British Olympic Association

Public Relations Example to secure London’s 2012 Olympic bid for Great Britain.


The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the national Olympic body for the United Kingdom. It is responsible for selecting and taking members of Team GB to the Olympic Games, and for supporting and encouraging elite sports in Olympic disciplines. The BOA wished to mount a bid to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London but knew that such a bid would only succeed with active support from the government, the Mayor of London, and the opposition political parties.

Our Strategy

By commencing an early dialogue with Ministers and with officials at the Department of Culture Media and Sport and the 10 Downing Street Policy Unit we were able to work to support the BOA in identifying the concerns and objections the government might have to the proposal. We organised a political lobbying initiative to identify, approach and brief the key Conservative and Liberal Democrat Spokespersons in both Houses of Parliament, and managed the regular submission of briefing notes to Parliamentarians prior to relevant debates in both Houses. We created opportunities for the BOA to disseminate its arguments about the tremendous benefits to the whole of the UK economy that a successful bid would bring, and helped them to convince the government that the Prime Minister could confidently personally endorse the bid, despite its huge financial cost, because of the professionalism and thoroughness with which the BOA were preparing the detail of the project.


Over a period of three years of sensitive political lobbying and other behind-the-scenes work, the Government was persuaded that it could proceed confidently to endorse the Bid in the knowledge that it would have the support of the Mayor of London, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, as well as the overwhelming majority of MPs and Peers and the people of London. In July 2005, after an inspiring campaign by the bid team, the International Olympic Committee announced its selection of London as the host city of the 2012 Olympic Games. Whitehouse is proud of the part we played in bringing the Games to London.

…the BOA undertook a major political lobbying exercise to convince government and opposition parties of the merits of launching a London bid for 2012 Olympic Games.

The political strategy required detailed planning and careful execution if it was to stand any chance of success. Christopher Whitehouse’s guidance in this respect was fundamental to the outcome. A variety of mechanisms were used to engage cross party key decision makers and opinion formers across the whole spectrum impacted on by this multifaceted project, effectively every department of government. There is little doubt that without Christopher’s detailed understanding of Parliament and Whitehall and his excellent contacts that the project would have struggled to get off the ground.

To him and all his colleagues at The Whitehouse Consultancy we are most grateful.