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UK Government Publishes Facilities Management Strategy

UK Government Publishes Facilities Management Strategy
15 November 2022

The government has released a guide to establishing a coordinated and aspirational FM strategy.

In the document, Alex Chisholm, Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary, describes the “direct link “between the quality of workplaces and the services provided from them. He writes: “Improving facilities management will support better services for our citizens. This strategy sets out how we will get there.”

The document is intended to detail improvements to the public sector estate, as well as acting as a blueprint for well-managed facilities services across the UK.

The FM sector contributes more than £65 billion to the UK economy, with around £13 billion coming directly from public sector procurement.

Let’s take a look at some of the key points raised in the strategy:


COVID-19 Brought FM “Centre Stage”


Unsurprisingly, the increased visibility of facilities management service teams is raised at the outset of the strategy. The role of FM teams in allowing the public to safely access services in courts, job centres, hospitals, schools and offices is described as inspiring “the confidence we have in the vision for the strategy.”

Furthermore, the industry anticipates the results of a government inquiry into the role of cleaning and hygiene operatives during the pandemic, which will inform the wider national UK COVID-19 Inquiry.


A Focus on the Transformation and Increased Digitalisation of Public Services


The strategy also addresses how facilities management must support the ongoing transformation and increased digitalisation of public services. It emphasises how estates are not static, and they must adapt as service delivery models evolve through technological developments. Customer demand is important too – service users’ expectations for accessible and convenient services must also be taken into account.

The lack of standardisation of management arrangements and use of technology, resulting in a limited ability to measure and benchmark performance is also noted, and by 2025, the government aims to “make greater use of innovations and technology” to support effective FM service delivery.


FM Must Demonstrate its Value


The development and deployment of government-wide metrics for user experience, statutory and contract compliance are also related to this. Such a system may eventually act as a sector-wide framework for best-in-class FM service deliver. As the document states: ”Across government organisations various customer charters, standards and measures are in place to understand and manage user experiences and satisfaction. Furthermore, this data is held in a number of places, currently varying in content and consistency and not accessible to support the decision-making when planning FM service delivery.

“The adoption of consistent standards and common government-wide metrics for the measurement of user experience within the changing landscape of operational and workplace delivery will support better analysis and drive service improvements.”

Despite FM’s role at “centre stage” of safe and effective operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategy also states that facilities managers must better demonstrate the value their work provides to all stakeholders and society.  For example, the strategy suggests that the vast amount of data that CAFM systems generate can be better employed to demonstrate supplier performance and cost savings.


Be Wary of The Ensuing FM Recruitment Crisis


FM professionals make up a large proportion of the government property profession, and 25 per cent of these colleagues have more than 20 years of experience in the sector. Therefore, to make up for the shortfall when this cohort of workers retires, FMs must incorporate senior succession planning into their objectives. The profession needs to also maintain a professional face to attract the best talent.

The Government Property Function wants to raise the profile of the FM profession as a career choice across government departments, developing training routes in partnership with the IWFM.


The FM’s Role in Decarbonisation Efforts


FMs will play a central role in helping to deliver decarbonisation projects and help meet net-zero targets. How facilities management services are delivered can have a vast impact on these targets, and the strategy says FMs should focus on minimising waste and promoting resource efficiency, reducing water use, and procuring sustainable products and services.

You can read the strategy in full here.

Picture: a photograph of a city skyline taken from below, showing the full height of two skyscraper buildings. Image Credit: Pixabay

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 15 November 2022


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