G4S ‘Should Waive Fee’ Over Olympic Failure

A Commons home affairs committee has said that security firm G4S should waive their £57m fee for the Olympic contract and face a blacklist of firms which fail to deliver public services.

G4S made headlines in July as chaotic vetting procedures and a severe recruitment shortfall meant that the armed forces had to step in to provide security at the Olympics. Committee chairman Keith Vaz described the firm’s failure as ‘an 11th-hour fiasco’ while calling for G4S to compensate staff who were not given work despite being available.

Needless to say, G4S disagree and chief executive Nick Buckles says that while they accept full responsibility for their failure, the £57m fee is not profit but costs which they incurred during the contract. The company’s financial loss over the debacle was £50m.

The company also revealed during a Home Affairs Select Committee in July that they would no longer bid for the contract to guard the 2016 Olympics and World Cup in Brazil. The same Select Committee meeting contained the startling revelation that Buckles didn’t know what ‘fluent English’ meant when asked about the language skills of the staff G4S employed.

Poor performance by companies with government contracts has come under the spotlight recently — the Financial Times claimed that IT group Fujitsu have also been blacklisted by the government. In June another IT firm, CSC, was revealed to have won a 10 year contract with the Ministry of Defence despite failing to deliver on a previous NHS contract.

According to the Guardian, the Cabinet Office has said that it now has a policy of taking the performance history of suppliers into account when contracts are being decided and stated:

“While we will not publicly name the companies involved it will mean that suppliers with poor performance may find it more difficult to secure work with [the] government in future”

Photo by parkylondon in the Londonist Flickr pool.

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