The equalities watchdog is in talks with the organisation building the facilities for the 2012 London Olympics about ways of ensuring that east London’s diverse small firms benefit from contracts related to the 2012 Games, it emerged last week.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report published last week says there are still “constraints that could limit the ability of (ethnic minority, women and disabled people’s) businesses to win contracts” in Olympic boroughs.

Speaking at an equality and diversity forum organised by the British Urban Regeneration Association and consultancy Ecotec, Bura chief executive Michael Ward said that he understood that the EHRC was working with the Olympic Delivery Authority to focus on obtaining good practice from contractors and suppliers in terms of procurement diversity.

“They have a particular pilot around the Olympics site to make that happen,” Ward said. The pilot is likely to make an effort to procure ethnic minority, women and disabled people’s businesses, he said.

Ward added that it was “quite important” that the pilot should be rolled out across the country if it turned out to be successful.

An EHRC spokeswoman confirmed that the body was discussing the issue with the Olympic Delivery Authority. But she said that there were “no formal arrangements” as yet to focus on obtaining good practice from contractors and suppliers.

A report last year by the EHRC’s predecessor, the Commission for Racial Equality, found that regeneration was failing its race equality duty (R&R, 14 September 2007, p1). It added that the Olympic Games had “yet to show any real progress in making procurement, training and jobs available to local people”.