Why a Scottish Government team began analysing the Glasgow Commonwealth Games legacy – three years in advance

Written by Naomi Larsson on 30 May 2018

With nominations open for the Civil Service Award 2018, we speak to previous winners about their achievements

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games were held in 2014. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

This year saw the end of a decade-long project for Anita Morrison, lead analyst for the Scottish Government’s research programme measuring the impact of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The project, which finished to coincide with the Gold Coast Games, was the first on this scale to analyse the legacy of a major event. Such was its success that in 2015, the legacy policy and analytical team at the Scottish Government won the Analysis and Use of Evidence Civil Service Award.

“For me it was a unique experience,” says Morrison. “The highlight of working on the project was the great creative bunch of people working together. I found that really motivating.”

Though the Glasgow Commonwealth Games were held in 2014, Morrison and her team actually started the project in advance of the Games in 2011. Her role was to “design and deliver an evaluation that hopefully would be of value to our partners in government” and would have an impact on future events. Most significantly, they identified that hosting a large sporting event does not automatically lead to an increase in sports participation.

They also found that, for Glasgow in particular, a major event could push forward regeneration efforts to really ensure the lasting effects of the Games.

“Glasgow did a really good job in terms of using existing infrastructure and embedding the Games in existing strategies,” she says, highlighting positive results from the regeneration efforts in the east end of Glasgow. “The Commonwealth Games provided additional funding, momentum and pace.”

Morrison says the analysis can have a global reach. “It’s of help to any kind of city or country that’s thinking about hosting an event, and particularly thinking about legacy and the [potential] economic and social benefits.”

“We reviewed the evidence of legacy back in 2011, so we were able to shape legacy and spending for Glasgow 2014. We’re now in good place to help and advise others who want to host major events – on what economic social benefits you might get from hosting a major event,” she says.

“I would like to think we’ve made a bit of a step change in the kind of quality and quantity of evidence behind these major events by doing this. For me it's mostly about learning and what we can pass on to others.”

Most recently, their work has been used to develop the European Championships which Glasgow is co-hosting with Berlin.

“That's what all analysts who work with government are looking for – to have an impact and influence in future policy and development,” says Morrison.

She has just started a new role in justice analytical services, and although it’s completely different, she says she’s been able to take a lot of her learning from the Commonwealth Games project with her – particularly the collaborative approach.

“One of our success stories around the Games project was the level of collaboration between our analysts, policy professionals and our delivery colleagues. With lots of people there are lots of different roles, and I think really taking the time to understand and respect people’s roles and responsibilities [is important].”

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Civil Service Awards.

The Civil Service Awards Community is a new section on Civil Service World that aims to celebrate past winners, inspire people to nominate in 2018, and help us all to learn from good practice. If you’ve ever won or been shortlisted for an award, register your interest to hear about future events and projects for awards alumni