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Overcoming G4S failure was our biggest challenge admits Coe
|Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:06 am
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London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe today told the Home Affairs Select Committee here that overcoming the failure of security provider G4S to deliver on their contract was the biggest challenge his Organising Committee faced in delivering a successful Games.
With just days to go to the start of the Olympics, G4S revealed it could not provide the required numbers of guards at the Olympics, forcing the Government to commit 3,500 military personnel to fill the security void.
It came after G4S signed a £284 million ($442 million/361 million) contract with London 2012 to provide 10,400 security guards for the Olympics, but only 4,000 guards were trained and ready by the time of the opening of the Games.
"The largest challenge we faced was the inability of G4S to deliver on their contract," Coetold the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee Keith Vaz.
"The scale, the scope and the sheer size of this project does catch people out occasionally and once they got into their own systems, they recognised the problems.
"They believed themselves that they could do it but it has become clear that they didn't manage it as intensively as they should have done."
London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton, who joined Coe in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee, was more damning in his assessment of G4S, revealing that they had continually assured the Organising Committee they could deliver until a meeting on July 11.
"It was a very doable job and they should and they could have been able to do it," said Deighton.
"They simply failed to manage this part of their business efficiently enough to deliver it.
"I think somebody else probably could have done it but they were the obvious and best candidates to do it.
"They are the biggest security company in the world, the Government are their most important client and the eyes of the world were on this project so they were highly incentivised to succeed for all those reasons.
"For me, the issue is not that it was a mistake to choose them, the issue really is that they failed to deliver on a project they really ought to have been able deliver on.
"We managed to successfully deliver 70,000 volunteers, which is a lot more than G4S was required to deliver.
"Two weeks before July 11, we began to see signs that were concerning us with shortfalls of G4S personnel at venues.
"We zeroed in on that very intensively but they continued to assure us that it was a temporary problem and that they would fully recover in time for the Games.
"It was only under persistent questioning and scrutiny that they told us on July 11 that they would not be able to deliver.
"As soon as that happened, we activated our contingency plans to fix the problem but it was only on July 11 that they confirmed to us that they wouldn't be able to deliver."
g4sG4S admitted it would not be able to supply its 10,400 contracted guards for the Olympic venues
Deighton added that following that meeting, London 2012 have not paid G4S.
"Up to that point, we had paid G4S between £89 million ($143 million/111 million) and £90 million ($144 million/113 million) of public money," he said.
"We stopped paying the on July 13 following that meeting and it has been made clear by G4S that they will pay for the additional security costs so there will be no expense on the public purse.
"Through the Olympics, G4S were anywhere between four per cent and 35 per cent down on their contracted number of personnel.
"Anything over 15 per cent presents a real challenge.
"But I must say that the teamwork to solve the problem across the various partners was some of the best that I have ever seen.
"Between ourselves, the Government, the police and the military, it really was a tremendous job to fill the void.
"We owe a huge debt of gratitude, particularly to the military, for their amazing effort."
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