Olympics security - Home Affairs Committee Contents


Timeline of events
July2012 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games awarded to London
July2012 Olympic and Paralympic Safety and Security Strategy published by the Home Office
NovemberAudit and Review of the Olympic Safety and Security Strategy carried out by Security Minister Baroness Neville-Jones is completed.

The Audit and Review finds that 'remains on track and the work done to date has established an effective base for Games safety and security operations' but makes recommendations about 'governance and decision-making, funding arrangements, policy decisions, risk mitigation and management and strategic activity'[63]

24 DecemberLOCOG signs a contract with G4S. G4S is required to provide 2,000 security guards and to manage another 8,000 recruited from further and higher education students through the 'Bridging the Gap' programme
MarchRevised Safety and Security Strategy published by the Home Office, following the recommendations of the Audit and Review in November
AugustLOCOG and the Home Office begin to discuss with G4S the increase in the number of staff required
JulyG4S begins recruiting the 2,000 personnel specified in the contract with LOCOG
AugustGovernment commissions HMIC to undertake a review of LOCOG security arrangements.
30 SeptemberHMIC Report published. It says that manpower planning for the Games is not as advanced as it should have been, and questions the methods used to arrive at the required number of personnel.

It notes that policies and standard operating procedures are 18 months in arrears and calls into question the methods used to determine the necessary resources.

The review team was not confident that appropriate manguarding capability would be delivered on time and recommended "frequent and intrusive performance monitoring across all four of the interdependent workstreams (demand, source, train and deploy)" (Sir Denis O'Connor, 4.9.12 and HMIC September Report, paragraph 2.4)

NovemberG4S begins recruiting an additional 8,000 personnel, in anticipation of the variation to the contract which will be signed in December
DecemberGovernment agrees to support the commercial venue security operation with 7,500 troops
DecemberLOCOG produces an internal audit report on Olympic security
13 DecemberG4S begins second phase of recruitment of additional 8,400 personnel
15 DecemberVariation of the contract between LOCOG and G4S increases the staffing requirement on G4S to 10,400
16 JanuaryG4S begins third phase of recruitment of additional 8,400 personnel
27 FebruaryA follow-up Report by HMIC concludes that LOCOG has processes in place to address the problems identified in the 2011 Report and is on track to deliver the required numbers of personnel, although it emphasises the urgent need to produce a complete set of standard operating procedures, some of which are still outstanding, so that training can be developed.
FebruaryInternal assurance report on Olympic venue security produced by the Home Office.
MarchSecond internal assurance report produced by the Home Office
AprilLOCOG commissions a report on the management of the G4S venue security workplace programme from Deloitte

According to Nick Buckles, G4S implement all the recommendations within one week: "[we] put in a new governance structure, put in a new management information reporting template and make sure the meetings were more formally organised on a weekly basis." (QQ14-17).

AprilThird internal assurance report produced by the Home Office
JuneFourth internal assurance report produced by the Home Office
7 JuneMeeting of the Board of G4S plc, where progress in implementing the contract is discussed. This is the last formal Board meeting before the scale of the problem becomes apparent.
27 June


Olympic Security Board meeting at the Home Office, chaired by Charles Farr. Representatives of the Home Office, military, police, LOCOG and G4S are present, about 40 people in total

G4S and LOCOG report that they are experiencing 'scheduling problems' and that there might be a possible temporary shortfall in the number of staff deployed from 1 July, although the number involved would be fewer than 1,000.

G4S says that the shortfall is due mainly to staff being unavailable for work until 27 July.

The meeting considers drawing on the Military Contingency Force, which had been created to provide help in the event of a civil emergency (such as a flood ) during the Olympics.

28 June


Home Office seeks approval to move 200 of the 1,000-strong Military Contingency Force at 24 hours' notice, for perimeter guarding duties

30 June


Troops from the Contingency Force start to deploy
3 July


David Taylor-Smith, Chief Operating Officer of G4S, rings Nick Buckles, Chief Executive (who is on holiday) to tell him that there is going to be a shortfall of staff.

According to Nick Buckles, this is the date on which G4S informed LOCOG and the Home Office of the problem, but they were not yet fully aware of its scale:

"... we informed LOCOG and we then set up a daily working party with LOCOG and the Home Office to work through the issues we were experiencing. We are very transparent with the issues we are experiencing, but it was very difficult right through that process on a daily basis to see. We were still confident early on that we were going to produce the numbers, but the more and more we dug into the data, looked at the process, looked at the scheduling, day by day we started to realise that the pipeline and the people we thought we were going to be able to deliver we couldn't. So it was a daily evaluation of what was coming through in terms of what we could or could not deliver, and we were sharing that quite openly." (Q 24)

5 July


Charles Farr decides that G4S are not solving the problem, based on "data we were getting from the ground, rather than data I was getting from G4S" (Q 482)
6 July


The Home Office begins contingency planning for a larger draw-down from the Military Contingency Force, of an additional 200 personnel, bringing the total to 400.

G4S still say they are confident of meeting their numbers.

Ian Horseman-Sewell, G4S Account Director for London 2012, tells Reuters News Agency "We are delivering a London Olympics now. If there was a similar event going on in Australia, I would be bullish that we could deliver this at the same time." (G4S targets big events after Olympics boost, Reuters, 6 July 2012)

Nick Buckles speaks to the Home Secretary on the phone, and assures her that this was an internal issue that would be resolved by early the following week (QQ 20-22)

9 July


Number of personnel drawn from the Military Contingency Force rises by 325, to 725.
10 July


Home Secretary meets Nick Buckles, who makes no mention of the scale of the problem.
11 July


Following an early meeting at LOCOG's offices, G4S tell the Olympic Security Board for the first time that they are no longer confident of reaching the their workforce targets.

The Home Office immediately activates the contingency plans which were drawn up earlier in the week, to add a total of 3,500 troops from the Contingency Force to the 7,500 agreed December.

This brings the total number of military personnel supporting the Games in a variety of roles to 17,000, including the military personnel deployed on functions wider than venue security.

12 July


The Home Secretary answers an urgent question on Olympics (Security) (HC Deb, 12 July 2012, col. 451).

She tells the House that 10,000 Olympic and Paralympic tickets will be donated to the armed services via Tickets for Troops. Access for 2,000 people to spectator areas in the Mall for the Olympic cycle road races and the Olympic marathon will also be made available, as will the right to buy 2,000 Olympic park tickets. A total of 7,000 tickets have been offered to the troops for the dress rehearsals of the opening and closing ceremonies.

13 July


G4S notify the Stock Exchange of the situation (QQ 39-40)
20 JulyBeginning of Games Time
27 JulyOlympic opening ceremony
12 AugustOlympic closing ceremony

13 August

The MoD announces that G4S has donated £2.5 million to armed forces charities

This is the first date on which the number of staff supplied by G4S matches demand from LOCOG

28 AugustG4S issues its half-yearly results, which show that it expects to make a loss of £50 million on the Olympics contract (consistent with the figure given by Nick Buckles when he appeared before the Committee in July). The anticipated loss consists of:
  • the additional costs relating to the deployment of the increased military and police personnel based ,
  • their estimates of potential penalties and contractual liabilities, and
  • the additional costs relating to the provision of increased internal resources to deliver the contract

The accompanying statement says that G4S delivered 83% of contracted shifts, with 8,000 staff on the ground at peak times.

Media reports suggest that G4S might not bid for major, one-off sporting events in future.

29 AugustParalympic Opening Ceremony
9 SeptemberParalympic Closing Ceremony
10 SeptemberEnd of Games Time
13 SeptemberClosure of Olympic Village
30 SeptemberOriginal end of the term of the G4S contract, although this can be postponed by LOCOG

63   These quotes are taken from a short summary published by the Home Office; the full document is not published Back

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Prepared 21 September 2012