As it happened: MPs grill G4S boss over 2012 security

Key Points

  • The G4S chief executive admits his company has delivered a "humiliating shambles" over 2012 security
  • But Nick Buckles insists he is still the right person to lead G4S
  • The G4S boss says, despite his firm's failure, G4S still intends to colect its £57m management fee

    Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics.


    With ten days to go before the Games, Olympic teams and officials are continuing to arrive in the UK from more than 200 countries. Heathrow had its busiest day ever on Monday, handling nearly a quarter of a million passengers.


    At 12:00 BST the chief executive of security firm G4S is due to face MPs to explain why the company was unable to provide the Olympics staff it promised. Nick Buckles apologised after 3,500 extra troops had to be deployed to meet the firm's shortfall.


    Day 60 of the Olympic torch relay sees it passing through East Sussex and Kent. Starting at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, it will visit the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs during its journey to Hastings. Famous torchbearers will include Dame Kelly Holmes and Eddie Izzard. Follow our live coverage here.


    Charity fundraiser Zachary Narvaez poses for a photo with the Olympic torch outside the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

    Zachary Narvaez outside the Royal Pavilion in Brighton

    Sir Steve Redgrave plays down some of the problems experienced in the run-up to the Olympics in London. Some athletes have reported travel problems on the way to the Olympic Village, while a security firm has been unable to provide the Olympics staff it promised.


    Sir Steve tells BBC Radio 5 Live: "When you have something as big as the Olympics Games and all the sports involved there is no blueprint handed down by the International Olympic Committee about what to do and what to watch out for."


    Last Wednesday it emerged that G4S could not provide the 10,000 staff it had been contracted to deliver. The company stands to lose up to £50m on the contract, worth a total of about £280m. It has since emerged that as police have also helped fill gaps left by the company. Read our Q&A for further background.

    1029: Marc Walton in Huddersfield

    emails: I was supposed to be working for G4S in Manchester. I have been messed about since day one and still have no idea if I will actually be working at the Olympics or not. I was lucky enough to do this exact same job at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The difference between the two organisational structures has been simply amazing.


    Here's the interview with the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, who said he would be asking the G4S chief executive for a "full explanation of precisely what happened over the last few months, weeks and indeed what happened last Wednesday".


    Some facts and figures about Heathrow Airport's busiest day ever yesterday as athletes started to arrive. The airport says 236,955 psssengers passed through - the previous record was 233,561 on 31st July 2011.


    About 15% of of baggage will be large pieces of sporting equipment - from canoes and pole vaults to bikes and javelins. There will also be around 1000 guns and associated ammunition coming through.


    The Olympics Minister, Hugh Robertson, tells Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 Live that there's no point "going for" Nick Buckles - the head of G4S - when he appears before MPs this lunchtime.


    Who will pay for the extra policing needed because of G4S's failure to provide enough security staff? Assistant Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, in charge of Glasgow's Olympic preparations for Strathclyde, says her force will send a bill for the extra police work to the Home Office. "We are accounting for this extra policing activity very closely," she tells Good Morning Scotland.


    There may be good news ahead for those who have forgotten what sunshine feels like. There are signs the jetstream - which has been causing wet weather - may move slightly northwards, allowing more typical summer weather to dominate. Just in time for the Games, hopefully.

    Matthew Pinsent, Olympic gold medallist

    tweets: The cycle of any Olympics is a period of intense scrutiny in 10days before OC. Even Sydney "the best Games ever"(deserved title) got pasted


    London Mayor Boris Johnson admits there will be "imperfections and things going wrong" as the capital copes with the Olympics. He says staging the Games is a "gynormous" task but the opening of the first Olympics-only road Games Lane and the first big arrival of competitors had gone well so far.


    Motorists will be fined £130 if they stray into the Games lanes, which can only be used by official Olympics vehicles and black cabs.

    Olympic Lane on the A4 in west London
    1052: BBC Sport

    If you missed it last night, you can watch Usain Bolt: The Fastest Man Alive.‬


    The negative publicity garnered by G4S has hit its share-price hard. Shares in the world's biggest security company slipped a further 2.8% in London on Tuesday, wiping about £650m off its value since it first admitted problems with the contract last Wednesday.


    Here's G4S chief executive Nick Buckles who's already said he's "bitterly disappointed" at his company's failure to meet the terms of its London 2012 contract.

    Nick Buckles

    Readers have been contacting the BBC to tell us about their G4S recruitment experiences. Jamie in Devon (he doesn't want us to use his surname) says he applied for a position with G4S to earn some extra money during his summer break from university, but has not been given any indication of when he can start. "Communication was the main issue. No one really had any idea what was going on," he says.

    Geoff Munn in Orpington

    emails: I've been given the run around. I have contacted G4S on many occasions, only to be passed from one person to the next. No one had any idea what was going on and couldn't even tell me if I was still on the books.


    HD, robotic cameras and 3D - how the BBC the official Olympic broadcaster, is set to transmit the highest definition pictures Olympic coverage has ever seen.

    Tim Reid Westminster correspondent, BBC Scotland

    tweets: London mayor Boris Johnson on #G4S: "Army is working well with G4S and delivering a safe, secure games. " #olympics

    Tim Reid Westminster correspondent, BBC Scotland

    tweets: Johnson: "Compared to problems other #Olympic cities have had at this stage..we are doing very well indeed. London is better prepared.."


    "Securing Your World" is G4S's maxim. But it looks like the world's largest security firm has failed to secure its own world, at least as far as London 2012 is concerned. Here's a profile of the company and an analysis of how these problems may affect it.


    The Daily Mail says G4S boss Mr Buckles is under pressure to resign, but says he would be entitled to £20million in pay and benefits if he loses his job.

    Matt Prodger BBC home affairs correspondent

    tweets: Seems only 20 out of 300 G4S staff have today turned up for work providing security for Olympic venues in Surrey.

    Breaking News Matt Prodger BBC home affairs correspondent

    tweets: Police Federation in Surrey says there has been a "complete failure" by G4S there.

    1129: Breaking News

    Locog chairman Lord Coe says it is not time to abandon G4S. At a press conference at the Olympic Park he says it is not for him to say whether chief executive Nick Buckles should resign. He adds that it is not a failure of numbers and there is no compromise of security.

    James Pearce, BBC Sports News and Olympics Correspondent

    tweets: Seb Coe says that weather is "a problem and is causing us extra challenges" - in particular at Greenwich Park and Rowing venue


    Lord Coe on security: " The numbers have not changed, it's about the mix of security on the park..... Would I rather not be here (in this situation?) of course".


    More from Lord Coe at that press conference in the Olympic Park: "We are in shape, this is a resilient organisation."

    James Pearce BBC Olympics correspondent

    tweets: London 2012 official advice to spectators at equestrian and rowing events: "Bring Wellies"


    Meanwhile G4S is in the headlines for a completely different reason: the death of an Angolan man who collapsed and died whilst in the security firm's custody. The three guards who escorted him will face no action, says the CPS.


    Word is that G4S boss Nick Buckles has arrived at Westminster for his grilling. We'll have a picture of that soon.


    While we're awaiting Mr Buckles in Westminster, don't forget you can follow all the news from London 2012, and other sports, on Sportsday Live.


    The BBC's Robin Brant tells the News Channel Mr Buckles has come to "try and save his company" when he appears before MPs soon.

    1201: Breaking News

    From the Downing Street lobby: "The military are now very much involved [in Olympics security] and we are confident that we are going to be able to deliver a safe and secure games."


    And here's Mr Buckles as he arrives for his appointment in Westminster.

    Nick Buckles

    The hearing opens with an introduction from chairman Keith Vaz, who explains that Locog, the Met Police and home secretary are also due to give evidence.

    Eddy Littler

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Isn't G4S the company that is proposed to take over many jobs from police to save money. Re-think!!!!

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    Just seen senior police officer in Commons singing "G4S, G4S, G4S" to passing MPs


    Asked why he is still in the post, Mr Buckles replies: "It's not about me; it's about delivering the contract. I'm the right person to ensure that happens."

    1207: Breaking News

    Mr Buckles says he is "very sorry" for what has happened. He says he has gone on the record to say he is very embarrassed and deeply disappointed.


    Mr Buckles says that G4S group CEO David Taylor Smith first told him on 3 July that there were "rescheduling problems" with staff rotas.


    "Ultimately we didn't get enough people through the process by the end," Mr Buckles says.

    Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent

    Nick Buckles of G4S says he was told on 3rd July by his team there were problems with recruitment. Home Sec says she was alerted weds 11th


    G4S informed Locog there were problems on 3 July and set up daily working party to work through issues. Mr Buckles says it was difficult as the numbers changed on a daily basis but as they "dug into data day by day we realised the pipeline and people we thought we could deliver, we couldn't."


    "It's a humiliating shambles Mr Buckles," says MP David Winnick. "I cannot disagree with you," the G4S boss replies.


    It was on 11 July that G4S realised they could not deliver the contract, Mr Buckles says.


    He agrees his company's reputation is "in tatters".


    Mr Buckles says the company told the Stock Exchange on 13 July that there were problems with the 2012 contract.

    Dave Ruddle

    tweets: Werent G4S supposed to report to govt quarterly on the state of the the contract ? If so why wasnt this picked up sooner?

    1224: Breaking News

    Mr Buckles says the £50m G4S is set to lose is "a huge amount to the company, 10% of profits, it has a significant impact".


    Mr Buckles denies the Olympic contract was not prioritised saying they "ring fenced" the team running project to ensure it would deliver.

    1227: Breaking News

    G4S had first contract for 2,000 guards in 2010. Plan was to only start recruiting them this year.


    The company had applications from 110,000 people, conducted face-to-face interviews with 50,000.


    Mr Buckles tells MPs his firm has lost 15% of its value because of the 2012 contract problems.


    Mr Buckles says revelation of operational problems on 3 July was a "complete and utter shock...out of the blue".

    1234: Breaking News

    "The problem at the moment is shortage of staff, pure and simple," Mr Buckles says.

    1236: Breaking News

    The shortage of people is going to manifest itself from this day forward until the Games, Mr Buckles says. But he adds: "We believe we can cover all venues with support from the police and military."


    Mr Buckles says there are 4,200 people working on ground at the moment and the minimum the company will deliver is 7,000.


    (That is 70% of what they were expected to deliver.)

    Stan, Brentwood, Essex

    emails: This is a joke and the governemnt is also very responsible!

    Andy, Glossop, Derbyshire

    emails: The tone these MPs take in these hearings is utterly unacceptable. If I were Mr Buckles, I would walk out.

    Ross Garvey

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I am embarrassed to be a UK businessman, #g4s made so many errors anyone who has any sense would have seen this coming.


    Labour's Alun Michael asks about aspects of G4S's management which he says includes no pay for 12 days training, people who haven't received training, students being told they have to pay back training and uniform costs. "It doesn't sound like a kind way of treating people," he says.


    "We believe that is the right way to run this event," Mr Buckles says. But then he admits that approach now seems not to have worked.


    Applicants were offered an hourly rate of £8.50.

    Tim Reid Westminster correspondent, BBC Scotland

    G4S contracted for 10,400 security personnel. Buckles says 4,200 working at present. Expects "minimum of 7,000" provided for #Olympics

    Tim Reid Westminster correspondent, BBC Scotland

    Buckles admits can't give assurance that all those will turn up #G4S #Olympics

    1245: Breaking News

    Where G4S staff do not turn up, the company will reimburse police for costs, Mr Buckles says.

    Karl in Brighton

    emails: I can't help but feel that the cost of a parliamentary inquiry could have been spent on covering the cost of the additional police or armed services for security. Do we really need four hours of discussion on the obvious - "G4S messed up".


    David Winnick MP asks about the contract G4S signed for 10,000 guards. "Was it so lucrative that you signed it quickly?". No, replies Mr Buckles, G4S wanted the contract because it was a prestigious one that would have enhanced the firm's reputation in the future.


    "It was not about being lucrative, ironically about reputation and building reputation in the future," Mr Buckles adds.

    Ayub in Woodford Green

    emails: The CEO of G4S is out of his depth. How on earth did he get recruited? However, government is clearly to blame for specifying the contract and its failure to ensure robust contract management. No point bleating about it now!

    Tim Reid Westminster correspondent, BBC Scotland

    Nick Buckles: "Clearly we regret signing the contract, but now have to get on and deliver it.." #G4S #Olympics

    Paul Millican, Newark, Notts

    emails: These MPs are behaving like bullies - their questions are loaded, not at all constructive and seem to have no thread - this is the usual waste of time. Whilst I have issues with G4S's performance this committees performance is much worse.


    On MPs' accounts of people saying they applied, had no contact for six months, then told recently to start work, Mr Buckles says "100,000 people applied, keeping them tracked has clearly been a challenge".

    Tony Miles, Manchester

    emails: Andy in Glossop thinks the tone the MPs are taking is unacceptable?? They are spot on, if anything they are being too gentle - and if Mr Buckles were to walk out he should be taken to a secure place and held there. He is sounding utterly incompetent and is evading answering questions at every opportunity.

    Peter Izard

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Mr Buckles is struggling under the MP's excellent questions. Reputation for ‪#g4s‬ is now in tatters with long lasting damage

    1254: Breaking News

    Mr Buckles is asked whether the main problem is G4S had not actively managed and communicated with people properly between recruiting them and expecting them to turn up to a venue. "It could be," he replies.


    "This is a very unique contract. Usually not a five-month gap," Mr Buckles says.

    Jay in Manchester

    emails: This is embarrassing to the nation, we can not provide security at the biggest event in England! This all about profits again! The government should have employed smaller security firms around the country to carry out security for the events. Nick Buckles and the government are just a shambles.


    Mr Buckles says he would have expected the management chain to manage the process efficiently. "There are three levels between me and the contract and they didn't".


    Meanwhile the BBC's Matt Cole has been speaking to a G4S source at an Olympic site outside London. The source has raised a number of "significant" concerns including only a quarter of the expected G4S staff have turned up; last minute staff who are arriving do not appear properly trained and they have seen forbidden objects pass un-noticed by colleagues through scanners.


    In the event staff are not provided, G4S will not charge its rate, will pay penalties and element of management fee will be retained. It will also be paying the police to cover it.

    Neil Peggs, Bromley

    emails: Am I the only person with any sympathy for G4S? Recruiting 10,000 short-term staff is extremely challenging. These are not career jobs, they are mundane, low paid jobs to stand around all day guarding a building, or searching people. You try finding a thousand people willing to do this, let alone 10,000. A little bit of perspective on the issue please, instead of just bashing them for the sake of it. The army should have been the plan from the start, we could have given them an Olympic bonus like every other gravy train in London at the moment.

    1302: Breaking News

    G4S still plans to take its £57m management fee despite the problems. "We still expect to deliver a significant amount of staff," Mr Buckles says. "I find that astonishing," Mr Vaz replies.


    G4S will consider paying a bonus to members of the military who have had to come off leave, Mr Buckles says. "We are willing to pay anything the military think are appropriate."

    Michael Holt

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Now Buckles has admitted Theresa May wasn't told until 11th July, will Yvette Cooper apologise?


    Meanwhile Olympic organising committee chairman Lord Coe tells the BBC 50,000 non-football tickets are still available for the Games, and encourages people to get on to the Olympics website and see what is available.

    Daren Barton, Wigan

    emails: Buckles seems to want to suggest that some of the blame lies with the people who have applied to work on the Olympics e.g. they are not good enough, or have let G4S down. This to my mind is a complete fallacy. I was told on the 6 April that I had a job with G4S after attending an interview the previous day, but since then found it impossible to get a straight answer as to when I would start training. They have led thousands of people down the garden path.


    We are scheduling everyone in advance so we know where there are gaps, Mr Buckles says.


    G4S has been doing large-scale government contracts for 20 years. The tendering process started in autumn 2009.

    Shayne Wilson

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Mr Buckles sounds like he is slowly bankrupting his company making spontaneous decisions about what he is going to pay for!


    G4S is offering £1 hour for every hour worked during the Olympics as a completion bonus to staff, to ensure they keep going to work.

    Mike, Merseyside

    emails: No sympathy here. If you can't deliver on your promises then don't bother applying. As a security company they should know in advance the type of challenge they face in recruiting 10,000 staff. It's their business is it not?


    "Most of us had very little confidence in G4S before this session, now we don't have any at all," Nicola Blackwood MP says.


    Mr Buckles agrees with the suggestion that G4S could pay a £500 bonus to the military, as is being offered to tube staff and bus drivers.

    James, London

    emails: This should have been in the hands of the Police and Armed Forces from the beginning. The idea that private firms are better run and more cost efficient is a myth. We should have learned this lesson from the mess created by privatisation, the collapse of banking and the mess of PFIs. I hope G4S hasn't been given any VIP Olympic tickets.

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Culture Sec Jeremy Hunt says Buckles' #G4S evidence is rightly "very contrite", Buckles' position is a matter for G4S though he says


    "I am confident we can get at least 7,000 people into the system in time for the Olympics," Mr Buckles says.

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Jeremy Hunt also says he knows exactly how many #G4S staff were working last night - but won't give me the number


    Mr Vaz asks whether the government needs to prepare more contingency just in case G4S staff don't turn up. There are 500 military in reserve, Mr Buckles says.

    Cameron, Isle of Man

    emails: This is excruciating, yet compelling to watch.


    G4S's competitors have provided 500 staff to help, Mr Buckles says.

    Julian, Cambridge

    emails: Surely Buckles should pay a very heavy financial penalty for this debacle? And the money should be redirected to our troops who are probably supposed to be on leave from very demanding operations abroad. I guess Buckles will still walk away with millions in his bank account. Disgraceful!

    Alex Campbell, Herefordshire

    emails: I was interviewed in March, after many application attempts, to work for G4S. But I currently have received no confirmation of work, no uniform, no accreditation and no work schedule... so effectively no job! I've sent many emails and made many calls to multiple contact points, receiving no help on any issue! This recruitment drive has been an absolute farce!

    Danielle, Rayleigh, Essex

    writes: Why did the government not include a penalty clause in the contract for failure to complete the contract on time and on budget?

    Tom Symonds Home Affairs correspondent

    tweets: G4S tell me only 70 of its staff required at Box Hill venue. But yesterday was still just 60 percent turnout

    Tom Symonds Home Affairs correspondent

    tweets Key section there 17 of 38 needed turned up at Box Hill venue today - all those scheduled by G4S, but not enough are being scheduled


    It isn't that someone has failed to turn up, it's that there has not been anyone to turn up to that event, G4S events boss Ian Horseman-Sewell says.


    G4S has £600m of contracts with Home Office alone.

    Zoe Shaw, Plymouth

    emails: : It's a joke that security has to be back filled by our servicemen. What a waste of public money.


    Mr Buckles says other contracts with police and prison service are "exemplary", providing "excellent cost savings and service improvements".


    Mr Buckle's says G4S accepts 100% responsibility for its failure, because the firm signed a contract.


    Mr Buckles describes the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan man who collapsed while being deported, as "a very, very, tragic incident."

    Tim Reid Westminster correspondent, BBC Scotland

    #G4S confirms that it has govt contracts worth £600million for Home Office alone - with prison/police contracts. etc


    Mr Buckles repeats that the Olympics was a "very unique contract" and their standard outsourcing contracts have very good track record.


    Mr Buckles says G4S has never had to get assistance of police or military in any other contracts.

    1334: Breaking News

    Mr Buckles says he decided last week not to bid for the contract for the World Cup in Brazil.

    1337: Breaking News

    Mr Vaz closes 90 minutes of questioning with a telling-off, describing G4S's performance as "unacceptable, incompetent and amateurish".


    Mr Vaz ends with a warning that the committee will continue to monitor what happens over the coming weeks.


    Mike Granatt, the former head of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat within the Cabinet Office, has told the BC's World At One he doesn't think security has been compromised because of the police and military stepping in. But "what has been compromised is the reputation of the UK basically - being able to run one of these things smoothly and efficiently". He says the government should have been "much tougher and much more rigorous" in monitoring G4S's performance.


    And the BBC's Matt Prodger tells Wato he has seen an e-mail to the National Association of Retired Police Officers from someone described as a G4S business development manager saying "we don't need to recruit any additional staff for the Olympics: with the deployment of the military and extra police forces it's been deemed that any further recruitment is surplus to requirements". That - says Matt - suggests G4S has stopped recruiting its own staff.

    Tom Symonds Home Affairs correspondent

    tweets: Another key admission by G4S -- we have no idea if people have 'fallen off' our system until they fail to respond to email - thats the prob

    Independent on Sunday's Jane Merrick

    tweets: What worries me is that Locog/Home Office ministers would have met Nick Buckles and decided "he's our firewall between us and al Qaida"


    The BBC's Robin Brant says G4S chief executive Nick Buckles' appearance in front of the committee was a 90-minute "personally humiliating" grilling for him.


    Committee member Dr Julian Huppert tells the BBC's Robin Brant Mr Buckles appeared under-prepared for his evidence session. And he adds the G4S boss appeared to be making financial pledges on the hoof. "It was a real humiliation for him."

    Steve Johnson, Doncaster

    emails: Why is it possible to get G4S in front of the Commitee now but the Home Secretary, LOCOG and other government officials cannot be seen till after their summer holidays??


    The BBC's John Pienaar tells BBC Radio 5 Live a weary Nick Buckles looked like he had been "fed into a piece of agricultural machinery and spat out the other side" after his grilling at the hands of MPs.


    Airports operator BAA confirms that a small number of US security agents are based at Heathrow and other UK airports. They say the agents are there to assist the additional numbers travelling to and from the US. They are not fulfilling an operational role and they are not bolstering security.

    Jimmy, East London

    emails: I'm a security officer myself working for a public sector agency and in light of government cuts, my job is at threat from organisations like G4S. I hope that now people realise the fragility of these firms.

    Helen O'Rahilly

    tweets: Perhaps G4S should give its VIP Olympic tickets to the families of the Army and Police drafted in to do the job?


    And that concludes our live coverage of G4S chief executive Nick Buckles' appearance in front of the Commons Home Affairs Committee. For continuing coverage, you can read our news story here.


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