Published date: 04 December 2019

Ensuring safety of your buildings

NHS Property Services is committed to ensuring that our buildings are compliant, fit for purpose and provide a safe environment for our customers, patients, visitors and colleagues. We’re transforming how we deliver compliance across the estate. Over the past year, we’ve introduced new systems, surveyed over one million assets and engaged with our customers to help keep buildings safe.

We have two highly experienced teams working behind the scenes to provide the guidance, processes and frameworks for our regional Facilities Management (FM) colleagues so that we can meet our objectives.

The Technical Services team - my team - are responsible for ensuring that our buildings and the assets within them are properly maintained and that we are compliant. We provide guidance on technical matters and provide support to our colleagues through a robust statutory inspection and governance regime. In conjunction with our Service Assurance colleagues, we also ensure that our frontline team of engineers, cleaners and security staff, amongst others, are suitably qualified and trained for their roles, setting standards for how services will be delivered by them and by our technical suppliers.

The Health and Safety team, led by Sheena Eyre, develop processes and guidance to ensure that our employees and contractors delivering FM services work in a way to protect all tenants, patients and customers. They also produce guidance documents to advise tenants on their health and safety while occupying our buildings. 

We have come a long way since we formed in 2013 from 161 different bodies. At that time, we had little or no evidence of asset and property compliance, a lack of asset and compliance data, legacy issues with remedial works, inefficient ways of working, and engineers were receiving their daily jobs on a piece of paper with limited information, meaning faults went unfixed for months. Since then, we have been making significant changes to the way we operate to ensure we can say your building is compliant and you are safe within it. Some of these include:

Technical compliance model

We developed our own technical compliance model that is based on proactively collating evidence, including setting up a central compliance governance team with representation from colleagues in different regions. Their priority is to monitor compliance performance and support for the local FM teams. The result has seen old remedial tasks being cleared, missing certification identified, and improving the overall compliance culture in our regional facilities management teams and key suppliers. Read our case study for more information.

New FM platform CORE

Martin Steele, COO of NHS Property Services recently told Facilitate Magazine, “technical compliance is all about evidence-based compliance. You need to be able to demonstrate that teams have performed a planned routine within a specific cycle [and] they have evidence they’ve performed a routine." To do this, technology is required and so this summer, we launched CORE, our new facilities management platform which allows us to log, plan and monitor all the FM issues that our customers raise in one central system giving us a source of truth - a huge step change in how we manage performance and deliver services. CORE also enables us to collect more specific information about your issues so that the engineer will be better informed and therefore able to improve the fix rates for the problems you report and reduce asset downtime.

‘Enhanced Reporting’

We introduced enhanced reporting through Power BI, a business analytics solution, which enables us to visualise and analyse the performance of our engineers, highlight gaps and identify trends. This gives us the insight to drive change to deliver a more consistent and higher quality service to our customers.

Better data

Throughout the course of 2019, we collected, validated and revalidated data on over one million assets across our portfolio to feed into our new asset database, allowing us to plan more accurately for our backlog maintenance investment, and giving us better understanding of when to replace, rather than just fix, an asset.

Guidance for customers

We have put together information sheets outlining “what happens if…?” we find legionella in your water or asbestos in your building. These guides can act as a first point of call to help you understand the process we will take and the procedures you should follow, to ensure a safe and quick resolution. In the event that you need to initiate the lockdown of your building in an emergency situation, we have outlined how NHSPS can assist you to achieve this to keep you, your colleagues and visitors safe.

Occupier Handbook

In Autumn 2019, we launched our very first occupier handbook to be your one-stop-shop for all information relating to occupying one of our properties. Read more.

So what do you do if you notice that something in your building needs fixed or is a hazard? If it’s an urgent issue that needs immediate resolution, call the FM Helpdesk team on 0808 196 2045. The desk is available to you 24/7, 365 days of the year. For all other issues, fill out this form.

NHS Property Services is a landlord and service provider to 10 percent of the NHS estate and with that, we strive to maintain high quality environments as well as effectively managing and minimising potential risks that could impact the people who work, and are cared for, within our properties. We have come along way over the years but compliance and your safety is an ongoing priority for NHSPS and we will look to continue to make ourselves more competent and can feel confident we are set up to do so.