G4S in running for Commonwealth Games contract

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Despite London Olympics guarding fiasco, security firm makes 19-strong list for next summer's Glasgow games

G4S (LSE: GFS.L - news) , the security firm that admitted its failure to provide enough staff for the London Olympics was a “humiliating shambles”, is in line to win a stewarding contract for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The scandal-ridden group, which is now embroiled in a Serious Fraud Office probe into its contract for tagging criminals, is one of 19 companies invited to work at the sporting event next summer.

G4S is part of a group of companies enlisted to help provide safety stewarding. A separate group will provide security services at the Games, including protection, patrols and surveillance.

Games chiefs on Monday published a list of firms that have been “invited to sign up to framework agreements” to support Scotland’s police force at next July’s competition.

They also include Securigroup, Showsec International and AP Security.

G4S was vilified after the group, under the leadership of former chief executive Nick Buckles, admitted that it had failed to recruit and train enough guards for the 2012 Olympics. In the end 3,500 troops had to be called in to make up the shortfall.

When asked by an MP at a parliamentary committee if the whole situation was not a “humiliating shambles”, Mr Buckles conceded: “I cannot disagree with you. It’s not where we want to be, that’s for certain.”

The fiasco left G4S nursing an £88m bill and played a major part in Mr Buckles losing his job in May after a profits warning sealed his fate.

His successor, former BG group finance director Ashley Almanza, is now trying to clean up the group.

Unveiling a strategic review earlier this month, Mr Almanza criticised the former management for having a “short-term focus”, which sometimes “undermined some of our core values”.

He cited the Olympics shambles as an example of a contract where “in our desire to chase a short term objective for a short-term pay-off, we have over-reached”.

A G4S spokesman said on Monday: “We are pleased to confirm that we have been appointed to the framework to provide safety stewarding at venues for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“G4S already provides services at a number of the venues which are to be used for the Games at hundreds of events throughout the year and we have a good understanding of the requirements for each of those venues.

“Should we be successful as part of the stewarding framework, we will deploy trained and experienced staff already working for us at these venues.”

The spokesman stressed that G4S did not bid for the security element of the Glasgow games contract.

G4S is awaiting the findings of a Cabinet Office review of all of its government contracts, launched in the wake of the tagging scandal, before it can bid for new central government contracts. The review is due at the end of this month or early next.