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G4S blames tech failure as ‘root cause’ of Olympics fiasco


The Home Secretary is under pressure to explain why 3,500 soldiers are being deployed to support the Games

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A miscalculation in the computer systems of embattled G4S is to blame for its failure to provide the right amount of security staff to support the London 2012 Olympic Games this summer.

The company’s IT systems failed to correctly calculate staff rostering, which has now been identified as the “root cause of the problem”, the Independent newspaper reported on Monday.

G4S won the security contract with LOCOG, the organisers of the Olympic Games, after it submitted a tender at least 25 percent lower than any of its competitors. However, it was revealed last week that it was not going to be able to fulfil its contractual commitments and the Home Office is being forced to deploy some 3,500 soldiers to cover the shortfall.

Home secretary Theresa May is now under pressure to explain why the government has had to make the decision to deploy troops at this late stage, considering that the Games start in the capital next week.

A statement from May said: “We were receiving reassurances from G4S until very recently, and the absolute gap in numbers was crystallised finally only yesterday [14 July].” 

Nick Buckles, chief executive at G4S, has said that the firm faces a penalty of up to £20 million for failing to deliver on its £284 million contract, as well as having to pay the Ministry of Defence (MoD) £30 million for providing the troops, bringing the total cost to £50 million.

Shares in G4S were fell this morning to the lowest level since last December amid mounting concerns the company’s failure to fulfil its Olympics contract could have wider implications for the group.

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