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Friday, July 20, 2012

The £65 million G4S uniform rip-off

No wonder G4S chief executive Nick Buckles is
 having a good laugh, his firm convinced the
Tories to shell out over £6,000 per uniform.
The staggeringly incompetent handling of the £285 million Olympic security contract by private security group G4S has raised numerous important questions. Here are just a few:
  • When did G4S realise that there was a problem and why wasn't it spotted far earlier?  
  • When was the Government first informed by G4S that they couldn't provide the number of guards it was contracted to?
  • What form did Government oversight of the contract take, and why were recruitment problems not spotted sooner?
  • Why do politicians have such an appalling track record of applying rigorous penalty clauses to outsourcing contracts?
  • With G4S chief executive Neil Buckles and Home Secretary Theresa May both hiding behind the "I didn't know what was going on so I shouldn't be held accountable" excuse, who, if anybody will be held accountable for this fiasco?
  • How can a 12 fold increase in "management fees" written into the contract after it was renegotiated by the Tories be justified?
  • How much of the cost of providing at least 3,500 soldiers and hundreds of police to cover the missing G4S workers is going to be borne by G4S?
  • Will any action be taken to prevent G4S from bidding for future government contracts until they can prove that they have improved corporate oversight and accountability at the company?
  • In the wake of this debacle, does anyone still consider it a good idea to outsource even more police work to this company?
  • Why have UK governments over the last three decades tended to assume that the private sector is always more efficient than the public sector?
 These are all questions that have appeared in one form or another in the mainstream press and the public deserve answers.

There is one question that seems to have eluded the majority of the mainstream media which to me is one of the most important. It is all to do with the renegotiation of the contract terms in December 2012 and the cost of uniforms.

According to the Guardian G4S were originally contracted to provide 2,000 security staff and a sum of £3 million was agreed to cover the cost of providing uniforms. At an average cost of £1,500 per uniform the original deal looked like an eye-wateringly expensive rip-off for the taxpayer, however instead of trying to force these costs down when the contract was renegotiated, the Tories allowed G4S to inflate their uniform costs to a frankly unbelievable £65 million for 10,400 uniforms, or an average of £6,250 per uniform. If we consider that the company should have already made procurement arrangements for the uniforms of the original 2,000 staff, the costs of the uniforms for the additional 8,400 are even worse at an average of £7,381 per additional member of staff.

The immediate response it to wonder how on Earth G4S thought they could get away with charging such an amount? Perhaps they were planning to say "oops, we slipped a decimal point, it was meant to be £6.5 million". However this is beside the point, it should come as absolutely no surprise that a profit seeking private company would try to rip off the taxpayer in order to boost their company profits. The real question should be; who signed off on the deal?

The next step for anyone concerned at the sheer scale of this rip-off should be to contact their local MP asking them to determine who signed off on the revised G4S contract and to put pressure on G4S to provide all relevant details of how the £65 million fee for uniforms was actually calculated.

You can find contact details for your local MP on the They Work for You website.


 
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1 comment:

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