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Saturday, 23 March


22nd March 2019

What a week that was...
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Be inspired. Volunteer. Tackle Hunger - Come To Dinner

Grapevine has to admire and congratulate all those who volunteer and fundraise for the Stop Hunger charity and all those who this week pledged to spend time in the coming year to volunteering - #MyStopHungerPledge.

Is it only me, though, that finds holding a black tie dinner at one of London's top hotels to celebrate the Stop Hunger Awards just a little strange - in fact to my eye, a potential PR disasater.

On the evening of March 19, approximately 500 people gathered at the Dorchester Hotel to celebrate their achievements at the Stop Hunger Foundation/Sodexo Foundation Dinner.

£174,000 had been raised for Stop Hunger - £350,000 was raised the year before.

The Stop Hunger Foundation works with charities - donating time, skills and money to tackle hunger, support good nutrition and promote life skills in local communities. Donations support over 15 charities which include FareShare, the Trussell Trust (the Foundation’s national foodbank partner), SSAFA, Focus Ireland, Magic Breakfast and Coram. One particular milestone that was celebrated is Sodexo and Fareshare’s 10-year partnership. Since the partnership began, Stop Hunger has donated over £1million to FareShare.

Singing for their supper

The event was hosted by Sodexo ambassador Matt Dawson and included a welcome performance from the Marylebone Choir Project. The choir is an initiative which benefits directly from Stop Hunger’s support of FareShare - it was the choristers’ first ever performance.

Sodexo CEO Denis Machuel, attended the event and encouraged all those in the room to make a #MyStopHungerPledge to volunteer.

2019 Stop Hunger Awards Winners

Charity Champion award - Mark Howie, Justice Services.

Volunteering award - Omy Lawal, Transversal Functions.

Stop Hunger Day Initiative award - Tim Fagan, Defence & Government Services.

Most Innovative Fundraising Idea award - Marie Arthur, Sports & Leisure.

Strange Message

I couldn't help wondering about another potential PR boob. Computer coding is about to be taught in prisons to help offenders return to the world of work - notice work as opposed to the world of cyber crime.

A new £1.2 million pilot scheme promises the prisoners will be carefully vetted as they learn digital skills.

The programme is modelled on the Last Mile project in the San Quentin prison in California which has helped almost 500 offenders with a zero per cent reoffending rate of participants. The national average reoffending rate in the US is 55 per cent.


Do take a look if you haven't done so already at one of the major news items on the ThisWeekinFM home page.

A global aluminium producer with multiple sites, including furnaces, has been the victim of a cybersecurity attack which lead to an inability to connect to the production systems and caused a stoppage at several plants.

It was reported that the impact was felt at both European and American plants. Hydro (the company concerned) operates in forty countries and employs over 35,000 personnel. Hydro was forced to isolate all plants and switch to manual operations as far as possible.

On Yer Bike

What would be considered a PR boob in any other walk of life except politics took shape this week and it concerns a topic dear to ThisWeekinFM readers - cycling.

Lord Winston has declared that we need cycling licences and insurance to control the 'hoodlums in Lycra'.

Winston - a Labour man - has clearly nearly been hit as he crossed the roads around Parliament reading his Morning Star.

Lady Barran - a Conservative - retorted when Winston spoke this week, that only 'a small minority of cyclists, motorists and smombies', caused problems. Smombies are people on smartphones walking like zombies,

Winston replied: "An increasing number of cyclists are extremely aggressive and don't follow the rules on one-way streets, pedestrian crossings and red traffic lights - and from time to time they collide with pedestrians.

If the government wants to encourage cycling, they should consider an obligation to improve public safety, and therefore implement some of my measures."

One of Winston's  measures is also to make a cycling test mandatory. Ah! Memories of a school playground and the Cycling Proficiency Test - would you recommend that the employees you encourage to cycle to work get themselves tested and licensed?

Skip To The Loo

A toilet tissue importer has stockpiled over 600 tonnes of loo roll just in case supplies are affected by a No Deal Brexit.

Most of this will be held in case supermarkets run out. But have you asked your janitorial supplier to up their stocks just in case? And what else would a facilities manager worried about a post-Brexit washroom meltdown think was important? Answers on a Post Card please...presuming one can still get hold of such a thing.

Soft Sell

Cordant Services has been awarded a three year contract to deliver soft services across eight UK shopping centres managed by Capital & Regional. This presumably includes replenishing the loo roll. (I wonder if Cordant is hoarding tissue.)

We do know that under the terms of the deal, Cordant Services will provide a specialist range of cleaning and security solutions at The Mall in Blackburn, Kingfisher Shopping Centre in Redditch, Exchange in Ilford, The Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead, The Mall in Luton, The Mall in Walthamstow, The Mall in Wood Green and The Mall in Maidstone. At each site, the company will deliver a guest experience service that comprises a manned guarding solution, CCTV monitoring and traditional cleaning services and a number of Guest Experience Hosts,. A total of 380 employees will work across the eight sites, of which around 340 transferred to Cordant Services under TUPE in February 2019. Each member of staff will also receive additional training as required. 

Some Dates For Your Diary:

Facilities & Workplace Networking Club on Thursday 25 April.
A casual and informal evening, aimed at providing a comfortable environment for business people in our industry (or associated with it) to connect, discuss current topics, share ideas and build mutually beneficial commercial relationships.

Facilities Industry Charity Boxing Night Black Tie Dinner on Thursday 9 May.
This year is set to be a complete sell-out with almost 400 guests attending, including Property Owners and Occupiers, FM companies as well as Property Managing Agents.

Centre Algarve Annual Gala Dinner on Friday 17 May.
Held at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium where they will also be celebrating the anniversary of Tottenham's 1984 UEFA Cup win with many ex-players.

Facilities Industry Annual Summer River Boat Party on Thursday 11 July.
This is one of the most popular events in the facilities industry’s calendar. Guests will be enchanted with the ever-changing backdrop of London’s famous sights whilst cruising aboard London’s largest entertainment, conference and party boat.

A full list of Diary Dates can be found under the Events drop down menu at the top of every page on ThisWeekinFM.
If you would like your event listed, please email details to

For further information on any of the listed events please email

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15th March 2019

Infamy, Infamy

I was watching the BBC News channel on Wednesday evening some time after the third vote. I was tuned in to Comedy Playhouse - aka the Houses of Parliament.

Andrea Leadsom was lampooning her former leader to bits not long after Theresa had herself just given a stunning Heath Ledger Joker impersonation. Sitcoms are rarely this good.

Then strode in a new star. Cap, body vest, radio - The Security Guard was there. Just behind Leadsom, he thrust his right shoulder towards the camera and swung his face, model-like at his TV audience - and stared us all down.

What a pillock. But it got worse!

He didn't hold out for his fifteen minutes of fame; no not ten or even five. He didn't seem to have the attention span to manage 60 seconds - he yawned, he stroked his lustrous beard (even managing to create his own hairy pillow) and looked away as if the camera were no longer watching him as he was not watching it. And then he picked his nose and examined what he'd got!

Bravo, bravo - as big a credit to the House, his code and the company that sent him to that place as all the other pillocks who reside there still.

Not So Masterful

Still on a securityish theme - police in Italy have ensured the safety of a Flemish master's painting by cunningly replacing it with a fake when they got wind of a forthcoming heist.

Bravo, bravo!..Well not quite.

The thieves turned up on Wednesday to Santa Maria Maddalena church where the painting had been. The place was surrounded by CCTV and other technical wizardry. The crims came with hammers to smash their way in and out - which they did with nary a policeman or security pro in sight and thus got away scot-free, albeit with a valueless copy rather than £millions worth of Pieter Bruegel the Younger's depiction of the Crucifixion.

The surveillance footage is now being studied by investigators - who presumably will want to speak to the pillocks who failed to respond when the alarms went off.

Doesn't Cover It

When speaking about workplace productivity, Herbert Diess, Volkswagen's chief exec, used the phrase 'Ebit macht frei' at a company event on Tuesday.

Too close to the 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (Work Sets You Free) built into the gates of Auschwitz.

Pillock doesn't cover it. Diess has apologised - and that won't cover it either.

There's No Place Like Home

The Cleaning Show is at London's ExCel next week. I have registered and will pop along. PestEx and Resource Management are both on at the same time I believe.

The Cleaning Show registration page has a Google Widget language selector built in to it - clever stuff - apart from not having English as one of the choices. It did have Irish - and Welsh which is even less spoken in the UK than Afrikaans. Afrikaans is what I selected. The site did not translate but it did at least then give me the option to select English thereafter - which made me feel a lot more at home.

Spring Statement

The main pages of ThisWeekinFM feature a Spring Statement - what you need to know article. It is something of a tradition for TWinFM to cover what comes out of the Chancellor's office but in truth there wasn't much there to distract from the Brexit debacle.

However, Julia Evans, Chief Executive at BSRIA dropped us a line to say: 'BSRIA is reassured the Chancellor has put sustainable energy on the radar to combat climate change. Meanwhile, measures that help to attract, train and retain workers into the industry are supported by BSRIA. This is one of the biggest challenges industry is facing today. Apprenticeships are a clear mechanism for industry to take on new talent and equip workers with the skills they need to flourish. Only last week BSRIA was calling on industry to make the most of National Apprenticeship Week – declaring that young people, engineers and entrepreneurs alike can rise to the top through traineeships and apprenticeships'.

Getting Around

Eighty-one per cent of decision makers working for small and medium sized businesses that use vehicles believe they could get more jobs done if they could digitise more of their workflow, according to a new study from TomTom Telematics.

Yet, when asked how they handle everyday tasks such as expense management, customer updates and quoting and invoicing, the majority revealed they either manually or somewhat manually do so.

The respondents also expressed frustration regarding internal communication and team management. Fifty-one per cent said the inability of their field teams to follow the assigned schedule has a negative impact on their business and 53 per cent indicated they are not certain their drivers are behaving safely on the road. Meanwhile, 55 per cent agreed they have an issue regarding miscommunication with their field team.

Conflicting Reports

ThisWeekinFM's Property section carries its lead story on Brexit causing a lack of starts on new commercial premises across the country.

However, a conflicting report focusing on London says 76 skyscrapers will be finished in 2019 although it has to be said many of these will be residential or mixed use.

The London Boroughs of Camden, Barnet and Hounslow all have their first big towers (20 storeys or more) ever under construction, while Tower Hamlets - a heavy urbanised area to the east of the City, will complete the most with the second highest concentration coming to Lambeth.

A record 76 new skyscrapers will stand against the capital's skyline as more towers hit London than any other year in the city's history.

The figures come from the London Tall Buildings Survey.

Painting A Healthier Picture

National procurement organisation Fusion21 has announced the suppliers successfully appointed to its national Painting, Decorating & Associated Repairs Framework– offering a potential combined worth of up to £90 million over a four year period.

A total of 13 highly skilled firms – including SMEs – have secured a place on the framework which offers painting, decorating and repairs services, including both internal and external works.

Peter Francis, Director of Operations at Fusion21 said: “This framework offers a holistic range of painting and decorating services, with Fusion21 members benefiting from greater efficiency savings plus coverage available at a national and local level. In addition, the framework has also been designed to generate social value outcomes that fit with the priorities of our members.”

Fusion21 provides access to a wide range of construction, property and built environment procurement frameworks compliant with EU, UK and Scottish legislation. To date the firm has saved its members more than £197million, created more than 5,500 jobs and generated more than £78 million in community impact.

Green Drivers Work In Grounds Maintenance

According to the latest statistics from online insurance comparison site The Van Insurer, gardeners are the most accident-prone tradesmen in the UK.

The insurer analysed tradesmen quotes and claims processed throughout 2017 and identified that 77 per cent of gardeners had a collision claim - the highest percentage of all tradesmen.

Yorkshire was highlighted as the most prang-prone region, with 92 per cent of fault claims made by gardeners being for third party collisions.

At the other end of the scale, joiners were identified as the most careful drivers, with less than two-thirds of fault claims due to collisions. Joiners in the South-West also proved to be the most bump-free van drivers, registering no at-fault collision claims.

Electricians proved to be the bad boys of tradesmen, with 19 per cent of insurance quote requests already carrying a motoring conviction.

However, it isn’t all bad news for gardeners, who are the least likely to get caught out speeding, driving without insurance or using a mobile phone when driving.

Mowlem Award Open For Applications

B&CE’s Charitable Trust, which provides support for construction workers, is calling for organisations to apply for the Mowlem Award 2019.

Now in its fifth year, The Mowlem Award, worth £20,000, is granted to organisations that make a substantial difference to training and the promotion of health and safety in the construction industry.

The winner of the 2018 award was Mates in Mind, an organisation that partners with charities and organisations including Mind and The Samaritans to help and improve positive mental wellbeing in the construction industry. The charity used the £20,000 grant to develop mental health training and support for apprentices in construction.”

Applications are open until Monday 15 April 2019. To find more information on the application process - Click Here

Dishing Up Appointments

Bartlett Mitchell the caterer has made three high profile appointments.

James Greetham is joining as strategic business development director. Russell Scanlon has joined as director (northern region) and Neil MacLaurin has been appointed as non-executive director.

Sustainable Investing

Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insight, Refinitiv has appointed Leon Saunders Calvert as Head of Sustainable Investing & Fund Ratings.

This is a newly created role that brings together Refinitiv’s ESG Sustainable Investing and Lipper Fund Ratings businesses to increase focus on unearthing links between sustainable business strategies and financial performance. 

As asset owners and investors increasingly make strategic investment decisions based on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) factors, Refinitiv is committed to providing insight and transparency around the link between sustainability and financial performance and plans to increase the universe of corporates covered in its ESG database while initiating ESG scores on public mutual funds.

In For Them, In For Them

Under European tendering arrangement neither France or Italy put work on Naval ships out to any other country but their own. The UK put its tenders out to all and sundry.

According to Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry we are on the cusp of an offshore wind energy revolution - but the contracts to fabricate for turbines that will be situated off of Fife are likely to go overseas.

The Moray East and Kincardine offshore wind farm projects have a total value of around £2.8 billion but the fabrication work for five supporting platforms will go to Spanish state shipbuilders Nevantia. 

Meanwhile, the Moray East project procurement firm GeoSea DEME has awarded contracts for one hundred turbine jackets to UAE fabricators Lamprell and Belgian steel constructors Smulders.

The great shipyards of Fife which now rely on building for offshore, could end up with nothing.

GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said: "The truth is that state funded European energy and engineering firms, backed by Far East finance and Middle East sovereign wealth funds, are carving-up thousands of jobs and billions of pounds from our renewables sector."

I would have it in for them if I could - and I mean all 650 MPs. Brexit is a debacle. The UK's relationship with Europe is a debacle. Our Government - is a debacle and has been for decades.

Leave, remain, stay a bit longer, stay a bit longer than that - the people of this country deserve better and they've deserved better long before some pillock called an appeasement referendum believing no majority would choose to revolt against the status quo.