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

3  Venue security costs

7.  In our March 2012 report we noted that the cost of providing venue security at the Games had nearly doubled from £282 million at the time of the Government's 2010 Spending Review to £553 million in December 2011. In response to the Committee's concerns about the increased costs, the Department's position has been that it was not possible to produce final costs before the detailed venue plans and competition schedules were drawn up, and that that the costs would not have been different from where they are now had it been possible to produce a more accurate assessment earlier.

8.  We are not convinced. We are not security experts, but the sheer scale of the increase in the number of guards required in barely more than a year from 10,000 to over 23,000, coupled with the fact that LOCOG entered a commercial contract on the basis of the earlier estimates and then had to renegotiate the terms of that contract within a year, does not give us confidence in the management of this aspect of the preparations for the Games. Accountability for monitoring security arrangements is unclear and there is insufficient challenge for service providers. Further, the rise in programme management and operational costs over the year more than twelve fold from £10 million to £125 million has yet to be convincingly justified to us.   

9.  When we reported, in March 2012 that the Ministry of Defence had agreed to provide 7,500 military personnel to work as security guards during the Games; this was in addition to around 3,300 civilian volunteers. The remaining requirement for around 13,000 was to be supplied by G4S. LOCOG and the Home Office told us that they were confident that G4S would be able to provide all the required private sector security guards. We concluded, however, that LOCOG and G4S faced a significant challenge to recruit, train and coordinate all the security guards in time for the Games.

10.  On 12 July, just two weeks before the opening ceremony, the Government announced that G4S was unable to provide the contracted number of security guards. As a direct result, the Government authorised the deployment of a further 3,500 military personnel to fill the gap. This will bring the total number of military personnel supporting security at the Games to 17,000. We acknowledge that it seems an effective contingency plan is being implemented. However, we are concerned that, despite previous assurances, G4S will receive substantial sums of public money without providing the contracted number of guards. Value for taxpayers' money demands that G4S not only pays for all additional costs incurred by the Government, but also incurs financial penalties for the failure to deliver. We will return to this matter as a priority after the Games.

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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 19 July 2012