As Official Legal Advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we are proud to have a number of people on secondment with the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee (OC), both in the legal team and the legacy team. In this blog we hear from Charlotte Dean, who worked as legal lead for the Ceremonies, Cultural and Queen’s Baton (CCQ) team during her 16 month secondment, and the wide variety of exciting projects she got to work on to help make the Games happen.
Bringing the Games to life during lockdown
It is safe to say the last couple of years have been a whirlwind. I officially qualified on 2 March 2020 and joined the Commercial, IT and Outsourcing (CITO) team as an associate, and straight away went on secondment with the legal team at Birmingham 2022. However, it wasn’t quite the start I expected, as I had just qualified, started my secondment and then we pretty much went straight into lockdown, so that was tough. But I had lots of work to get on with, starting with a £4 million contract for the sports presentation supplier for the medal ceremonies!
Having settled into my new role, I became the legal lead for data protection work, drafting various policies and drafting and negotiating data sharing agreements with Birmingham 2022 partners. I also took the lead on marketing legal activity, meaning any campaign or competition the marketing team wanted to fulfil would come to me. As part of this, I got to work on the data protection aspects of, and T&Cs for, the nomination process for the Hometown Heroes initiative, which asked people to nominate those who deserve recognition for their dedication to grassroots sport in their communities.
One of the most exciting projects was being the lead on the legal aspects of the project to create the Games’ mascot. This involved working on the mascot design competition, the virtual mascot summit and supporting the launch of Perry the Bull, the mascot inspired by Birmingham’s Bull Ring market area and named after Perry Barr, the area home to the Alexander Stadium. Perry was brought to life on social via an augmented reality filter, and I advised on the design licence for this too.
Everyone looks out for the mascot at major sporting events, so it was special to be involved in Perry’s journey from conception to his big arrival back in March. Guz Khan was a key part of Perry’s launch, and his was one of a number of talent agreements I negotiated, along with agreements for the likes of Adam Peaty, Lady Leshurr and Katrina Johnson-Thompson.
Providing a gold standard service
All athletes competing at the Games want to take home a medal, and my secondment saw me lead on the procurement for the design and build of the medal, which included a design competition with students. I also led on the innovative procurement process for the Queen’s Baton, which involved a procurement run design competition, with the winner going on to also fabricate the Baton that travels across the Commonwealth in the Queen’s Baton Relay in the run up to the Games. The Baton will be launched by The Queen in October 2021, and I can’t wait to see that.
Come Games time, it’s the volunteers that really make a difference in bringing the multi-sport event to life. One of the biggest tasks for the OC is the recruitment of some 13,000 volunteers to become part of The Commonwealth Collective. I worked with the workforce and volunteer team to put the volunteering application together, focusing on a privacy notice all applicants had to agree to and the creation of a volunteer pledge. I took advice from our employment team on this to make sure that worker status of the volunteers was correct, to ensure that the OC was protected once the volunteers were in place. This was a massive project with a tight deadline, and it’s great to now see applicants undergoing their selection interviews.
Most recently, I drafted and negotiated the contracts for the core ceremonies creative team that will be responsible for the Games’ Opening and Closing Ceremonies, which includes Steven Knight CBE, the creator and writer of the Peaky Blinders.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
Throughout my time at the OC, I also worked on projects ranging from advising on data protection for the Birmingham 2022 merchandising website to drafting research and development agreements and grant agreements supporting Birmingham 2022’s Cultural programme. Now I am back with my CITO team and finally getting to meet them face-to-face, and I can’t help but reflect on an incredible time at the OC.
To take on this experience just a few days after qualifying was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The Games is such a fast-paced environment with an immovable deadline and multiple projects happening at once, and unlike anything I had ever experienced, especially as most of it took place during lockdown too. I’m lucky to still be supporting the OC on its data protection work, and finalising the core ceremonies creative team contracts. I can’t wait now for the Games to happen next summer and see it all come to life. I am so proud to have played a part in an event showcasing the best of Birmingham and it is a privilege to contribute to the delivery of a Commonwealth Games.