The FM frontline

Building collaborative relationships

by Chris Cunniff

By Dennis Markey, Chief Operating Officer

It’s been a busy couple of months and I can’t believe we are already in September. This month has already seen me facing a number of challenges, including briefly standing in as CEO while Elaine was on annual leave and also managing a number of issues that we’ve unfortunately experienced on the frontline.

I appreciate that from time-to-time things can go wrong and I’ve supported a variety of frontline challenges over the last month, from broken lifts to failing water pumps, but these are all issues that we are used to as Facilities Management professionals and will work hard to ensure they are rectified and don’t affect our NHS patients and colleagues. We are continuing to grow and develop as a company, developing collaborative relationships with our customers and contractors, ensuring that our planning, practice and overall service provision continues to improve.

Improving customer engagement is something that the company champions and I personally advocate. Many of our customer or stakeholder issues are resolved by face-to-face meetings, allowing us all to talk through any challenges or adversity. I try to ensure that all parties come out of these types of meetings with an agreed solution, an improved relationship and a strategy for next steps. With this in mind, I was delighted to recently attend our first joint ‘Customer Board’ alongside NHS Clinical Commissioners.  The meeting was an opportunity to work alongside representatives from NHSCC and GP/CCG colleagues – sharing information and ideas for more effective collaboration moving forward.  All parties deemed it a success and we are planning our next meeting already.

It’s great to see a number of construction projects getting off to a good start, which customers and members of the community will hopefully be delighted about, as it will see investment and improvement to their local NHS estate, ensuring they can provide and receive healthcare in modern and fit for purpose environments. Particular examples include, the development of a new £2.7m medical facility at Park Prewett, Basingstoke, which has recently seen construction start and also the appointment of architects for the Hythe Hospital rebuild and the work to redevelop Guisborough Hospital in South Tees.

We currently have over 425 live capital and construction schemes across the country, from flagship schemes such as new hospitals and health centres to smaller refurbishments and upgrades that are all bringing wide-ranging benefits for patients and our customers. I’m hoping to share more information on these projects as they progress and we’ll soon be releasing further information on how customers can access funds to help improve their healthcare estate.

The FM rationalisation outcome continues to receive good feedback from a variety of customers, colleagues and stakeholders, with continued publicity in some of the main FM publications. More recently and as announced earlier this year, OCS confirmed to the media that we have awarded them a cleaning contract that will see them providing cleaning services to around 900 separate locations and I’m delighted to have them on board.

” We are absolutely delighted to secure this contract, which is one of the biggest that OCS has entered into.

“Along with other major wins in the sector we have seen a doubling of our healthcare business over the last two years. This is particularly pleasing given our strategic reorganisation which set out focus on five key sectors, of which healthcare is a cornerstone.” Bob Taylor, CEO for OCS UK