G4S solely to blame for eleventh hour Olympic security fiasco says Home Affairs Committee

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The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has deliberated evidence presented by LOCOG and G4S and has concluded that the security company is solely to blame for the Olympic security “eleventh hour fiasco”.

It has published a report today and believes that G4S should forego its £57 million management fee, and also suggests that it should make payments, by way of an apology, to those applicants which completed the training and the accreditation process but were not rostered to work because of G4S’ management failings.

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, chair of the committee, said: “Far from being able to stage two Games on two continents at the same time, as they recklessly boasted, G4S could not even stage one. The largest security company in the world, providing a contract to their biggest UK client, turned years of carefully laid preparations into an eleventh hour fiasco.

“The data the company provided to the Olympic Security Board was at best unreliable, at worst downright misleading. Twenty-four hours before they admitted their failure, Nick Buckles met with the Home Secretary and did not bother to inform her that they were unable to deliver on their contract, even though he knew about the shortfall a week before.

“Because of the swift actions of the MOD, Home Office and LOCOG, London enjoyed a safe and secure games. The taxpayer must not pay for G4S’s mistakes. G4S should waive its £57 million management fee and also compensate its staff and prospective staff who it treated in a cavalier fashion. Their decision not to bid for Rio 2016 is the right one.”

The report states that a combination of flawed management information and poor communication with applicants and staff meant that G4S senior management had no idea how badly wrong their operation was going until it was too late to retrieve it. The committee also says that G4S continued to give false reassurances, based on poor-quality data, to LOCOG, the Home Office and other partners involved in the operation until a very late stage in the process.

As a result, it recommends that armed forces personnel should be considered as possible security providers for future major events, and that the Government should maintain a central register of high-risk companies which have failed in the delivery of public services, to inform future procurement decisions.

A statement, issued by G4s in response to the Home Affairs Committee report, reads: “The board and management of G4S have taken responsibility for the inability of the company to deliver, in full, on the Olympic security contract and apologise for this failure.

“As previously announced the company, supported by PwC, is conducting a review to determine in detail what went wrong with the execution of the contract and specifically why the contract execution issues were not identified on a more timely basis. This review is nearing completion and the findings will be considered by the board and then announced within the next 10 days.

“G4S has announced that it estimates that it will incur a loss on this contract in the region of £50 million. This includes an estimate for the additional costs incurred for the deployment of the increased military and police and penalties and liabilities due under the terms of the contract. It has consistently made clear that the British taxpayer will not bear any additional costs.

“As explained by both G4S and LOCOG to the Committee, the £57 million ‘management fee’ is not a profit. It relates substantially to real costs which have been incurred such as wages, property and IT expenditure. The final financial settlement is currently under discussion with LOCOG.

“G4S recognises that some candidates will not have received the level of service that they should expect during the recruitment of security officers for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. G4S has already agreed a process, in conjunction with the GMB Union, for compensating those candidates who completed training and accreditation or made a significant journey through the recruitment process, but were unable to work at the games. The process for handling these enquiries has already begun.

“The company acknowledges and regrets the serious failing of not identifying the workforce shortfall at an earlier date. As soon as the company knew that it could not assure the full workforce numbers in the build up to the Games, the relevant people at LOCOG and the Home Office were informed.

“G4S has a longstanding track record of delivering on Government contracts to a consistently high standard. Everyone connected with the company is extremely disappointed that G4S was unable to deliver on its full commitments on this contract, but this does not reflect the high standards G4S delivers continuously in its other work for the UK Government every day.

“The board and the management of G4S would like to reiterate their thanks to the members of the military and police. They would also like to take this opportunity to recognise the hard work and dedication of the thousands of G4S staff who worked alongside them.”