The opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics are just around the corner and, as with all post-9/11 Olympics, security is a huge concern. British authorities arrested 14 people last week on suspicion of terrorism, which of course heightened security concerns around the Games.
Unfortunately, G4S, the U.K.-based security company hired by the British government to provide security staff for the Olympics, has done little to assuage those fears. The company, and its CEO, Nick Buckle, has suffered a string of embarrassing setbacks leading up to the Olympics, which kick off Friday. The company recently admitted that it wouldn’t be able to live up to its contract to provide adequate security staff during the Games or even that the security staff would all be able to speak English. The company was also under contract to provide more than 13,000 staff during the Games.
G4S expects to fall short by about 3,000 security staff, a shortfall the company has blamed on faulty scheduling software, which failed to properly register employees. The British government will have to pick up the slack with more than 17,000 military personel, several thousand more than the government originally intended to use at the Games. For its part, G4S faces up to £50M (approximately $78M) in fines and has said that it will repay the British government £284M ($440 million) for costs incurred by the police and military.
And the news keeps getting worse for G4S. On Monday, Newcastle city officials said about 500 local security contractors would replace G4S staff in providing security during Olympic soccer matches at St. James’ Park stadium. British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt – who is in charge of the Games – said Friday that G4S “doesn’t know what’s going on,” and analysts are piling on too, with some predicting that G4S’s CEO will be ousted soon.
G4S, the largest security company in the world, was under contract to provide more than 13,000 staff during the Games, according to the Guardian.
“The security firm had been committed to supply 13,700 guards as demanded in its contract, worth £284m [approx. $446M], which it now says it is unlikely to be able to fulfill. Overall, the 23,700-strong security force for the Games will include a mix of military, private security guards and at least 3,000 unpaid volunteers.”
Nearly $80 million. That has to be one of the most expensive, and public, field service blunders in the history of field service blunders. Consider this a good opportunity to revisit any software you’re using to handle hiring, scheduling, and dispatching.