The security contract for the Olympics provides a unique opportunity to learn lessons for the future. Not only for future major events but security and stewarding contracts in general, whether public or private sector let.
While I am full of admiration for the scrutiny of the Select Committees, although in the past I have suggested their Inquiries could have been perhaps been more forensic. So, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting questions which the Inquiry should ask in the hope they may help us all learn for the future. Of course these questions could also asked by others concerned with procuring security and events stewarding, so here goes:
- What lessons were learnt from similar contracts in the past?
- What outcomes were specified? (if the emphasis was on outcomes there may have been less need for 'people' than if input and output driven)
- What KPIs were specified?
- What was the approach to pre-event risk assessment and management? (i.e. from contract award to the guards and stewards going on site)
- What was learnt from early supplier dialogue?
- What selection and award criteria were used?
- Was the contract let in accordance with public procurement rules?
- Were lots used? (e.g., the facility for potential bidders to bid for different sites as opposed to the whole Olympiad)
- How many bids were received? (a lack of bids may indicate unrealistic expectations)
- What was the contract start date? (i.e. has the contract actually started or are we all pre-empting failure to supply)
- Does the contract provide a facility, in the event of contractor failure to provide, or probability of failure to provide, which gives the client the right to obtain elsewhere and recoup additional costs from the contractor?
- With the benefit of hindsight, what should have been done differently?