Forging a new future for FM
By Dennis Markey, Chief Operating Officer
When we first set out to rationalize the NHS Property Services Facilities Management contracts eight months ago, many people were understandably skeptical. Scaling down over two thousand separate contracts and all the inconsistencies they entail, to just a handful of standardized relationships had never before been achieved on this scale. But I am proud to say, we have both reached out deadline and exceeded our expectations.
How have we done it? It all boils down to thinking and acting strategically. I’ve come across hundreds of FM providers in my time and many of them feel affronted that our industry isn’t given the recognition it deserves. Their complaint is that they are not treated as strategic partners. But in order to be treated strategically, you have to behave strategically. Up until now, the market has been too fragmented to speak collectively or behave in a unified way. But with rationalization, one of largest FM sectors in the country is now speaking with one voice; we are truly in a position to influence estates strategy to achieve better outcomes.
Before we started the FM rationalization process at NHS Property Services we had to negotiate with all our outsourced contractors to agree a co-terminus date. Only by ending sufficient contracts at the same time, would we be able to implement the procurement process. I also made sure a whole range of businesses were able to tender, including SMEs so that the size of the contract had broad appeal and didn’t just include national bidders. We had 197 separate lots across the country that were reviewed and awarded geographically. We had over two thousand outsourced contracts, all with differing terms. I thought we would end up scaling down to around 15% of the original whole but the process has left us with just 1%. This means we will now be able to operate to standardized practices with standardized prices, always with the objective of driving value back to patients. I believe this will have an impact on the wider industry and will ultimately change the way FM is viewed.
The next logical step is for facilities management and asset management services to fuse as one. It’s my view that in future, FM will not be overlooked as the silent ‘Cinderella’ service as it is so often referred. With FM professionals now being offered a new gateway to Chartership by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors we will use our expertise to work alongside AM colleagues. This expertise will be used to support and enhance the work of strategic estates planners, so that hospitals are designed and built to best facilitate the melding of services to patient care.
If FM is to become a bigger player in the market it must mature and seek to join forces with assets on a larger scale. With rationalization completed, we are well on track to achieving this.
- NHSPS spends £400m per year on FM. 50% is on self-delivery and 50% is outsourced
- FM Rationalisation has reduced 2,300 outsourced contracts to under 50
- NHSPS expects to save 20% on the £200m outsourced with the new contracts
- 900 previously outsourced staff have been brought directly under the employment of NHSPS
- FM staff amount to approximately 95% of the total payroll by headcount