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12 September 2012 | Adam Leach
The CEO of LOCOG has defended the Olympic organisers’ decision to award the security contract to G4S, claiming the blame for the failure lay with the private company.
“They could have done this job, this was a very doable job, they should and could have been able to do it and they simply failed to manage this part of their business efficiently,” LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton told the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday.
On 12 July, the government announced the military would be deployed to make up a shortfall in the numbers of security guards G4S was contracted to provide and manage but later admitted it could not deliver.
In his evidence, Deighton said he believed the problem resulted from the system G4S used to schedule workers not working correctly. And he cautioned against over-complicating the issue. “We need to be careful not to make this more complicated than it already is, they just failed to deliver,” he said.
Deighton also explained LOCOG had considered letting the contract to a number of security providers. But he said they opted against it because they feared competition among providers could have caused problems and it would be better to be able to control the operation through one provider.
Alongside Charles Farr of the office for security and counter terrorism within the Home Office, he said data provided to LOCOG from G4S supported the claim the number of guards required was deliverable, up until 11 July, when G4S CEO Nick Buckles informed the Games organisers the company would not be able to meet their obligation.
Also appearing before the committee yesterday, Buckles explained while he had raised concerns with the home secretary in the days preceding the announcement, he was not certain the business would not be able to meet its requirements until 11 July. He said the company identified serious problems with its scheduling system between a meeting with the home secretary on 10 July and 8.30am on 11 July.
“We were rostering staff to 110 locations with 49 different skills and that was when we started to realise we really were looking at serious problems,” he said.