The Security Industry Authority (SIA) have launched an investigation into a company contracted to supply fire marshals for the Olympic games, Political Scrapbook can reveal. In a letter (below) to John Prescott, home secretary Theresa May said that Close Protection UK (CPUK) would be probed after unpaid workers were forced to sleep rough in central London before the Jubilee river pageant.
Prescott had argued that the revelations about the company and its owner Molly Prince appeared to show a breach by CPUK of 2.4.2(f) of the SIA Approved Contractor Status Terms and Conditions of Approval, which states a contractor can have approved status removed if it is “found no longer to meet the fit and proper person criteria applied by the SIA.”
Speaking to Political Scrapbook, Prescott said:
“I now await an urgent response from my letter to LOCOG requesting an investigation into how CPUK were appointed to a reported £850,000 fire marshalling contract for the Olympic venues and the company’s competencies to deliver it.”
“I believe the safety of spectators, staff and competitors is of the utmost importance and we need to be assured that CPUK can deliver this.”
This is further to an existing inquiry by the Prospects Group, the company responsible for running a government workfare programme in South West England, into both CPUK and the charity Tomorrow’s People which was involved in organising the jubilee workfare placements with CPUK.
But a report commissioned by the SIA into their Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) showed that it was a laughing stock within the industry. Security managers were quoted saying that the tick-box system was unenforced and “incredibly easy” to pass, with one saying: “To apply for ACS all you need to do is cut and paste from [security companies] G4S and Mitie and you’ve got it.”
The report may also offer some explanation as to why 2012 organisers went with the CPUK bid — thought to be “significantly more competitive” — when it only provides fire marshals in comparison to trained firefighters offered by competitors:
“Small companies can now go into a tendering process with a tick next to SIA licences and a tick next to ACS, which are the same ticks as [Company X]. Whereas in reality [Company X] is much better. So contracts are going to the cheapest companies.”
The gold medal for cutting corners goes to …