So can G4S keep its money despite its London Olympics security debacle? G4S chief executive Nick Buckle, when he appeared before the House of Commons home affairs committee, seemed to know very little about what had brought about the “humiliating shambles” – but he knew this: Yes, he expected to keep the £57m “management” fee in the contract. “We’ve had management in place to plan the contract and we will have management on venue to help run the venue.”
He underlined the point: “We’ve managed the contract and we’ve had management on the ground for two years … We are still expected to deliver a significant number of staff to the Olympics.”
But what is the legal position? The logic of Buckle’s argument seems to be that the outcome of the “management” – failure to fulfil the terms of the contract – is irrelevant. This was incomprehensible to members of the committee, among them Lorraine Fullbrook, who said: “If you contract to deliver a service and you don’t actually deliver it – first of all I don’t think you should claim a management fee … but you also have to pay for your cockups.”
Mrs Fullbrook is, sadly, labouring under a naïve misapprehension – that we should pay people who do their jobs and not pay people who fail to do so, as one commentator put it.