My Lords, I shall speak to Amendments 1 and 6 on accessibility, standing in my name on the Marshalled List. I thank noble Lords from all sides of the House for signing these amendments. I will also address Amendment 5 in my name on the social charter and briefly speak to government Amendment 4 on reporting.
It may be helpful to your Lordships if I briefly update the House on progress made on the amendments I have tabled, not least because it could shorten matters and simplify the debate. I am conscious that I have asked for considerable detail on accessibility to be placed in the Bill; I will address this first. My objective is for the Government to take seriously all the issues raised so far on accessibility, both in Committee and at Second Reading before that. It has never been clear to me that, despite good words, previous Commonwealth Games have followed to the letter the modern-day accessibility norms that one would expect, particularly for disabled athletes and spectators, and I think we will hear more of that during the debate today.
If I can persuade the Minister that the issues I have raised can be referred back to the Games committee as part of the report that the Minister has brought into the legislation in a new government amendment, I hope I will be satisfied that that process is the best way forward. At the moment, unless we had a letter or some form of outline detail as to what the House was looking for, the amendment could be interpreted as a little thin and capable of not engendering the sort of detailed analysis that we in your Lordships’ House would be looking for.
This has been an important issue to me for many years. Indeed, back in 1988, as Minister for Sport, I convened a working party that published a report called Building on Ability. That was the first—albeit gradual—policy shift by the Sports Council towards the mainstreaming of disability sport. We are now nearly 30 years on from that. It should be at the heart of hosting any mega sporting event in this country that we put the interests of those with disabilities at the forefront of our thinking from the day we begin constructing the various facilities to the end of the closing ceremony.
On accessibility, I appreciate that there are now, fortuitously and rightly, a number of Acts on the statute book, including the Equality Act 2010, and that as a public body the organising committee is already bound to comply with a number of statutory requirements, not least in that Act. However, I hope the organising committee goes further and draws up a comprehensive accessibility strategy, and that in drawing it up it will listen carefully to what noble Lords on all sides of the House have said during the passage of this Bill through Parliament.
I make reference in Amendment 6 to the International Paralympic Committee’s accessibility guide. It is regularly updated—it was updated for Sochi—and it is important to focus on what it seeks to achieve. The principles, the solutions and the practices used to make any host city and all Games-related infrastructure and services accessible and inclusive must create a culture of inclusion. That will then influence and change, in the long term, the way the public think and the way in which public facilities and services are designed, operated and delivered. We must strive for a world where universal accessibility is more than a goal—it must be the norm—and sport can have an important role in seeking to achieve that objective.
The key issues that I hope would be in any report presented by the organising committee under the Government’s proposed amendment include accessibility standards, Paralympic requirements and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and how those rights have been implemented at all stages of the organising committee’s work. If your Lordships’ House agrees with a report to Parliament that includes those items, I look forward to hearing from my noble friend the Minister whether that will ensure that the report will be both comprehensive and meet the objectives that I have set out in the early stages of the Bill and which other noble Lords will set out today.
I hope that we will also take into account Envision2030. The 17 goals embedded in Envision2030 to transform the world for persons with disabilities are a welcome step forward on the 17 sustainable development goals. While I think I am correct in saying from memory that disability is not expressly stated as a sustainable development goal, building on the principle of leaving no one behind would be a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all. I welcome the Envision2030 17 goals and I hope the organising committee will take them into account when it addresses its report to Parliament.
Turning to the rest of this full group of amendments—we will have done most of the work on this Bill by the time we have finished the first two groups —the charter for the Games, to which I have referred and spoken at length about, is in Amendment 5. I take the same approach to that as I have done with regard to the Minister’s amendment. That seeks to ensure that those writing the report from the organising committee take into account Commonwealth Games values. It is a generic and broad phrase and I hope that if the Minister accepts that comments made from all sides of the House that are more specific and relevant to a charter for the Games are reported on, we will have made considerable progress and I would support it.
The sport vision of these Games is, effectively, a Commonwealth Games Federation vision—that through sport we can create peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities across the Commonwealth and that the Games are a catalyst for that action. Beneath that, there is a Commonwealth support impact framework. It established a number of aims: structuring; assessing; communicating; and ultimately driving the positive impact that the Games can have across diverse societies, economies and physical environments. I hope there will be a focus in that report on the work of the charter on sustainability and social, environmental and economic well-being. I shall not go through the details that were covered at greater length at earlier stages of the Bill, but I believe that it is inherently important in a social charter for the state to a have a duty to protect human rights, for there to be a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and for there to be access to remedy. All those are relevant to any mega sporting event which receives significant funding from government. They are values and goals. They are the UN guiding principles on business and human rights, and we should be seeking to embed them in the preparation for the Games and in what I hope will be an outstanding Commonwealth Games.
I have one final point to make on the Government’s amendment on the report. One of the issues that came out of the London 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games—I declare an interest having been chairman of the British Olympic Association at that time and having worked with my noble friend Lord Coe on the London organising committee and the Olympic board—is that legacy does not just happen immediately after the Games. Legacy can take up to 10 years to reach fulfilment. The urban regeneration legacy, which is an important component part, can come into being much quicker than the sports legacy, which takes much longer.
The final report is being requested from the organising committee only a matter of months after the end of the Games. I would much prefer to learn more about the effectiveness of the legacy one year, or even five years, down the road. In the spirit of being extremely helpful, I know what officials will immediately say to the Minister—the organising committee will have been wound up, so who would do this work? However it is worth reflecting, if possible, that we should have an opportunity further down the road to look at these Games to see whether they have met the objectives on legacy, accessibility and all the detail covered in that report. A one-off Select Committee of your Lordships’ House did that for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Should that trend continue, I hope the Birmingham Commonwealth Games would be a suitable subject for your Lordships’ House to study in detail.
When hosting a mega sporting event in this country it is as important to have a wonderful celebration of sport and recreation for able-bodied and disabled athletes as it is to have a legacy from all the investment that is made in the community in infrastructure, the redevelopment of run-down parts of our cities and the wider sporting benefit for the length and breadth of this country, not just in the immediate area of Birmingham. I look forward to hearing what other noble Lords have to say on this, and I beg to move.
My Lords, I have not spoken on the Bill before now, but it is not often that I gasp loudly enough from below Bar for colleagues to turn round to look at me. I was listening to the debate in Committee on the amendments on accessibility tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and he made a remark about specifically mentioning accessibility and disability rather than just scooping things up in “any other purpose”. In his reply, the noble Lord, Lord Ashton —I think he might have missed the point that the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, was trying to make—said of disability and access:
“The trouble is that that might be what my noble friend— the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan—
“thinks is the most important thing to sign but many other noble Lords might have other priorities. The whole point of including the words, ‘any other purpose connected to … the Games’, is that it covers everything and individuals’ personal priorities are not put on the face of the Bill”.—[
I gasped because, of all the protected characteristics, disability has very special provisions under the Equality Act. That is because people with that protected characteristic—in this case, athletes, spectators or people trying to use services—have the most difficulty in accessing the sports that they want to take part in, in whatever form. The point that the Minister unwittingly made said to me that we needed something specific in the Bill for the exact reason that too many people assume that, if you mainstream it along with other protected characteristics, everybody knows what you mean.
I declare my interest as a former trustee of UNICEF. I was at the opening ceremony of the Glasgow Games and I have also been to a number of Soccer Aid games in recent years. At the Glasgow opening ceremony, Celtic Park met the accessible stadia requirements but was not accessible to this person, who was supposed to be a VIP hosting other guests, because there was no access to the VIP suite for people in wheelchairs. Worse than that, there were no wheelchair spaces in any of the directors’ boxes areas, so my daughter and I had to sit in a completely different area from the one used by the people we had come to host. That seems utterly ridiculous. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games did not quite meet the level of accessibility of the 2012 Games in many ways but it was considerably better than many others.
The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, who cannot be in her place today, has also read Hansard and is very concerned. She has sent me five pages of bullet points, listing things that could be improved; I will spare your Lordships the details. I am very grateful to the Minister’s office for writing to ask whether there are any particular issues that we would like to take up. Both the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, and I would like to do that because we have specific points to raise, although they are not for this Report stage.
To try to illustrate the problems, I have picked three points that the noble Baroness has made about toilets. The first is that there are virtually no Changing Places toilets. There is now a mobile Changing Places toilet that, very unusually, can be hired, but such facilities are absolutely vital for some athletes, as well as for some spectators. She also points out that she cannot remember a time when there have not been accessible toilets for anti-doping purposes. That needs to be considered, because at football stadia you would not expect to have accessible toilets for anti-doping purposes for athletes. There also needs to be consideration of the provision of disabled toilets and whether they are truly accessible for spectators, both close to the seating areas and in the areas where people are likely to eat.
Regarding the accessibility of food outlets, the counters are high—they are designed for people who are standing up. The noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, says—I agree with her—that you have to hand your card over to someone to make a payment for you as you cannot see the card reader. You have to place your trust entirely in the hands of a stranger.
The subject of hotels goes well beyond the issue of stadia. It concerns services—in this case, in Birmingham and its surrounding area. A well-known disabled campaigner tweeted fairly recently that she had booked a fully accessible room with a shower seat. She arrived to discover that the hotel did not have a room of that description and she had to borrow a plastic garden chair from the hotel in order to take a shower. There are questions over whether an accessible room is actually accessible. I am usually very complimentary about Premier Inn but half of its accessible rooms have baths with showers over them. Some disabled people can access them but others cannot.
These may seem tedious, detailed points but the important thing about 2012 was that the whole of London, including the tourist industry, got to grips with every single issue, including: dropped kerbs, more ramps, people with visual impairments sitting on the ends of rows, and training the Game Changer volunteers so that if they saw someone with a disability they would ask, “Can I help you? What can I do to make your visit better?”.
I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, for tabling his amendments. I too will listen with care to what the Minister says; I am not yet quite as confident. We need to ensure that the onus is on the organising committee, the city of Birmingham and the transport hubs that people will use; whether you arrive at the Commonwealth Games as an elite athlete, a spectator or a visitor just trying to use services, we must follow the law under the Equality Act and the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people in these Games.
My Lords, that was a very valuable intervention by the noble Baroness. I hope that her speech and the Minister’s response will be communicated to the organising committee; clearly, if we are to make a success of these Games, we need to ensure that the sorts of risks identified by the noble Baroness for the city of Birmingham and from other Games are averted.
In supporting the noble Lord, I come back to the point that he raised about the Minister’s Amendment 4 on annual reporting. First, I welcome the amendment, which very much responds to the debate in Committee. Also, to pick up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, the last reporting period ends on
My Lords, I come in as a tail-end Charlie on this. On the subject of disability, no matter the Long Title of the Bill, the positive experience of London 2012 hangs over it; it was a great cultural success and, as a result, the level of expectation has risen. To use flower show standards, it got its gold; everything else is expected to be at least a silver gilt. We have raised the bar and we must make sure that this level is maintained. Part of that is making sure that people know what their duties are and that people outside know what they are expected to do. Amendment 4 is a step towards this and makes my Amendment 9 totally superfluous. However, we need to know what comes with it.
When the Minister speaks again, I encourage him to guide us—and make sure that Hansard has it—to where we can find out what these duties are, so that people can look them up. If you have responsibilities that nobody knows about, and nobody knows where to check, those responsibilities die. This is the experience with lots of legislation on disability generally: if you do not know that you are supposed to do it, you do not do it; if you do not know that someone should have done it, you do not report them or pull them up on it. It is one of those patterns. There is lots of dust-gathering legislation to which this has happened. I hope the Minister will take this opportunity to let us know what is going on.
The Minister has listened. He has done something that on the face of it makes things better, but how it relates to the regulation and the stuff behind it is the real question here. I hope I am not encouraging him to speak until this time next week, but we need a guide to what is going on and how this will be implemented. If we get that, many of the problems that we are having will probably occur less frequently, although there is no silver bullet.
I too have the information from the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson. It is probably as good a description of all life’s little irritations writ large as you could possibly want. Nothing stops people taking part; it just takes the edge off it every time. We did not do that in London. We should make sure that we try to meet the standard wherever we can. I hope the Minister will tell us the legal situation on that, the penalties for it and how to make sure that if anyone is not coming up to standard, they know about it and so does the rest of the world.
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, said, this is actually the heart of the debate we have been having on the Games, concentrated in one very small group of amendments. As he says, it may well be that we can take all the tricks that are on the table—if that metaphor actually works—at the same time if we get this right. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Addington, said, that will largely depend on the Minister’s response because a lot of this is about how we judge the need to ensure that the legislation that goes through this House—and, presumably, very quickly through the other place thereafter—contains the minimum requirements appropriate for Games of this scale and stature. As I have mentioned before, it is important to note that these Games, unlike the others that we have looked at before, are very much in the direct control of the Government because the organising committee will be a non-departmental public body and the accounting officer of the department will therefore have legal and statutory responsibilities, as well as those that we might want to have placed on the organising committee and its staff in the approach to any other Games.
We want to ensure that the requirements are appropriate but not an undue burden on the organising committee in its main role, which is to produce a brilliant Games for the audience and the participants, to make sure that there is an appropriate and long-lasting urban regeneration programme for the people of Birmingham, and that we have a legacy—a point that has been made by others who have spoken—that is not just immediate but long-lasting and affects the culture and health of everyone in this country as a result of seeing, and possibly experiencing, the Games. That is a big ask for legislation that is just a few words on a piece of paper, but the issue can be addressed.
I turn to Amendment 8, which is in the name of my noble friend Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, but I confess that I had a hand in it. It follows from the point made in Committee that we are not thinking widely enough if we restrict our concern to how the Games are received across the country, and indeed across the world, and do not think about the broadcasting element. This issue came up recently in relation to cricket but it has much wider resonance. The way that this country deals with listed events sometimes runs counter to a common-sense approach to what should be available to people, particularly in this case. I say this without in any sense trying to use it as an excuse. If the Government are taking responsibility for funding a proportion of the Games, they must also take on the responsibility of relating to the people who are paying for them through taxation. One way in which they could discharge that responsibility is by making the Games accessible through free-to-air terrestrial television, but that would require a change to the rules on the listing of events. The amendment therefore seeks to press the Government to look again at the way in which Ofcom deals with that and, if necessary, to amend or impose conditions relating to the broadcasting of the Games on a free-to-air basis. I look forward to the Government’s response.
That is the method that I want to use to test whether government Amendment 4, to which the Minister will speak shortly, meets the issues that have been raised throughout the House, including by the noble Lords, Lord Moynihan and Lord Addington, my noble friend Lord Hunt and the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, in a very moving speech. If we are to place all our hopes on the Government’s amendment to ensure that the annual reports are extended or carried on in legacy terms by Birmingham City Council, as my noble friend Lord Hunt said, the annual reporting specified needs to be sufficient to capture the spirit laid out in the amendments from the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and others.
Amendment 4 says that the report must include certain elements about the delivery of the Games and details of how they promote the values of the Commonwealth Games Federation, which, as has already been mentioned, includes a huge amount of additional activity. I accept all that; the Commonwealth Games has done a great deal of work on these issues, which is reflected in the values. However, I hope the Minister will recognise that proposed new subsection (2)(c) simply refers to,
“details of what the Organising Committee has done to ensure that Games events are accessible to disabled people”.
The wording used by the noble Lords, Lord Moynihan and Lord Addington, and the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, in Amendment 5 is much more appropriate. I am not seeking a change to the wording, but I wonder whether the Minister recognises the very obvious point that by not mentioning that the Games participants will include disabled people, and all that implies, the question remains as to why that wording is not used. The simple reference to “accessible” does not pick up the richness of the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, in the absence of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson. However, the recommendations could be improved if we had more of a sense of what will be in the charter.
On sustainability, the amendment framed by the noble Lord on behalf of the Government refers at subsection (2)(d) to,
“details of what the Organising Committee has done to promote sustainability”.
However, if we read across, the charter refers not just to sustainability but to specific development goals and COP 21. It is therefore much richer and more engaged with what the issues are about.
I will not go through all these points, but I accept, as I think noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, does, that if we got behind Amendment 4 and it became the main focus of what we are trying to achieve in setting standards for the Games that are not burdensome but will reflect the importance of human rights, the elimination of fraud and corruption, the carrying out of sustainable development activities, and most particularly—because it is the most important aspect—the acceptance that these Games reflect the totality of human existence, whether able or disabled in terms of performance, and that they therefore must be accessible to all, not just in terms of physical presence but on broadcasting media, then I think we will be moving in the right direction. But it is important that we hear from the Minister whether he thinks the amendment, as drafted, does that. If not, might he be prepared to reflect on what has been said during this short debate and bring it back at Third Reading in a slightly better form to reflect the issues raised here?
My Lords, I am very grateful for the opportunity to discuss these amendments and for noble Lords’ constructive comments. I should say right at the beginning that I have been struck all the way through the passage of the Bill by the fact that there is cross-party consensus that this is a good idea, that the Games will provide a tremendous opportunity for the West Midlands and Birmingham, and that amendments from noble Lords are, as I said at Second Reading, trying to improve the Bill. I am taking this on board seriously. That is why we have made some changes and amendments, and I hope that by the end of my remarks, with some further reassurance, that will be adequate. I am also sorry that I might go on a bit, but it is important to get some things on the record. I will address all the amendments.
We support the intention behind these amendments, as I said, and the paramount importance of delivering Games that are fully accessible to everyone. I turn to the amendments, in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Griffiths, Lord Moynihan and Lord Addington, and the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, on accessibility first. As accessibility is already at the forefront of Games planning, I do not agree that all the amendments are necessary on the face of this Bill, and I will explain why.
First, however, I want to first address the comments that I made in Committee on this issue. The noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, kindly gave me advance notice that I may have suggested that I do not consider accessibility to be of great importance. I want to be clear that that is absolutely not the case. In this vein, I hope now to provide the necessary assurance that accessibility is at the core of these Games. I say to the noble Baroness that, if I gave that misleading impression, it is my fault and that is a lesson learnt that we have to be very careful in our language, even if we are doing it on spec, as it were. I hope that this will reassure the noble Baroness.
As several noble Lords have said, the organising committee is already bound to comply with a number of statutory requirements. Most notably, the organising committee is subject to the requirements in the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate on the grounds of disability and to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled people seeking to access Games events. The organising committee is also subject to the public sector equality duty. There are strong enforcement powers in the Equality Act 2010, and a person who has been subject to discrimination, harassment or victimisation can seek redress through the courts and tribunals. Additionally, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has powers to require that employers and service providers cease any discriminatory practices and make changes that are necessary to prevent future discrimination or non-compliance.
However, regardless of statute, the organising committee is committed to delivering an accessible Games and to hosting a fully integrated competition. Indeed, the Commonwealth Games’s unique approach of an integrated parasport programme underscores the Commonwealth Games Federation’s long-standing commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, and the Commonwealth Games Federation’s co-ordination commission reviews accessibility as part of its scrutiny on the planning and delivery of the Games. The organising committee will also develop an accessibility strategy, which will define the guidelines for accessibility across the entire Games to include spectators, athletes, media, broadcasters, the Games workforce and volunteers.
In addressing the concerns raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, I want to reassure the House that, in developing the strategy, the organising committee will consider the lessons learned from previous Games, including formal knowledge transfer through the Commonwealth Games Federation as well as lessons from other major sporting events.
Before the Minister leaves that point, can he also ask the organising committee, when it is in the process of developing this welcome accessibility strategy, to take fully into account the points made on the Floor of the House today, and the letter from the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, which I am sure will be of assistance to it in developing that strategy?
Can I come to that later? I certainly will bear that in mind.
My officials have made the Birmingham Organising Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation aware of the issues raised by the noble Baroness. We take this very seriously, we do not want similar concerns raised about the Birmingham Games and we would be happy to continue engaging with the noble Baroness on this matter. Further, in developing this strategy, the organising committee will establish a disability forum, which will include disability specialists, charities and regional organisations, to ensure that venues and services are designed, operated and delivered so that everyone has a positive Games experience. The organising committee is happy to listen to the views of noble Lords as this strategy is developed. Once it is available, the strategy will be published on the committee’s website, and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Recognising the strength of feeling in the House, the Government also wish to place accessibility on the face of the legislation. That is why the Government have brought forward Amendments 3, 4, 10 and 11, which require the organising committee to report annually on the details of what it has done to ensure Games events are accessible to disabled people. This report will be laid before Parliament. I will come to those amendments later.
I turn to subsection (3) of the new clause proposed in Amendment 8, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, on accessibility relating to the list of designated sporting events, as mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson. We want as many people as possible to experience the Games. The organising committee is looking to maximise the audience by exploiting a range of platforms. As the Commonwealth Games is a listed event, broadcasting rights must already be offered to the qualifying free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters on fair and reasonable terms. There is nothing to prevent free-to-air channels bidding successfully to show live coverage of group B events, as with the BBC’s live coverage of the Gold Coast Games and ITV’s forthcoming exclusive coverage of all 48 matches at this year’s Rugby World Cup. Indeed, the Commonwealth Games has been in group B since the list was compiled in 1998 and has had excellent live coverage for many years on free-to-air television. We believe that group B is the correct listing for the Games, helping to enable extensive free-to-air coverage for the nation and allowing the organising committee to agree live free-to-air coverage as it sees fit.
Further, reconsidering which group the Commonwealth Games sits in would not be appropriate at this time. The organising committee is already in the middle of a competitive commercial process with potential rights holders. These negotiations may not be concluded until next year. Any changes to the listed events regime during this process could significantly and detrimentally affect those negotiations. Finally, contrary to the drafting of this amendment, Ofcom does not hold the responsibility for amending the listed events regime; that power rests with the Secretary of State. The organising committee would be very happy to discuss its approach in all these areas with interested Peers. I hope that I have been able to further reassure noble Lords of the organising committee’s strong commitment to accessibility and to delivering a truly integrated and inclusive Games in 2022.
I turn to Amendment 5, on a charter for the Games. I make it clear that I agree with the spirit of this amendment, which highlights a range of important matters, but we do not consider it necessary to put the charter on the face of the Bill. As I have said before, the organising committee is merely the custodian of the Games for the next three years. It is the role of the Commonwealth Games Federation to set the level of expectation from a host city. That is why the federation is working with hosts of the Games to support delivery of its vision, mission and values.
As I will come to discuss, the Government will require the organising committee to report on what it has done to ensure that its delivery of the Games promotes the values of the Commonwealth Games Federation. As such, the values of the federation provide an important foundation for the government amendment on reporting and represent a further mechanism to ensure the organising committee upholds and delivers on these important values. In promoting these values, the organising committee is wholly committed to protecting human rights, tackling corruption and promoting sustainability.
Indeed, I am pleased to confirm that the organising committee is developing a Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games social values charter, which will be published in due course. The charter will include policies on equality, human rights and anti-corruption, and objectives on legacy delivery, reflecting the values of the Commonwealth Games Federation. Such a charter will underline the committee’s commitment to delivering a Games which builds on the matters set out in noble Lords’ amendments. I know that the organising committee would again be happy to engage further with Peers on this.
As I mentioned earlier—my noble friend Lord Moynihan also mentioned this, and the noble Lord, Lord Addington, alluded to it as well—the organising committee is already required to comply with the Equality Act 2010, the Bribery Act 2010, the Fraud Act 2006, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other health and safety legislation, the Human Rights Act and the Public Services (Social Value) Act. In addition, the organising committee will include a requirement in all its contracts for suppliers to comply with its social values charter, once published. Recently, the organising committee also agreed a modern slavery statement, which will be published on its new website. I hope I have demonstrated that many of the issues in Amendment 5 are covered by existing statute or are already being proactively considered by the organising committee.
I hope that my noble friend Lord Moynihan recognises that the organising committee is already taking great strides in this area—for example, with the development of a social value charter. The requirement that I have outlined will ensure that the committee reports on what it has done to promote the values of the Commonwealth Games Federation. Therefore, we think the Government’s amendment is a good compromise on the issue. However, I am pleased to give the further reassurance to my noble friend that I shall write to the organising committee to stress the importance of ensuring that it addresses all the issues raised by noble Lords in this debate, including the accessibility guidance issued by the International Paralympic Committee, in preparing its statutory report. Going a little further in that respect speaks also to the issue raised by the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson.
I am grateful also for Amendment 9, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Addington, which I consider is addressed by the government amendments. I think he alluded to the fact that he agrees with that, so I shall spare the House some words.
The government amendments will place a statutory requirement on the organising committee to report annually on its functions and the progress made towards delivery of the Games, and for the report to be laid before Parliament. This will ensure that there is a single source of information about what the organising committee has done to prepare, addressing the matters raised by the noble Lord, Lord Addington. The amendments also reflect a number of other matters that this House and the Government consider important. I want quickly to mention some of them because they refer to comments made by noble Lords.
As I explained earlier in responding to my noble friend Lord Moynihan on the charter, we will require the organising committee to report on what it has done to ensure delivery of Commonwealth Games Federation values—I gave some additional reassurance on that. As the report will be laid in Parliament, noble Lords will be able to hold the organising committee to account on those values.
On accessibility, to address points raised by noble Lords in their amendments, it will be a statutory requirement of the organising committee to report on what it has done to ensure that Games events are accessible for disabled people, whether competitors, spectators or officials. Having those annual reports will allow noble Lords and others to look at progress made before the Games. It will not just be a question of waiting for the Games to happen and seeing whether something is wrong; proactive steps can be taken.
On sustainability, the Games partners are committed to embedding sustainability. I acknowledge the interest expressed in that—the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, mentioned it. The organising committee is in the process of developing a Games-wide sustainability plan. When this is published, I will place a copy in the House Library.
On legacy, as I said in the House previously, in delivering this event we must maximise the benefits for the city, the region, the country and the wider Commonwealth. There was agreement across the House that this was extremely important, which is why the Government have brought forward a requirement for the organising committee to report on the steps taken to maximise the Games benefits. However, responsibility does not sit solely with the organising committee. All Games partners will be working together to make sure that there is a lasting legacy from the Games that starts benefiting the people of Birmingham now. Games partners will develop a cross-partner legacy plan which will be published in due course and a copy will be made available.
The government amendment requires a final report to be produced by the organising committee after the Games. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, and my noble friend Lord Moynihan asked what we could do in that regard. I can confirm that the Government will carefully consider who will be best placed to report on the impact of the Games and how, because it is our ambition that the positive effects of the Games are lasting. Both noble Lords were right to point out that the organising committee will not be around to do it. That is a commitment from the Government.
As for keeping the public updated on Games preparations, the organising committee will launch a new website this Saturday, marking three years to go. It will include information on sports and venues, when people can sign up to volunteer at the Games and apply for tickets, and the plans I have outlined. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Addington, is satisfied that there are considerable plans and mechanisms in place to ensure that the organising committee communicates appropriately and effectively and that he will not press his amendment.
I believe that Amendments 3, 4, 10 and 11 in my name strengthen the Bill and address the House’s desire that information on Games delivery is available and accessible. In light of my reassurance to my noble friend Lord Moynihan, I hope he will withdraw his amendment.
My Lords, 24 hours ago I was in Smackover, Arkansas, talking to a 10 year-old, Ramsey Wilson, who could not quite understand why I was leaving to go to London to participate in this debate. She parted by saying, “I hope you get some of what you want”.
I hope that the House is as grateful to the Minister as I am, because the accessibility strategy is very welcome. The disability forum, of which I was unaware, is an important step towards making that accountable to experts in the field. I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, for her contribution, both in writing to me immediately after the last debate and this afternoon on the Floor of the House. The commitment the Minister has given that accessibility will be taken into account, particularly in drafting the accessibility strategy, is very welcome.
On the charter, while it would have been my preference to see that in the Bill—it would send a signal to all future mega events—again, the Minister has given significant commitments that the Government place a high priority on human rights, anti-corruption, fighting modern slavery and the legacy to be delivered. I believe that this is not quite the Commonwealth Games Federation’s responsibility; I think it is the organising committee’s responsibility to translate that into action, as it was in London 2012. To have a 2022 social values charter, however, and for that commitment to be made and supported so strongly by the Government today is another important step in the right direction. I was very pleased to hear the Minister report to the House that all these issues will be considered in detail by the organising committee. We do not always get quite as much as we seek in responses from government on such important issues in sport, so that is exceptionally welcome.
The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, in nodding his assent to what the Minister was saying, echoes my view that it is appropriate to have some forum that gives due consideration to the success or otherwise of legacy post the winding up of the organising committee. It is a welcome commitment made by the Minister. Perhaps the Commonwealth Games Federation could play a role in assisting the Minister in identifying the most appropriate format for that work to be done in, because that federation has a lot to gain from learning the lessons of Birmingham for future cities that will host the Commonwealth Games.
For all those reasons I am exceptionally grateful to my noble friend the Minister for meeting me and for taking into account and responding so positively to the many issues raised by noble Lords on all sides of the House. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 1.
Amendment 1 withdrawn.