The Health Protection Agency (HPA) (currently Public Health England) implemented the Health Protection Event-Based Surveillance (EBS) to provide additional national epidemic intelligence for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games (the Games). We describe EBS and evaluate the system attributes. EBS aimed at identifying, assessing and reporting to the HPA Olympic Coordination Centre (OCC) possible national infectious disease threats that may significantly impact the Games. EBS reported events in England from 2 July to 12 September 2012. EBS sourced events from reports from local health protection units and from screening an electronic application 'HPZone Dashboard' (DB). During this period, 147 new events were reported to EBS, mostly food-borne and vaccine-preventable diseases: 79 from regional units, 144 from DB (76 from both). EBS reported 61 events to the OCC: 21 of these were reported onwards. EBS sensitivity was 95.2%; positive predictive value was 32.8%; reports were timely (median one day; 10th percentile: 0 days - same day; 90th percentile: 3.6 days); completeness was 99.7%; stability was 100%; EBS simplicity was assessed as good; the daily time per regional or national unit dedicated to EBS was approximately 4 hours (weekdays) and 3 hours (weekends). OCC directors judged EBS as efficient, fast and responsive. EBS provided reliable, reassuring, timely, simple and stable national epidemic intelligence for the Games.