Sunday, 15 July 2012

The G4S fiasco - the wrong questions

Apart from a bit of confusion on the various forums between G4s and A4e, the outsourcing companies must be relieved that it's G4S that's taking all the flak at the moment.  In all the outrage, however, the right questions are not being asked.

  1. Why was the security contract given to one company, rather than split between the different Olympic sites?
  2. How many companies bid for this contract?  There are very few which would be in a position to bid, and that's a perennial problem in outsourcing.  You create private monopolies.
  3. Why was the contract given to a company with a poor track record?  That one is being asked.  Apparently G4S mucked up the security at least year's Wimbledon.  But the answer is one we know from W2W.  The procurement process doesn't take a company's past record into account.
  4. Did G4S subcontract, or have arrangements with other companies, to supply or train the workers?
  5. Were they deliberately leaving things to the last minute so that people they trained didn't go off and get a job with someone else?
Most of those questions won't be answered this week.  And Labour's outrage is necessarily limited by the fact that the contracts were given out under their administration.  But it matters very much in the creeping advance of privatisation.  Take the IT system for Universal Credit.  The Telegraph reports that the project is in danger because the IT isn't ready.  The DWP and HMRC are squabbling about whose responsibility this is, but behind it will be private contractors.


  1. Locog agreed to pay G4S £284 million. Nick Buckles of G4S says that G4S will only lose a maximum of £50 million. G4S will still get at least £234 million out of supplying the 4,000 security guards who, Mr Buckles says, have definitely been employed for the Olympics by G4S. I make that £58,500 per guard.

    Each of these 4,000 guards is going to be available for about 9 weeks, I believe, to cover the Olympics, the Paralympics and then the Paramilitary Olympics. Each guard will receive £8.50 per hour (gross) for however many hours s/he works.

    The EU Working Time Directive ostensibly restricts each guard to working for no more than 48 hours per week. If the WTD is observed and applied plus each guard works for 9 weeks then each guard should receive £3672.00 (gross) for his/her 9-week contract.

    Have G4S organised adequate accommodation, sanitation, food, hot drinks and transport for each and every one of the 4,000 G4S guards? What about adequately warm, well-fitting and waterproof clothing for all of them?

    I understand that 3,500 of the G4S guards will be school-leavers. Will there be a repeat performance of the pantomime provided by Close Protection UK Ltd at the Jubilee river pageant, one wonders? That fiasco took place under the auspices of an organisation called Prospects (which is one of the Prime contractors on the Work Programme scheme.)

    Have the children of any MPs been signed up to be Olympic security guards for G4S? If not, why not?

  2. I stress this is my opinion,certain functions should be left to the government,the Armed Forces,Police,Mail,Health care Ect Ect But as in the US and Canada there is a pay grade system similar to the Military,if a person decides to be employed by the Gov't they have a structured/secure life,a decent pension and benefits,no bonuses for actually doing the job that they were hired for.Take the BBC they are guaranteed an Income by way of forcing everybody to pay for a TV License,it amazes me with the lack of quality programmes why the salaries are so high,they produce very little of there own programmes and repeat after repeat ,are they still fit for purpose? When the actual figures for the WP become available(if ever) will this prove to be value for money? and if not will it be so big by then(like the BBC)that it will be continued regardless of cost or results?

  3. G4S also have the contract for training Boris Johnstones London Ambassadors, all 8,000 of them! Is there a London Olympic contract they dont have. So much for spreading wealth, seems like an old boys network. Disgruntled


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