Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - Public Accounts Committee Contents

2  Operational delivery of the Games

5. As planning for the operational delivery of the Games has progressed, significant cost pressures and delivery risks have emerged, particularly with venue security. LOCOG initially estimated that it would need 10,000 security guards to secure the Olympic venues during the Games, based largely on information from the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester with some information from the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin.[12] The Home Office described this as an initial "finger in the air" estimate. The Department and the Home Office told us that detailed planning could not begin until plans for the Games, including the competition schedule and venues, had been completed in early 2011.[13] However, LOCOG did contract with G4S in December 2010 for the provision of 2,000 guards with the remainder expected to come from volunteers and a government funded programme through colleges of further education. By the end of 2011, when the Home Office and LOCOG had completed detailed planning, the estimated number of security guards required had more than doubled to a maximum of 23,700 on peak days.[14]

6. LOCOG has now renegotiated its contract with G4S to recruit and train the increased number of security guards, and to deploy and manage the security staff during the Games. To help meet the recruitment challenge, the Ministry of Defence has agreed to provide 7,500 military personnel to work as security guards during the Games; this is in addition to around 3,300 civilian volunteers. The remaining requirement for around 13,000 will be supplied by G4S.[15] LOCOG and the Home Office told us that they are confident that G4S will be able to provide all the required private sector security guards.[16]

7. LOCOG and the Home Office explained that the diversity of the security workforce, including the trained military personnel, would help manage the risk to the security of the Games.[17] LOCOG and the Home Office told us, for example, that security roles will be allocated to people with appropriate skills, with volunteers welcoming people to the venues and directing them to search and screening positions, and trained security personnel operating the screening equipment and carrying out searches.[18] In addition, the Home Office told us that they have received assurance that security guards being supplied by G4S will be appropriately skilled and will all be qualified to nationally recognised standards.[19]

8. The increase in the number of security guards required has nearly doubled the cost to the Public Sector Funding Package from £282 million at the time of the 2010 Spending Review, to £553 million, including £46 million for the cost of military personnel.[20]Following LOCOG's renegotiation of the contract with G4S, there appears to be around a 6-fold increase in the number of security guards to be provided by G4S and the total number to be managed and deployed has more than doubled. However, the programme management costs have increased nearly 9-fold (from £7 million to £60 million) and operational costs more than 20-fold (from £3 million to £65 million). Overall, the estimated costs of the contract with G4S rose from £86 million in December 2010, when the contract was signed, to £284 million in December 2011. LOCOG did not negotiate a reduction in G4S's profit margin on the increased security guard requirement.[21]

9. LOCOG told us that the contract with G4S compares favourably with other contracts in place between Government and G4S.[22] In addition, the Home Office told us that in its opinion the costs would not have been lower had planning started earlier. [23] However, it is not clear from the information provided to us that the increased costs under the contract with G4S reflect only the changed requirements, or whether, they are also the consequence of renegotiating the contract in a non-competitive environment. In addition, the increase in the overall cost of venue security is the main reason why the Public Sector Funding Package is now so finely balanced.

10. The other major operational challenge is that of transporting athletes, officials and spectators to and from the Olympic venues, while keeping the rest of London running efficiently.[24] Transport for London only took control of major elements of transport operations in 2011 from the Olympic Delivery Authority. This was a late decision but the Department considers that the new arrangements are working well.[25] However, there have been delays in LOCOG's public consultations on the impact of all the road closures required for the Games, so communicating the impact to road users remains a challenge.[26]

12   Q62; C&AG's report, paragraph 3.7. Back

13   Qq99 - 100. Back

14   Q63, 67; C&AG's report, paragraphs 3.7 - 3.8 Back

15   Q98.  Back

16   Qq66, 68 Back

17   Qq30, 80, 82-83 Back

18   Q83 Back

19   Q68 Back

20   Q28; C&AG's report, paragraphs 3.7 - 3.8. Back

21   Q73 Back

22   Q111 Back

23   Qq63 Back

24   C&AG's report, paragraph 3.10 Back

25   Qq121 - 122 Back

26   Q117, C&AG's report, paragraph 3.16 Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 9 March 2012