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G4S must bear the cost of its Olympic failure

21 September 2012

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee publishes a Report on Olympics security.

The Committee concludes that the blame for G4S's failure to come up with the required venue security staff rests firmly and solely with the company itself. A combination of flawed management information and poor communication with applicants and staff mean that G4S senior management had no idea how badly wrong their operation was going until it was too late to retrieve it. G4S continued to give false reassurances, based on poor-quality data, to London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the Home Office and other partners involved in the operation until a very late stage in the process.


The Committee recommends:

  • That G4S should forego its £57 million management fee, to send a strong signal to the British taxpayer, its biggest client in the UK, that it is serious about making good for its mistakes.
  • That the company should make ex gratia payments by way of apology to those applicants who successfully completed the training and accreditation process but were not scheduled for work because of G4S's management failings.
  • That, for future major events, armed forces personnel should be considered as possible security providers from the outset, rather than just a backup, with appropriate recognition and reward for the personnel concerned.
  • That the Government should maintain a central register of high-risk companies who have failed in the delivery of public services, to inform future procurement decisions.

Chair's comments

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. 24 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 £57million 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 Government should learn lessons from this experience and establish a register of high-risk companies that have failed in the delivery of public services."

Further information