Security firm bosses carry can for botched contract

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Two G4S directors have resigned in the wake of an independent review into the company’s botched Olympic Games contract.

Chief operating officer David Taylor-Smith and Ian Horseman Sewell, who was head of global events, will carry the can as chief executive Nick Buckles remains in post.

The report by PwC found that monitoring and tracking of the security workforce was inadequate and that management failed to appreciate the scale and exact nature of the project.

G4S fulfilled 83 per cent of contracted Games shifts, failing to provide all 10,400 contracted guards and forcing the Government to step in with military personnel.

G4S said its board had decided it was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders that Mr Buckles remained chief executive.

Mr Buckles, who admitted to MPs that the Games staffing episode had been a “humiliating shambles”, was not guilty of any significant shortcomings in his performance, the company said.

However, G4S will appoint a new chief operating officer to work closely with Mr Buckles on areas such as customer service and project delivery.

It also promised to assess new contracts more rigorously and to demand board-level oversight on contracts where annual revenues exceed £50m.

G4S, which has estimated its loss on the Olympics contract at about £50m, is the world’s biggest private security company with more than 650,000 staff worldwide.

The review said the large numbers of people being taken through each stage of the recruitment process gave a sense of comfort that all was well, but failed to identify the extent to which individuals were actually deployable.

It said the problem was not the result of IT failures but of inadequate marshalling and interpretation of data.

The project management team reported that the required workforce numbers would be met and it was only at the time of the significant “ramp-up” in staff needed from July 1 that the inaccuracy in the information was identified.

The PwC report also revealed G4S’s failure to appreciate the scale and nature of the project, in particular to properly incorporate and act upon feasibility assessments.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said it was right the G4S bosses quit over the fiasco, adding: “The rank and file, the troops on the ground, did a wonderful job, but when you look at what happened in the management of those hordes of G4S employees who did a great job, I’m not going to try and persuade them to stay this morning.”