The Olympic Delivery Authority has moved to allay fears that new chief executive David Higgins could abandon the search for a programme manager for the London 2012 Games.

Bidders that prequalified for the role had feared that Higgins would follow a procurement route that does not require one, as occurred at Heathrow Terminal 5.

This would have meant that the six bidders would have wasted six months bidding for a non-existent contract. If that occurred those affected would be KBR/Capita, Mace/Davis Langdon, Lend Lease, Amec, Arup/Gardiner & Theobald and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

One source close to the process said that the decision over how to project manage was the most important early decision Higgins had to make.

The source said: “Higgins quite reasonably wants to make his mark on it and it is an opportunity for him to mould it as he wishes. If I were a bidder I’d be sweating a bit.”

One bidder said he had heard that Higgins was taking stock. “We’ve heard that Higgins is taking a look at it. On the one hand he obviously wants to wait until he appoints his senior team but meanwhile it is costing us lots of money.

“We prequalified. There was a list of six and since then we’ve waited and waited. We were definitely led to believe they needed us. If I had to choose one word it would be aggrieved. It’s very frustrating.”

But the ODA remained confident it would appoint a consortium to the role. A spokesperson said: "We will appoint a programme manager."