Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nick ...... Buckles

The writers of the brilliant TV show Twenty-Twelve couldn't have made up a character like Nick Buckles, or the level of fiasco caused by G4S. It's beyond parody.

Facing a panel of MPs, Mr Buckles looked ill-prepared and confused, which is exactly the image that his company G4S now has. He was asked by Labour MP David Winnick whether the problems of G4S represented a "humiliating shambles for the company", Mr Buckles responded: "I could not disagree with you." He also remarked that keeping track of the 100,000 job applicants had proved to be "a challenge". He admitted that he couldn't be sure how many of the 7,000 staff contracted to provide security at the games would turn up on the opening day. There have already been examples of huge shortfalls of security staff at several pre-games events, requiring either police or army personnel to fill the gap at very short notice.

Remarkably, Mr Buckles admitted that his company regarded security contract as a vanity project with little prospect of a profit. He's been proved right on that one. He also said "We did it to boost our reputation". Wrong there, then. However, he feels that G4S is entitled to keep their £57 million management fee. Hands up who agrees. No-one at all, then.

This won't be an end to the matter. It beggars belief that it took until a few weeks before the games until someone in the Government learned that there was a problem. As it happens, the influx of army and police personnel may strengthen, rather than weaken security, and there are some who argue this was always the desired outcome. I'm not so sure. It seems to me that someone knew a lot more than they have so far admitted. Heads will most certainly roll. I suspect that several government ministers seated in the Olympic stadium in the next few weeks will spend more time looking over their shoulders than watching the athletes.

Lastly, apparently no-one thought of asking Mr Buckles about the rumour that the G4S staff party, due to be held in a local brewery, has had to be cancelled due to lack of bar staff.

1 comment:

Ian R McAllister said...

LOL! Rabbit in the headlights came to mind this evening when I watched his highlights (lowlights, actually...) of his presence. He must have done some media training though, as answers like "I couldn't disagree with that" didn't fully endorse the ringing condemnation of his company.

As a recruiter, G4S seems to have got the whole recruitment exercise wrong. The shear volume should have told them that the diversity of skills coming into their pipeline would be huge. Interestingly, McDonalds - who are taking a lot of stick for being a fast food company at a healthy event - took on the recruitment and training of the volunteer ambassadors, and they all seem to be recruited/trained/uniformed and upto the required numbers. G4S could have done worse than to have outsourced their recruitment and tracking of their systems to McD's, who are acknowledged experts in taking all people and skills, yet still producing a consistent (though some may argue, not edible) product.

Personally, I am dispointed that the media keeps dragging this story forward. Surely the fact that the level of training of the security force has gone up should be a good story, so do we really need to wallow in the failure of a contractor who seem to want a bigger JCB? Lets get around these games and celebrate, and not chuck mud at them like our media seems to want to