London , United Kingdom

The World in a City: The Olympic Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)

May 31, 2012

Ensuring an Olympic Games for everyone through fair and accessible business

Credit: London 2012

During the bid process for the 2012 Olympics, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone described London as “the world in one city.” London’s winning bid pitched the city’s multiculturalism and diversity as major strengths and promised to host the most accessible Games ever. Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate and former Prime Minister of South Africa, supported the bid by calling London “a wonderfully diverse and open city.”

To be ready for the Opening Ceremony, approximately 200,000 will be employed by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). It is LOCOG’s responsibility to ensure the city stands by its commitments to diversity by making the process of getting involved fair and open to all Londoners. Hosting the Games requires an inclusion strategy capable of working on a national scale.

The LOCOG diversity promise

The 2008 LOCOG Diversity and Inclusion Strategy emphasizes that diversity and inclusion must be “an intrinsic part of business life” to create a work culture where everyone feels welcome and respected. The LOCOG strategy incorporates these values into all aspects of its day-to-day business activities – from recruitment to communication, decision-making and procurement.

Critical to the LOCOG’s strategy is its Diversity and Inclusion Business Charter with its supplier promise: “We will be easy to do business with; we will be transparent, and will actively promote diversity and inclusion to everyone we do business with.” It follows in the footsteps of the Greater London Authority’s commitment to socially responsible procurement, a policy that Ken Livingstone called, “a significant opportunity to improve the quality of life of all Londoners through the way in which we buy our goods, works and services.”

All LOCOG’s contracts, tenders and business opportunities are posted on CompeteFor, an online marketplace where any business can register. The transparency and accessibility of LOCOG’s procurement process opens up the supply-chain, improving access for small and minority-run businesses. Over 25% of London’s businesses are BME-owned (Black, Minority, Ethnic people).

LOCOG actively promotes diversity among its suppliers by encouraging them to advertise sub-contracts on CompeteFor as well as checking every potential contractor for an equal opportunities policy. Suppliers are also asked to complete the “Diversity Works for London” (DWFL) online assessment which measures diversity and inclusion performance. DWFL is a Mayoral program that encourages and supports businesses to realize the benefits of London’s diversity. A suite of business support products helps companies to improve performance through the strategic management of diversity. LOCOG was an early adopter and the first organization to receive the Mayor’s “Diversity Works for London” Gold Standard in 2009.

In recruitment, LOCOG Personal Best training program provides opportunities to groups which are under-represented in the workforce, assisting them into long-term, sustainable jobs. Between April and December 2010, 1,164 people received employment support from Personal Best of which 47% were from ethnic minority backgrounds.


LOCOG’s Diversity and Inclusion Business Charter has been described as “a bold and potentially groundbreaking attempt to tackle the issue of diversity in the supply chain” by the Commission for a Sustainable London. By 2011 over 134,000 UK businesses were registered on CompeteFor; 38,683 were London-based, like the Asian-owned RedLine Bus Company from Bedford that is supplying vehicles for the Games. Of these 17.7% were from ethnic minority communities, 20.3% run by women, 1.7% run by owners with a disability and 2% by LGBT people.

LOCOG staff are enthusiastic in their support. One Human Resources employee said, “London can be very proud that those behind the scenes are as culturally diverse as the local communities that make this city so fantastic.”

LOCOG continues to work with partners in UK government and the Rio 2016 Team to lead the sports sector in implementing inclusion policies, “going for gold’ and a lasting legacy beyond 2012.

Making it Work for You:

  • When inclusion and diversity policies are grounded in the city’s commercial realities, compliance by employers, suppliers and contractors is more likely to succeed.
  • Inclusion and supplier diversity charters will be most effective when transparency and accountability are part of the implementation strategy.
  • Goal-setting and performance indicators help mainstream inclusion by making diversity targets measurable and tangible. Recognize your diversity achievements by sharing your success with others.

For this Good Idea contact:

Stephen Frost, The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd (LOCOG)
One Churchill Place
Canary Wharf
London, United Kingdom,
E14 5LN
diversity&inclusion @

Recent Good Ideas

Leamington, Canada
From Survival Jobs to Rich Harvest
Highline Mushrooms  

Brandon, Canada
Industry Leaders Connect to Recruit Newcomers
Maple Leaf Foods  

Halifax, Canada
Welcomed in Halifax
Halifax Regional Municipality  

Toronto, Canada
Eliminating Barriers for Displaced Individuals
WES Gateway Program  

Kuopio, Finland
Encouraging Cities to Bring Locals and Immigrants Together
City of Kuopio  

View all