee and Anthony Mayer confirmed that Steve
Watts the Head of Governance at the GLA had been appointed to sit on a committee to be
chaired by Lord Levine which would be organising events in London. The Home Secretary
would be chairing a national organising committee.
With regard to the detailed events plan Susan McLaren stated that a document had been
produced on 11th September and an amended document on the 14th September. She could
also supply a statement of the state of play as at 13 November 2000.
As to commercial funding for any future event Anthony Mayer considered it would be more
difficult but not impossible to raise sponsorship if it moved away from Big Ben.
In conclusion Anthony Mayer referred to public safety and crowd control and the need to
ensure in future there were clear responsibilities as to who was responsible for each of these
vitally important issues.
2. 10 Alps
The committee heard evidence from:
Bob Geldof and Des Shaw of 10 Alps
Anton Jeffery of Pace Setter.
In response to a question as to when they had first become involved, Anton Jeffery stated
that he had been involved in the 1999 event as the overall project manager for Pace Setter
and had subsequently been involved in the de-brief process for the millenium eve events.
They had subsequently joined a consortium with 10 Alps to bid for the end of year 2000
Bob Geldof confirmed that on 17 January 2000 he had met with Keith Hill and Charles
Faulkner and it had been agreed that there were lessons to be learned from the millenium
eve event but it had also been agreed that there should be similar events on future new
year’s eves. Bob Geldof outlined the significant dates which are attached at Appendix 1.
In response to questions around the tendering process Anton Jeffery expressed his concern
that the level of core funding had been unclear from the start. After the tenderers had
submitted their bids they were asked by GoL to resubmit, within three days, alternative
proposals based on one fifth of the costs of the original proposal.
From the outset there had been conflict over project management and there had also been
difficulties over who was responsible for crowd control. Arrangements for the millenium
eve event had started in September 1998 but for the end of 2000 event the contract had only
been let six months before the date of the event.
Anton Jeffery confirmed that at the point the tender had been let GOL had been in overall
charge and Zig Kowolczyk had been the project manager.
Anton Jeffery also confirmed that during May and June the only meetings they had
attended were those dealing with questions in relation to the tender.
With the regard to the scaling down of the tenders, Anton Jeffery was of the opinion that
they had still come up with a plan that would work despite the substantial reduction in the
budget late on in the process. It was noted that the first project planning meeting had been
the Transport Working Group on the 22 May 2000. Anton Jeffery stated that after they
had been awarded the contract on 12th June they had attended meetings of each of the
working groups to ensure that all the participants were aware of the scope and vision of the
event. From 21 June 2000, John Hall had been the project manager and had been the chair
of the Safety Working Group. Anton Jeffery had confirmed that in his view even though the
project had been late starting he considered that with good will, support and co-operation it
could still have been a successful event.
In response to a question as to what was understood by having a more “dispersed” event for
the end of year 2000, Anton Jeffery stated that the millenium eve event basically took place
between Westminster and Blackfriars Bridges. The end of 2000 event was planned to have
a much wider spread of events. The bulk of events would be away from the river but this did
not mean having events spread way out into North and South London apart from several of
the firework dispalys. Anton Jeffery confirmed that the links with London Boroughs had
been good and whereas as 1999 they had been working with four Boroughs in 2000 they
were working with 9 London Councils.
With regard to the role of the Minister for London during the millenium eve event Anton
Jeffery stated that he did not think the role of the Mayor of London should be
underestimated. He had had a huge influence on stakeholders and had made every effort to
ensure that the event could proceed.
As to how many people actually attended the event planning meetings it was noted that for
1999 between fifteen and twenty people attended the meetings, usually the same people.
For the 2000 event up to sixty people had been at some of the planning meetings and it
proved almost impossible to make any real progress at these meetings. Anton Jeffery
confirmed in his view the risk assessment both for the overall event and for their individual
projects had been carried out well.
As to whether the evidence from the millenium eve meant that it was simply too dangerous
to have an event in the future, Bob Geldof stated that there appeared to be a case of risk
aversion. People were not looking to find ways of resolving problems but rather to use
these problems to prevent the event going ahead. The Mayor had been proactive
throughout and kept saying the event should happen and whilst it was not his idea he was
determined to make the best of a bad job.
Bob Geldof then took the opportunity to point out that 10 Alps had not pulled out of the
event and would if they had been instructed to, carried on with running and organising the
event. It became clear that the cost of continuing the event would too much, given that the
outcome was not likely to be very good. The Mayor had made the decision to cancel it and
Bob thought this was the right decision in the circumstances. All attempts had been made to
accommodate the difficulties with transport and this included bringing the fireworks
forward and cancelling the music and midnight moment but there was no safety plan and no
transport and this caused uncertainty in the commercial world and eventually led to the
sponsorship being withdrawn.
On the obtaining of permissions for the location of fireworks and ballrooms etc, Anton
Jeffery confirmed that by 14th September not all the final permissions were in place.
However, all local authorities had been approached and whilst some written final approvals
had not been received they had all been agreed in the principle.
Anton Jeffery outlined the following key pre-requisites for any future events.
1. Funding - The level of core funding needed to be clear and sufficient time needed to be
available to approach sponsors.
2. There needed to be a clearly identifiable client for the event.
3. It needed to be clear from the start who would be responsible for crowd management and
in Anton Jeffery’s opinion this should be the Metropolitan Police Service.
4. The reasons for the event needed to be clear in order to allow for a coherent creative
With regard to the differences between 1999 and 2000, Bob Geldof pointed out that for the
1999 event all the participants had committed themselves to making sure the event
happened. This had not been the case for the 2000 event, with some participants actually
threatening to seek an injunction to stop the event happening.
Whether it is possible to have an event which was soley funded by commercial sponsorship
it was thought this was possible but would be difficult and time consuming. A number of the
companies that had been approached to sponsor had considered the event to be too London
centric. It was reiterated that if the event was to be successful then it needed to have a clear
plan and the commitment of all the participants.
Reference was made to the role of media relations on the event and it was pointed out that
from discussions, the media had been prepared to be supportive of the event but due to the
uncertainty over the actual details of event they had not got any information which they
could publish. Publicity was crucial to the event and it relied on having firm information to
In conclusion Bob Geldof referred to the relationship between the GLA and the Millenium
Commission. The level of involvement of the Millenium Commission, as far as he was
concerned, only become apparent at a very late stages in the process. It was only on 3
November 2000 that the Millenium Commission had made clear that they would not allow a
commercial sponsor for the event. This had been a major blow to the event.
Bob Geldof referred to the St Patrick’s day event in Dublin which was attended by up to 5
million people and was also, as with London, held on the embankment of a river. Bob Geldof
considered that Westminster provided an ideal focus and events could be held there in the
future. However, this depended upon people actually committing themselves to the project
and really making sure that it happened and all participants making a positive contribution
to the event.
The meeting ended at 4.15pm
Close of Meeting 4.15pm
Contact Officer: Mark Roberts
Room A127, Romney House
London SW1P 3PY
Telephone: 020 7983 4428
Chronology of tender/ key meetings
17.1.2000 Bob/Des met with Keith Hill, Zyg, Lord Falconer
24.1.2000 Letter from Zyg outlining future plans
24.3.2000 Invitation for expressions of interest – would you like to tender
3.4.2000 Bob Geldof expressed interest
14.4.2000 Invitation to tender issued by GoL
19.4.2000 Tender Briefing held at DETR for all companies invited to tender
16.5.2000 Tenders submitted
19.5.2000 Fax/letter from ZK requesting re-submission - over budget
22.5.2000 Resubmission of tender
First TWG meeting
23.5.2000 Presentation to selection panel
25.5.2000 Zyg Fax requesting further information
30.5.2000 Response sent from 10 Alps Consortium
6.6.2000 Acknowledgement sent from GoL
12.6.2000 Tender accepted
Key Points from the Briefing Pack
Key points from Lessons from Big Time, Planning Section - although
possibly all of this is worth a read to refresh…
… management of the project would have benefited from a much simpler
chain of command and budget structure with the non-involvement of
The introduction o the Mayor and the bringing together of so many of
London's core organisations will provide a major benefit for future
…. Detailed planning for a major New Year event must be begin as early
as possible (preferably some 18 months before) but not later than the
… fewer groups should be necessary in future…
KEY DATES IN FOOTPRINT PLANNING:
13.7.2000 First Operational Planning Meeting
27.7.2000 In effort to propagate pan-agency approach, and to take on board opinions
of many organisations, an unminuted meeting called by EfL and designed
to allow people 'off the record' to contribute to the best footprint for the
event. Quickly degenerated into stalemate where nobody would 'off the
record' comment and resented being asked to 'plan' the event.
2.8.2000 Following this a smaller EfL/ 10 Alps planning meeting was held at
Pacesetter on and a strategy discussed and agreed for footprint. Notes from
this were sent to EfL on 7.8.2000 for circulation as appropriate - it should
be noted that substantially nothing changed within this plan.
9.8.2000 Second Operational Planning Meeting
KEY POINTS FROM BUILD UP TO SEPTEMBER EVENT PLAN
4.9.2000 Presented provisional outline of plan on to EfL, was approved by JH as an
appropriate document and following this meeting an email received
requesting minor amendments
11.9.2000 We supplied what was required for an event plan, EfL subsequently
changed the brief for this document and asked that we supplied an entirely
different document which we did on 14.9.2000.
13.9.2000 Receive fax copy of Police letter (dated 8/9) to John Hall re: responsibility
14.09.2000 Version 2 of event plan submitted
Despite Requests, no written responses were ever received by 10 Alps consortium
from any of the agencies expressing concern about any of the plans
Subsequently, at each working group meeting it was requested that plans were 'firmed
up' when in actual fact the fundamentals never changed from 14.9 event
22.9.2000 We sent letter of concern to JH on, a direct response was never received
26.9.2000 EfL issued letter to all members of working groups outlining responsibility
of GLA as event organiser -
28.9.2000 Meetings to resolve crowd management and midnight moment - EfL to take
recommendations to the Mayor.
At this time no one had yet taken responsibility for crowd management, 10
Alps clearly stated that we would not take responsibility, but no-one was
saying they would.
Midnight moment - strong recommendation was still that there shouldn't be
one - 10Alps made it clear that they were contracted to provide one and
without it there would be no sponsor.
EfL would not give clear direction from these meetings but went to take
recommendations to the Mayor for his decision
4.10.2000 Operational Planning Meeting - JH confirmed the Mayor had given the go
ahead for the event - but scaled down to address safety concerns'
Still no clear direction who is taking responsibility for crowd management.
18.10.2000 Internal shuffle at GLA re project management, Mike Ricketts assumes
temporary Project Director Role
6.11.2000 Susan and Des exchange letters re what can be achieved at minimum
sponsorship level of circa£500,000
9.11.2000 Susan McLaren verbally advised that the MC would not grant naming
rights for the event unless their grant figure of £1.5 million was matched by
the naming sponsor. 10Alps indicated that sponsor was more than likely to
now pull out, taking associate sponsors too. This situation was later
outlined to the Mayor following the Steering Group meeting at Romney
14.11.2000 GLA issues clear direction for the event, by now this is a fragmented,
hasty compromise of event plans, in effort to salvage situation with little
regards for how event hung together as a whole.
20.11.2000 Termination of Contract
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