POLITICIANS COULD veto the Olympic Delivery Authority's choice of project delivery partner, delaying the 2012 programme by months, it emerged this week.
London 2012's governing Olympic Board, which includes London mayor Ken Livingstone and culture secretary Tessa Jowell, has the power to overturn the ODA decision that is expected this week, the ODA revealed.
And as the board does not have the power to insist on the appointment of one of the other bidders, the ODA would have to restart the procurement process. So far this has taken five months. This could have a damaging knock-on effect on the Olympic programme.
The revelation came as the ODA was stung into defending and detailing its procurement process for the delivery partner after weeks of rumour that some bidders were in secret talks with government.
Last month, Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster wrote to the Chancellor asking whether meetings between the Treasury and the shortlisted delivery partner candidates had taken place. The Treasury replied that it held regular meetings with many organisations but would not reveal details of these, fuelling the rumours.
ODA chief executive David Higgins said: 'The ODA has operated a thorough and detailed evaluation process involving a large team, with no one individual, externally or internally, able to determine the final outcome.' The candidates are: Bechtel, CLM, (CH2MHill, Laing O'Rourke and Mace), Legacy (Bovis Lend Lease/KBR/Capita Symonds) and G3 (Amec, Balfour Beatty and Jacobs).
The winner is expected to be revealed next month.