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G4S – A Recruitment mess of Olympic Proportions

The Diary of an employable blogaholic…G4S – A Recruitment mess of Olympic Proportions

Watching the news this weekend with all the interviews with the ‘David Brent-like’ Chief Executive of G4S, Nick Buckles, it was hard not to feel angry at the scale of the incompetence on display. However, whether Nick Buckles is a good public speaker, is neither here nor there, and it is always easy to blame just the one person personally for such a recruitment shambles. The ‘buck stops here’ approach, which I am sure will be the Government line, just simply, does not cut it.

With my own solid enough background in recruitment for nearly 10 years, I can see that this was a massive ‘balls up’ of pipelining ‘staff numbers’. Anyone who has recruited on a large-scale for banks, will appreciate the amount of paperwork and checks that are needed to get even a temporary staff member through the door – and one would imagine that the same level of checks were needed by G4S to get one security person ‘game ready’ and cleared to work.

That is why it is completely inconceivable that it was only last week that the G4S management really only understood that the 10,000 security personnel that they had been targeted and paid to provide, was in fact a target that was never going to be reached.

Taking into account the fact that the Coalition Government increased security personnel requirements at the end of 2011, G4S still had a minimum of 7 months to pipeline the number of personnel required. Let’s suggest that in March they had cleared at least a few staff members, you can surmise that there was possibly a 12 week turnaround, from application, to short listing, through to checks and clearance approved. I would suggest that by March, real alarm bells, must have at least been ringing, otherwise how else do we get to the 6000 shortfall that G4S now admits is the case?

There is a bigger picture here. Who did G4S report to? Locog [London Olympic Organising Committee] and the Government must take as much blame here. A case of blaming the monkey and not the organ grinder here methinks. The G4S contract for providing security personnel was awarded 5 years ago. 5 years ago! Now we are being told with less than two weeks to go that another almighty carry-on is going down.

The response by all parties is just not good enough. This is not some, ‘reality home improvements programme’, where the decorators get it right – just before the family come home. This has been a 5 year plan in the making, and to be so badly off, in terms of recruiting successfully, one wonders why we, the taxpayers, will have to foot the bill!

Of course, we are told that security for the games is not in jeopardy. And one hopes that this is the case.

TheEmployable are angry at this, because whilst G4S, the Government and Locog stumble around for answers, there are reports that unemployment could near 3 million people. 3 million people unemployed and we are told that it was too difficult to manage recruiting 10,000 staff? This comes at a time, when the government talks a good talk about dealing with Youth Unemployment, and also coming down hard on the long-term unemployed! This comes at a time when we are told of new schemes to offer Apprenticeships and a time when millions are being spent bringing in new schemes to help upskill or retrain the recently redundant.

So with the weekend gone and G4S’ Nick Buckles head still on the chopping board, take a moment not to clamber onto the ‘it was all Nick’s fault’ bandwagon. This is where you need the Government, with all its posturing over dealing with unemployment, to stand up, and admit their failings too, rather than passing the buck (or the baton in this case) all onto Nick’s door.

Maybe a final lesson here is not to award a company with the number 4 in its’ title, a big government contract! After G4S, and before that the A4E scandal….we can only wonder what is next 4 all of us.

Hail the Employable! 


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