London 2012: Pressure mounting on G4S boss Nick Buckles
Published: 15th Jul 2012 06:55:28
Pressure is mounting on the chief executive of G4S after he apologised for failing to recruit enough security staff for the London Olympics.
Nick Buckles said he had become aware of the situation only "eight or nine days ago".
He is due to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday to answers MPs' questions.
The Home Office said issues raised by inspectors about security last year were dealt with by February.
It emerged last Wednesday that 3,500 troops were being drafted in to plug the gaps in security staff provision.
Mr Buckles told the BBC that problems with G4S's recruitment and deployment of Games security staff had only recently been identified.
"I began to know it was going wrong eight or nine days ago," he said.
"Basically we are recruiting a large number of people and they are all working through a process of interview, two or three different degrees of training, licensing and accreditation.
"It is only when you get closer to the Games, you realise that the number is not as high as you expect."
Mr Buckles indicated in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph that he "could quit" over the fiasco.
"I have got to make sure we deliver this contract. What happens thereafter is down to others. It's a big setback for us, we are really disappointed with how this has turned out.
"I want to stay. I have been here 27 years, I am very committed to staying. It just depends, doesn't it?"
Theresa May said she only found out G4S couldn't deliver the goods last Wednesday. The firm's chief executive said he discovered how bad things were nine days ago. So there were six days when he knew but the home secretary didn't.
That's despite daily meetings between the security firm, the Home Office and Locog, the committee charged with making the Games happen.
The BBC's been told senior level meetings, to discuss security, have been taking place for three weeks. The minister with responsibility, James Brokenshire, has been attending. G4S told the BBC it had always given Home Office officials and ministers "total visibility" about what it was doing, as part of a "transparent process".
Yet the home secretary, and presumably her minister James Brokenshire, didn't know about the failure to recruit until Wednesday.
At the start of last week, Mrs May told Parliament she was confident their partners would deliver.
Labour is urging her to update the Commons saying there are serious questions about the level of oversight. One party source said if ministers were relying solely on what G4S were telling them then that was "just being a patsy".
Asked if he had considered resigning, Mr Buckles said "of course".
G4S will lose between £30m and £50m on the contract, which is worth a total of about £280m.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee has summoned G4S, two government departments and Games organiser Locog to answer questions in September.
The Home Office said that, contrary to some reports suggesting HM Inspectorate of Constabulary warned ministers over problems with G4S's ability to provide security for the Games, the HMIC had not investigated G4S.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We asked HMIC to carry out a number of inspections to test that Locog security planning was on track.
"While an early inspection highlighted issues to be addressed, a report in February 2012 said that Locog was on track to deliver the required number of security personnel."
The HMIC report went to ministers in September. At the time G4S was contracted to hire 2,000 security guards for the Games - increased to 10,000 following a security review in December.
Home Secretary Theresa May has said she was made aware of the scale of the problem at G4S only last Wednesday.
This is despite the BBC being told there have been senior level meetings every day for the past three weeks involving Home Office officials, G4S and Locog.
Security minister James Brokenshire has been at those meetings, according to BBC political correspondent Robin Brant.
Labour has urged the home secretary to come to Parliament to update MPs, and that could happen as early as Monday, our correspondent says.
One Labour source said if ministers were relying solely on what G4S was telling them they were "just being patsies," he added.
Shadow minister Dame Tessa Jowell said the "integrity and resilience" of the security plan must be established.
Clint Elliott, chief executive of the National Association of Retired Police Officers (Narpo), said: "It is astonishing that G4S can't have recruited these people in a time of high unemployment and at a time when many police officers are being forced to retire early and are actively looking for work.
"What G4S tend to do is rely on the old boys' network and word of mouth to recruit people from our organisation - which is okay for small numbers but for 10,000 people you really need something a bit more substantial."
A G4s spokeswoman said the firm had not contacted Narpo but instead contacted retired officers whose details were on its own database.
At 16:02:28 in EnglandA man who shook his baby son causing severe brain injuries that were said to have killed him 12 years later has been cleared of manslaughter.
At 16:01:44 in WalesCalls have been made for Powys council's deputy leader to resign after she used a racial slur during a council meeting.
At 16:01:11 in EnglandAn 88-year-old man has been hit with a bottle and mugged while tending some of his family's graves in a churchyard.
At 15:59:59 in WalesA driver who killed his sister and her fiance in a car crash, leaving his nine-week-old nephew an orphan, has been jailed for seven years.
At 15:53:11 in EnglandA fire that ripped through Eastbourne Pier is now feared to have been started deliberately.
At 15:52:17 in SportWalsall manager Dean Smith says he is not concerned by his side's lack of goals during pre-season.
At 15:51:03 in SportNew Zealand began their defence of the Women's Rugby World Cup in style with a 79-5 win against Kazakhstan in the opening game in France.
At 15:50:16 in SportThe looming Challenge Cup semi-final against Widnes has prompted Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell to rest two of his big names.
At 15:41:49 in EnglandProposals for a new sports stadium in Cornwall have been announced.
At 15:40:38 in EnglandA Shropshire hospital trust is facing a £15m deficit unless it takes action, its board has warned.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. London 2012: Pressure mounting on G4S boss Nick Buckles [Online] (Updated 15th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1440583/London-2012-Pressure-mounting-on-G4S-boss-Nick-Buckles [Accessed 1st Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
David Cameron and George Osborne have been accused of "meddling" in the search for a new head of the BBC Trust.
Ebola outbreak in West Africa spreading faster than efforts to control it - World Health Organization chief
Walsall manager Dean Smith says he is not concerned by his side's lack of goals during pre-season.
Microsoft's latest attempt to resist a US government warrant demanding access to emails stored on servers in Ireland has been dismissed by a federal judge.
A fire that ripped through Eastbourne Pier is now feared to have been started deliberately.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com