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Tuesday, July 17, 2012 

Outsourcing the blame.

There's one thing about the G4S Olympic security fiasco that seems to have passed everyone by: government ministers have barely directed a single word of criticism at the company itself. Take a look at Theresa May's second statement to the Commons yesterday, and if you can find her so much as saying G4S are a bit crap then you win a cookie. What she did claim was that the Home Office had absolutely no idea that G4S was unlikely to be able to fulfil its contract, and that it was completely untrue that James Brokenshire had been told about it in advance. While the hapless Nick Buckles didn't quite contradict the equally hopeless May, during his evidence to the Home Affairs select committee he did say officials knew about problems with "scheduling", and that he had had contact with Brokenshire. There was however confirmation from Buckles that the government was first told there could be a problem on the 3rd of July, 12 days before May made the announcement to parliament last Thursday, and also supposedly only the day after she herself was told there was likely to be a shortfall.

Fairly obvious is that for whatever reason, G4S and the government have drawn up something resembling a non-aggression pact. No minister has so much as criticised Buckles, let alone called for him to resign, and seemingly in return, Buckles didn't say anything today to throw the spotlight back on the government. Indeed, he took the ire of the committee entirely on his own shoulders, as part of an apparent masochism strategy. Yes, he agreed that the entire thing was a shambles, even though Theresa May had denied that was the case last week, and he accepted that this was a disaster for G4S's reputation, which is quite saying something considering the company's history. He won't though be resigning, and the company will still be taking the £57m management fee it so richly deserves, regardless of how astonishing someone as jumped-up as Keith Vaz thinks that is.

Neither it seems will Theresa May, or for that matter anyone at Locog, who signed the contract in the first place be losing their jobs. That G4S had never before provided over 10,000 security officials for one specific event was no barrier to their being awarded the contract, and besides, as far as they were concerned it wasn't for the money involved, as they'd only be making a measly £10m profit had everything gone smoothly. It was more to simply be involved with the games, as nothing provides a boost quite like being the company responsible for the pat downs everyone entering the various events enjoys. Instead that job will now fall partially to our wonderful armed forces, who are as MP after MP stood up to say yesterday the finest in the world. You might think that the finest soldiers in the world deserve better than to be tasked at the last minute with clearing up the mess left after an outsourcing disaster, able to take the holidays they'd booked in advance, or even say get married, but apparently not.

Truly key it seems to the coalition is that the outsourcing bonanza continues. It is after all relying on the privatisation of vast swathes of the public sector in order to bring the deficit down, or so it's claimed. Really going to town on G4S wouldn't have helped anything when they're expected to be the main beneficiaries of the outsourcing of back office police work, or indeed the contracting out of probation, to say nothing of the continuing selling off of the prison estate. That unfortunate things like the death of Jimmy Mubenga take place is to be expected, and the guards who restrained him will not now face manslaughter charges anyway, as his death could have just as much been caused by "a combination of factors such as adrenalin, muscle exhaustion or isometric exercise", to quote the CPS decision not to prosecute. No one truly believes the Olympic shambles has compromised security, even if ministers and the likes of Seb Coe keep saying it hasn't in an apparent attempt at proving the opposite, so what's the fuss? Just sit back, enjoy the circus, and you'll soon forget this ever happened.

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Why *should* anyone at LOCOG face any blame for anything? With the combination of the penalty clause in G4S's contract and the responsibility clause for G4S to pay the police and army, they're getting the whole security shebang for less money than if the contract had worked out.

Also think your second-last paragraph is weird. Obviously, G4S took the contract on the cheap because they thought it'd showcase their ability as World Leading Security Company to governments and private organisations worldwide. Which it kind-of has...

So, err, because this particular screw up might mean the taxpayer pays out less, that's all fine and dandy? As someone on your post pointed out, you're assuming that G4S is telling the truth about their margins, something that I'd doubt immensely.

Nice article, thanks for the information.

Anna@ sewa mobil

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