G4S Boss Acknowledges 'Humiliating Shambles'
The head of the security firm G4S has acknowledged the company's failure to provide enough guards for the Olympics had been a "humiliating shambles".
Nick Buckles, chief executive of the world's second largest private sector employer, told MPs the firm should never have taken on an expanded 2012 contract to provide more than 10,000 security personnel.
Addressing members of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, he said: "Clearly we regret signing it but now we have got to get on and deliver it."
Mr Buckles is under pressure to quit his £830,000-a-year job over the fiasco, which has resulted in the emergency deployment of soldiers, marines, airmen and police officers and seen £400m wiped off the market value of G4S.
His appearance comes just 10 days before the Olympics opening ceremony.
He told the committee he had been informed on July 3 while he was in America on holiday that there were problems with recruitment. He said the news came as a "complete and utter shock".
The security executive confirmed the company had so far only been able to deploy 4,200 of the 10,400 guards originally promised.
But he told MPs he was hopeful the firm would supply a total of 7,000 personnel in the coming days.
In the meantime, thousands of extra military and police officers have been deployed at Olympic venues around the country to make up for the shortfall in numbers.
Mr Buckles admitted G4S had been forced to go to rival security firms to ask for their help and that another 500 troops are being kept in reserve in case of further problems.
The committee heard there were problems with retention at G4S because staff were only paid during training and once they started work, so quit if they found permanent jobs elsewhere.
But Mr Buckles said it was not an issue with workers failing to turn up.
"Our problem at the moment is a shortage of staff. We just don't have the staff," he said.
By its own admission, G4S stands to lose up to £50m of the original £284m contract.
Despite the firm's failings, Nick Buckles repeatedly insisted the company still intended to claim its £57m management fee for work over the last two years.
Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the company's determination to claim that money was "astonishing" and called on G4S to waive the fee and any others associated with the contract.
Mr Buckles replied: "We've managed the contract and we've had management on the ground for two years. We still expect to deliver a significant number of staff."
Tory MP Nicola Blackwood said Mr Buckles' performance before the MPs "would lead quite a lot of people to despair".
"I had very little confidence in G4S fulfilling this contract before this session started and now I don't have any confidence at all," she said.
Mr Buckles promised the firm would pay all police and military costs caused by G4S' failure, would cover any accommodation expenses and would even consider paying bonuses to individual officers and troops if considered appropriate.
As well as the 3,500 troops, police officers from Dorset, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Northumbria, South Wales, Strathclyde, West Midlands, Thames Valley and Greater Manchester have now also been switched to Olympics security duties.
Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympics security co-ordinator, said: "Forces are making sure they make the best use of their resources locally to do all they can to minimise the impact on local policing."
Towards the end of his evidence session, Mr Buckles confirmed to MPs that G4S had decided not to bid for the security contracts for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and the Rio Olympics in 2016 because of the London 2012 fiasco.
what do you think?
You can't train people on X ray equipment in 2 days. As an X ray operator of 11 years i know this. But in their minds if they employed them and trained them months in advance then they would have to PAY them. Which is why they left it as late and as it turns out too late...
Also, how many of the guards can actually speak English or are trained to "..be able to greet visitors in English.." Typical private company contractors, do it as cheap as possible, watch it fall apart. IF anyone was planning to attack the games, they'll be rubbing their hands right now.
Thing is Ben I don't think anyone needs to attack - the disruption to many aspects of our way of life seems to have been achieved by inept poshboy gobsmith politicians and unfit for purpose companies . The extremists must consider it 'job done' in many ways.
Theresa May is not very bright or clever.Buckles singlehandedly has put this countrys security in jeopardy and guess what he's still officially in his job and still drawing a wage.She should have sacked him immediately for the nations sake and also her credibility. If she had done that a lot of heat would be removed from the situation even her colleagues as well as labour cant understand this.Just what hold has corporate business got over this country where nobody gets sacked only handsomely paid off by the million. All this will end in another useless enquiry where blood sucking lawyers and the judiciary will make their millions and find the Gov. blameless as usual....Wheres the sickbag
Buckles is not employed by the goverment so how can they sack him?
Yes Russel I too wonder what it is that corporate business and the like have on government. Mind you when we now know what we do about Murdoch and his like I've probably answered my own question !
That's right, Gillian, big business owns our politicians. They are there to represent them Ordinary people like us are vote fodder.
Where's the sickbag ? in number 10.
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might loose his job tuff he is so obviously asleep at the wheel , i hope he and many more at g4s loose thier jobs they are totaly incompetent. the company has always been rubbish why they were chosen denies belief ,but i guess plenty of the folding in the right pockets as usual gets you the contracts
Who gives a damn! Its a 9 billion pound egg and spoon race. Police, nurses, teachers and the military being made redundant, but its ok, because we will be the centre of the worlds attention to a whole 2 weeks. Tax payers money well spent!!!
I know someone who has full security training and has been vetted by G4S and even has a uniform and yet they did not approach him to work at the Olympics! Why? could it be they have to pay him fully trained wages where as maybe they only want cheap labour to maximise profit, well I guess that has back fired now?
I really feel for these soldiers. First they are sent to fight in pointless wars, then 20,000 of them are made redundant, and still the threat of terrorism has not receded. Then they are made to bail out a failed fatcat private security firm while sacrificing time with their families.
Then these soldiers who have been shot at, seen their friends maimed or killed, work alongside the unemployed who have to work for their benefits and hard-up, in debt students, and they must wonder what is waiting for them in 'civvy street', as a lot of them joined up because they didn't have jobs. They must also wonder at the wealth gap between these they work alongside and the fatcat companies that are sponsoring the Games and the way they are making money hand over fist.
And I hope these soldiers, many of them soon to be ex-soldiers, and those unemployed people forced to work for meagre benefits, and those hard-up students taking on a world of debt, learn valuable lessons from the tube and bus drivers who are organised together in unions and successfully fought a campaign to get a better share of the vast amount of money being made by the fatcats. The lesson is to get organised, get united, because unity is strength. As Karl Marx said: 'An ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory.'
It's simple if you have a good customer like the government with lots of contracts. you only supply three quarters of your product upon an order ie manpower. It costs you twice as much to find the extra quarter then that cost comes from the supplier who lets you down plus a cost for inconvienience. G4S takes a hit but improves or goes bust. Too much big business is allowed to be paid fir failure at tax payers expence.
This is absolutely pathetic, heads should roll, and not just at the incompetent company called G4s. May should be turfed out of her job, but Camer loon doesnt have the bottle to fire her.
Windows Live User
Theresa May should have employed Hills Angels to do the security. Couldnt do any worse Best thing Nick Buckles could do is to get his guard uniform and join the line, to reduce some of the shortfall (& draw a similar pittance of a pay as his missing men were going to get). This is one guy who should have been on channel 4's "Undercover Boss" to see what lessons he could have learnt
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Who gave G4 the contract in the first place? What steps were taken place to ensure this company was up to the job? What monitoring took place? Why was this company given the contract. Did it go out to tender? If not, why not? If yes, what were the criterea? These are questions I'd like answered.
It was probably awarded thru Brown envelopes in a pub carpark somewhere darn sarf.
That's probably right darling
It was given the contract, probably because it was and is the biggest private security firm, and one of the largest employers on the planet. Ok, so it was awarded under the Labour government. Tell me the tories would have given it to someone else, and that would be a complete falsehood. The job required numbers, G4S gave assurances that turned out to be unrealistic. To infer it's labours fault, is typical of the tories, now that Theresa May is taking the flak.She's been in for two years, did she just think it was all sorted for her by Labour, or what.?
So... We don't have enough police to do the job. We don't have enough armed forces personnel to do the job. Private security companies just aren't up to the job. Why exactly are we hosting the Olympics?
We had enough , before the Tories got in.
Who do we need security from? How would a g4S newly trained protect us?--they dont have weapons How would any threat try to achieve its aim? Lets consider 911 Planes scenario--- G4S aint going to stop that if US security couldnt, Mumbai style attack G4S new recruits arent armed, suicide bomber will just detonate as soon as he is found out, a lone gunman could kill well away from stadium. Its more about controlling joe public like sheep Just glorified parking attendants, ticket inspectors, and crowd controllers--- jobs which should have been sorted by Govt. Probably aint enough unemployed people who could pass G4S security clearance. Govt now got somebody to blame.
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Oh yes. I can see where Mr Cameron thinks the UK will make 13bn from the games. Selling the rights for a comedy movie
whens the bung being paid back?
Do you think there is any chance that "Teflon" Theresa could take a leaf out of Buckles book & apologise for all the howlers she has presided over?