FM Director March 2024

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In this issue:

Craig Duff

Helping to overcome barriers to employment

Sajna Rahman

First exhibition presence for Tomorrow Meets Today

Gary Zetter

“Labels are for clothes and not for people”

Exclusively for FM industry leaders

March 2024

Zoë Watts

Creative catering supporting post-Covid workspace

How will flexible work legislation impact FM?

One of the main topics of conversation arising within discussions with FM industry contacts since the launch of FM Director magazine is the question concerning the numbers of people attending their workplace and how to encourage them to make better use of their office facilities

While some report that employee attendance figures have returned to their prepandemic levels, others state that these are far below their previous numbers, resulting in efforts by employers to make their facilities more attractive and useful.

Next month will see the launch of updated legislation that will apply to all employers in the UK (turn to p58 of this issue), designed to provide clarity and support for both companies and employees to ensure that flexible working arrangements are discussed and implemented wherever reasonable and practical. One of the new aspects of this is that every employee will be able to submit two applications for flexible working updates to their contracts of employment every year, with the figure currently set at one request per annum, with employers tasked with responding to these within two months.

Government advice on the updates states that employers have the right to reject any flexible working application – which is an important aspect for all companies to realise – and provides eight potential options for employers to consider to justify their decision. In questioning how the new law will affect our sector, I would imagine that the majority of requests made by employees will be for more options around hybrid working, which seems likely to have the result that more people will have the option to work from home or different locations to their main place of work.

If that’s the case then it seems highly probable that the efforts of employers and many of our industry’s service providers in encouraging more people to use their office facilities will be thwarted, with questions then arising over the effectiveness of the company’s real estate investment and more considerations for downsizing space.

Rather than regarding these developments as negative, however, it’s very likely that any new requirements will create opportunities for FM industry specialist service providers to support their clients and help them to adapt while maintaining ‘business as usual’.

We all know how challenging the world of work can be but one of the most noticeable aspects of changing situations is that the companies that adopt a flexible and supportive attitude toward their customers are often those that record continued growth and development.

The dynamic nature of our industry is one of its many strengths and those most able to adapt to the changes, while continuing to work to high levels of professional standards, will be those that continue to gain more attention from clients to assist in fulfilling the expectations of senior management teams and company shareholders.

Exclusively for FM industry leaders Zoë Watts Creative catering supporting post-Covid workspace March 2024 In this issue: Craig DuffHelping to overcome barriers to employment Sajna Rahman First presenceexhibition for Tomorrow Meets Today Gary Zetter“Labels are for clothes and not for people”
March 2024 | 3
4 | March 2024 CONTENTS Managing Editor Dennis Flower Use of CEO bonuses proposed to drive D&I agenda Growing up in London has instilled the need to avoid putting labels on people and treating everyone as individuals for Gary Zetter Benefits of experience continue to deliver value David Parrett’s journey to running his consultancy business is the result of wide experience within all sides of the FM industry Supporting the client’s post-Covid workplace journey Zoë Watts shares her journey into the catering and guest services area of FM and the value this continues to provide clients in the post-Covid era Contents 6 16 54 01482 782287 Designer and Production Manager Chris Cassidy Production Editor James Jackaman Managing Director Cheryl Ellerington Published by FM Business Daily, Linacre House, Dark Lane, Braunston NN11 7HU © 2024 FM Business Daily. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents of this magazine in any manner whatsoever is prohibited without prior consent from the publisher. For subscription enquiries and to make sure you get your copy of FM Director please ring 01482 782287 or email The views expressed in the articles reflect the author’s opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher and editor. The published material, adverts, editorials and all other content is published in good faith.

Supporting the client’s post-Covid workplace journey

Recognising all the best outcomes from engaging with local communities

Benefits of experience continue to deliver value

Advice for government on best support for industry to address climate change

Finding the best solution for cyber security


PTSG: leading the way in mental health

The last year has made a world of difference to YorPower

Increased government funding set to drive EV charging installations

TMT continues its expansion with exhibition presence

Strength of social values embedded in business culture

March 2024 | 5 CONTENTS
at height charity launches first
fashioned principles supported by
Records in Supply Chain
ever No Falls Week Old
the latest modern technology
flexible working laws take
fear to Utopia: A vision of AI’s positive potential Latest appointments of senior FM professionals SwiftConnect and HID collaborate with British Land to bring fast and seamless office access using Apple Wallet 6 12 16 20 24 30 34 36 40 42 44 48 51 54 58 62 65 66
24 58
Use of CEO bonuses proposed to drive D&I agenda New
effect from 6 April From

Supporting the client’s post-Covid workplace journey

Zoë Watts shares her journey into the catering and guest services area of FM and the value this continues to provide clients in the post-Covid era

6 | March 2024

Having worked in a variety of part-time roles in the catering and hospitality sector from the age of 16, Bennett Hay managing director Zoë Watts explains how her enjoyment of these roles led to studying for a degree in food and accommodation management at Leeds Beckett University, which she achieved in 1992.

“So after starting in the industry I haven’t stepped outside it since,” she continues. “My early career was very much involved with the heritage sector to run the catering operations at Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park and then the catering at RHS Wisley Gardens.

“This provided superb experience of the nuances of working in the business sector where the levels of demand were so unpredictable, and so dependent on the weather and the seasons. It was so good to gain the appreciation that nothing is guaranteed,” she states with a smile.

Ms Watts says that she has thoroughly enjoyed all her roles, particularly her work at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in London in the late 1990s. It provided her first experience of working in the capital, running the RSA events, bar and restaurant at its main facility.

“I then had the opportunity to join the team that launched Tate Modern as its events and catering manager. At quite a young age I was overseeing events in the Turbine Hall and other areas of Tate Modern and it was the most phenomenal success,” she continues.

She further states how the demands of her early roles perfectly matched her working and private life objectives, including the forging of friendships that continue to the present day.

As the role developed further, Ms Watts extended her responsibilities to Tate’s out-of-London galleries, including Liverpool and St Ives. “I really enjoyed my time at Tate and also found how adaptable it can be to work in hospitality and balance the needs of both work and home.”

Having become the mother to two boys, she found that the long and unsocial hours of her events management career was not conducive to the requirements of her family. Discussions with her employer led to her joining the day-to-day catering operations side of the Tate business, while also managing its special projects.

“They were brilliant and very supportive and I stayed with Tate for nine years. I loved being in the heritage sector and when you’re in that environment, you’re supporting the work and the funding of the gallery,” she says.

We work very much behind closed doors and people don’t see what happens with workplace catering, because it’s not a public environment
March 2024 | 7

Her next role was with the Natural History Museum as its head of events, catering and filming. She found this introduced her to the role of being a client, providing yet more understanding of all aspects of commercial requirements.

“It was a huge shift in my career to see a whole different side to things and particularly contract management. And what an environment to work in. It’s one of my favourite buildings and the architecture is amazing, I feel very privileged to have experienced that,” she states.

Managing the sales team that sold events at the Natural History Museum’s main facility provided more highly valuable experience for Ms Watts, leading her to join the contract catering sector. She became the commercial director of catering and front of house services provider Vacherin in 2016, which she credits with raising her level of involvement with the FM sector to ever higher levels.

“I began working alongside FM directors as the catering provider, which was a new experience for me, but the four years I spent with Vacherin was another great opportunity to learn more and develop further. In that time, we nearly doubled the size of the business and it was then acquired by CH & Co,” she recalls.

After being approached by Bennett Hay she found the attraction of joining another independent business to be appealing and joined as its business development director in 2021: “Before I joined the contract catering sector, I had no idea of the quality of the food and the service, or the calibre of the chefs that we employ.”

Ms Watts found that the level of creativity in all areas of the Bennett Hay operation to be highly rewarding, including its commitment to delivering ESG, health and wellbeing initiatives and many other positive factors. “We work very much behind closed doors and people don’t see what happens with workplace catering, because it’s not a public environment.

“To say I was pleasantly surprised is a huge understatement, I just couldn’t believe this world existed. And although all the aspects of food quality, etc, were familiar to me, in many ways it was a new environment and all those high standards are delivered on a Monday to Friday basis, which is perfect for anyone with a family that needs to keep their weekend activities as another priority.”

After just 18 months with her new employer, Ms Watts was offered the role of managing director by company founders Robin Hay and Anthony Bennett. She explains that although she feels there has been no conscious decisions in following a defined career path, her journey to date has been a natural progression.

“And it also seems a natural progression for business development directors to move into the MD role, because we understand all the operational, financial and the creative aspects of the business, while being focused on the strategy and growth that will take the company forward. I also think Robin, Anthony and I are a good fit and I’m really enjoying benefiting from their mentorship and trust.”

One of Ms Watts’ key aims has been to increase the levels of collaborative working throughout the company and she states her belief that this is another of the attributes of working for an SME business. That includes the ease of communication between all employees and clients, especially when compared to the issues experienced by large, multi-sector companies.

“After coming out of Covid there was a real demand for more communication, including face-to-face meetings, and we made a concerted effort to communicate everything we do and include all our team members in our strategy,” she continues. “That means much higher levels of colleague contact and events, all our chef teams and front of house people, to include them in all the major decisions we make.”

One of the company’s recently-introduced initiatives is its BHive weekly breakfast meeting, where colleagues assemble and discuss a predetermined topic of interest such as choosing the charity supported by Bennett Hay for the year ahead.

We’re never complacent about our work and we know who our competitors are and that we don’t have a monopoly on our clients
8 | March 2024
We have standard operating procedures for everything, of course, but we encourage all our colleagues to look at the way they deliver their services and how these can be improved to meet the needs of our clients

“It’s so good to see everyone being involved in some of the big decisions that the company makes and helping everyone to understand that they really are part of the bigger picture.”

She further explains the benefits received by the company through increased colleague interaction, including helping it to understand how to achieve higher levels of uptake for its many philanthropic actions such as providing two days per year for staff to engage in voluntary work.

Increased effort has additionally been devoted to supporting the company’s clients and helping them to adjust to the post-Covid era, which has seen a “huge shift in the dynamic of the workplace”.

These efforts began during the pandemic, with the company assisting its customers to work through all the health and safety issues that emerged.

“That collaboration has continued and evolved to assist clients to understand who is coming back to the office, how they are going to use it and what we can do to improve the entire workplace experience,” she says. “We’ve found that we can help our clients to provide the right environment that meets the needs of their staff and visitors and support what they want to do in the office.”

Having experienced a “massive, marked change” in the levels of collaboration between the company and its customers, Ms Watts states that continued efforts will help to deliver more benefits in the future. These include support to assist clients in seeing greater levels of activity within their offices, including the staging of events for the local community.

With many client-side FMs now tasked with establishing their facilities as central hubs for the local community, the efforts of Bennett Hay provide proof of the success of its collaborative efforts in keeping its finger on the pulse of industry trends and activities.

March 2024 | 9
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“Last week we held a quiz night at our client Landsec’s office that saw more than 90 people attend and it was such a success. It just shows how people want to engage with these activities.”

The screening of sporting events, organising wellbeing and other workshops and a range of other activities are now being discussed with many of the company’s 38 London clients, all of which include top quality catering services. “And that’s just one example of how we’re supporting our clients to enhance the experience of coming into work,” says Ms Watts.

“We’re never complacent about our work and we know who our competitors are and that we don’t have a monopoly on our clients. They subsidise the catering across most of our contracts and that’s a huge benefit to their people and we make sure there’s a very competitive tariff.

“We have a very discerning clientele, and we have to make sure we exceed anything that’s available on the high street, for example. If we lose business to the high street, that means all the other benefits our customers receive are being eroded and we continue to provide top quality food and service to avoid that,” she explains.

“What better way is there to show your colleagues and customers how much you value them coming into your office by giving them beautiful and healthy food and drink in a lovely environment? And while we have published menus, we rarely keep to these because we talk to our clients to find out who’s visiting their offices and adjusting the catering to meet the changing expectations of everyone there,” says Ms Watts.

She further explains how managers and chefs are encouraged to use their knowledge of their customers to innovate and improve menus through creative additions for the benefit of all stakeholders, including Bennett Hay and especially its clients.

With many FM professionals stating their appreciation that no two days are ever the same within their industry activities, this can also be seen to apply to the services provided by Bennett Hay.

“We have standard operating procedures for everything, of course, but we encourage all our colleagues to look at the way they deliver their services and how these can be improved to meet the needs of our clients.”

While catering services are the company’s main activity, its guest and reception services account for nearly one third of its revenues. Major clients include 8 Bishopsgate, the Leadenhall Building, Here East, GPE and many other top London sites, with reception services additionally provided to individual office spaces.

These are increasingly moving away from the traditional reception desk at the entrance to the facility and moving more towards lobby hosting, with visitors greeted as soon as they enter and receiving the highest levels of support.

“That frequently sees reception and security working in partnership to give an excellent initial greeting and providing a more hotel style of welcome.

“We also look at the tone of language used, which often differs depending on the type of business activities of the client, to make sure we capture the spirit of the organisation that we are representing on site. It’s a more a concierge-style of welcoming people and anticipating their needs.

“Taking the tailored approach extends to every single aspect of every service that we provide, which ties in perfectly with the workplace becoming more friendly and welcoming, while retaining the levels of professionalism in all areas, and making sure that they have the best experience from the time they enter to when they leave the building in question,” Ms Watts concludes.

10 | March 2024
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Recognising all the best outcomes from engaging with local communities

Among the wide variety aspects of ESG, the social aspect of company activities is becoming increasingly appreciated by ever more businesses in the drive to stand apart from competitors and enhance their identities


Regardless of whether companies describe their extracurricular activities as aligning with corporate social responsibility (CSR) or environmental and social governance (ESG), the act of engaging with local communities is becoming far more appreciated by businesses in all areas of the FM sector for the positive outcomes these will deliver.

Rather than dismissing these actions as being ‘tick box exercises’ – although this is likely to be the case for some – they should be regarded as another highly positive development in the behaviour of modern organisations that should be encouraged and assisted to develop further.

When delivered with the best of intentions, they will not only provide a number of beneficial results for the community in question, but also create the same for the companies providing them.

While adopting a more cynical approach is sometimes used to explain a company’s charitable actions, the beneficial outcomes are undeniable regardless of the initial intentions in many cases. Businesses engaging with local communities are far more likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction from their staff, for example, particularly when these actions result in added support for the favourite good causes of employees.

While some companies offer their staff extra annual leave when supporting local charities or similar organisations, others also include these in their fundraising activities.

It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute

It is therefore not difficult to appreciate how the employees responsible for providing the initial link to the good causes will appreciate these efforts, particularly when they generate further benefits for the local community that may be also enjoyed by employees themselves and, in some cases, their family and friends in the area.

The list of benefits to the company providing the support should also be considered, which can include reducing the numbers of staff leaving the business, raising its profile in the local community (which can result in higher numbers of new work opportunities) and positively assisting its efforts to recruit new employees.

These outcomes are not guaranteed, of course, and it is once again necessary to state that it depends on whether good works are carried out in the best way that usually decides the results.


These points also help to explain why client-side FMs are often tasked with establishing the companies they work for as central hubs within the local community, in addition to the long list of tasks included within their job descriptions.

Delivery of CSR, ESG and other types of well-intentioned programmes will play a significant role in assisting these aims.

This can additionally explain the success of service providers that align themselves with the policies and aims of clients. The provision of support for customers in as many areas as possible is not only highly attractive to clients, but also an excellent means to cement positive relationships and increase the likelihood of contracts continuing or being extended well into the future.

While these actions can be described as “good business sense”, they are also highly relevant examples that assist the explanation of how and why businesses in all areas are receiving encouraging levels of response through the delivery of community engagement initiatives.

It is difficult to quantify the benefits of raising the level of trust for a company, particularly within its local area, but the support of local good causes is seen as one of the best ways to deliver this.

Having established or improved relations with charities, members of the public and other companies, businesses frequently report how their community-minded projects have resulted in them increasing the number of industry partners they work with.

These interactions are far more likely to result in the sharing of work between companies operating in similar fields, or even assisting in increasing the scope of all sizes of organisation with the intention of assisting their expansion.

The gift that keeps on giving

Taking the action of improved networking with like-minded, local companies to its natural conclusion, this can not only strengthen each business by improving the number of local supporters, but also result in creating more work opportunities that should then improve the sustainability of the organisation in question. Another highly relevant expression to explain these developments is the use of the phrase: “The gift that keeps on giving.”

Perhaps one of the most important elements to appreciate within the topic of community engagement is that this approach needs to be embedded deep within the culture of the business in order to gain the most benefits.

This will help to avoid the ‘tick box exercise’ approach described at the start of this feature, which can even have a detrimental effect on the company in the worst examples.

One of the best references to this can be seen in this month’s issue of FM Director within our interview with diversity and inclusion (D&I) champion Gary Zetter (see page 54 of this issue).

Mr Zetter’s comment that “it’s not that hard to get the culture right, but you can see that for some of the larger companies it’s all smoke and mirrors” shows the danger of not approaching any activity without the best intentions.

One of the most important elements to appreciate within the topic of community engagement is that this approach needs to be embedded deep within the culture of the business in order to gain the most benefits

His comments patently refer to the lack of genuine engagement with the topic of D&I, of course, but are equally relevant to the subject matter of this feature and any type of well-intentioned business activity. It is highly likely that those making unverified, or even unjustified claims, will do so in the belief that they will not be caught out, but even if they are this will make little or no difference to the company.

Those choosing to follow this line of thought are encouraged to take note of the comment by American humourist Will Rogers, who is credited with the phrase: “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”

Comparing the outcomes achieved by those establishing the best cultural behaviours within their company to those who fail to do this, it is usually an easy task to appreciate how the former has benefited in greater depth than the latter. While the outcomes described above can never be guaranteed, it should also be appreciated that the examples included are not exhaustive and can equally result in many other positive benefits being achieved through constructive community engagement actions and projects.

Further consideration should also be made by each company and its senior management team for how their efforts can support their efforts to not only win more business, but also assist in the gaining of industry accolades and awards.

It is frequently the case that including descriptions of the all the good works completed by any business will assist its efforts within award schemes, for example.

While the completion of widely complimented community engagement projects will not be a central element when applying for awards that recognise the technical delivery skills of the company, they can undoubtedly be used to explain the honesty and good intentions of the business to further enhance its claims in these areas.

In summary, it can clearly be seen that while there is little point in merely paying lip service to each organisation’s level of engagement with its local community, the benefits of embedding these firmly within the culture and approach to all actions will have long lasting impacts for the company, its employees, local people and other stakeholders within their communities.


Benefits of experience continue to deliver value

David Parrett’s journey to running his consultancy business is the result of wide experience within all sides of the FM industry

Within the highly diverse world of the FM industry, we are constantly reminded of the wisdom of the expression: “There is no substitute for experience and knowledge”, both of which are closely linked to the individuals and companies providing the best services.

This can be seen to be highly relevant to the impressive career of Cadaema Consulting Services director David Parrett, who has worked on both client and service provider sides of the FM sector over the last quarter of a century.

Having been employed by large, municipal councils and also several of the most notable service providers in our sector, he is continuing to share his hard-won expertise with the growing list of clients of his consultancy business.

“My first experience of the FM sector came when I started working for Westminster City Council in 2001,” he states. “I worked as the council’s transport manager and my main responsibility was organising transport for children with additional needs, who often have to travel to different areas of the UK to attend the most relevant school or institution for them.

“We worked with and met some truly amazing people, who would give everything for the children and provide them with the best levels of support they possibly could,” he continues.

When the council outsourced its services to Accord Operations Limited in 2003, Mr Parrett transferred to his new employer in the role of business analyst.

His main responsibilities included supporting the development of the target operating model for this new team, the management of contractual performance, ensuring that the company operated as sustainably and profitably as possible and business development.

“This was my first experience of the world of total FM (TFM), with Accord overseeing all the security, cleaning and front of house services, as well as all the management of hard services to control the council’s estate,” he explains. “You could also say this was my first experience of the world of consultancy as we continued to develop a coherent business model.”

CASE STUDY 16 | March 2024

Further opportunities emerged to assist Mr Parrett with progressing his business development experience, resulting in him joining Dalkia Energy & Technical Services to support the continued growth of its FM activities in both the public and private sectors. Through itsacquisition of Dalkia, this led him to joining Mitie in August 2009 and gaining more valuable industry experience and knowledge, before joining Interserve in late 2012 in ever more senior roles.

“Joining Interserve provided me with my first experience with PFI contracts. Having started as business development director before moving on to head of business development – government, I was heavily involved in managing relationships and identifying opportunities for more business.

“I was then promoted to the role of sales director for Interserve’s Communities business unit, selling to what we termed the ‘local public sector’ – the NHS, schools, universities and local government.” he says.

He regards the advice contributed by industry contacts and the assistance of business unit managing director, Martin Burholt, as providing the essential support needed in the first few months in the preparation, launch and running of Cadaema Consultation Services. “As I considered creating my own company, a friend told me that regardless of whether I took the step or not I should write the information for my website.

FM will always be a people industry, which effectively means that you’re selling people’s time, rather than just a product

“I was travelling a lot for work at the time, so I wrote my website on a plane to Dubai. That really helped to convince me I was doing the right thing and I handed my notice in, in mid-2019. Martin said he really needed help with a specific project and asked if I would consider working out six months’ notice, instead of three.

“This allowed me to work part-time for Interserve while I developed Cadaema and I’ll be forever grateful to Martin for that. Having completed all the preparation work for my business, I launched that in early 2020, then two months later saw the world come to a halt when we had the first of the Covid pandemic lockdowns,” he states.

CASE STUDY March 2024 | 17

Despite the significant changes the pandemic caused to the FM sector and Mr Parrett’s initial business model, he found that it led to him working with Lloyds Bank to help it deal with the impact on its facilities around the UK.

“They were looking to mothball all their main offices around their UK estate, so needed a plan designed to help with this and its implementation.

“I worked with Mitie to deliver this and also to help them to deliver the change management process. Then at the end of 2020 I continued to work with Lloyds as it began to reopen its facilities and as lots of staff returned from being furloughed,” he says.

With the UK continuing to recover and reopen its facilities, he found that the majority of his work and business operations focused on the public sector side of the FM industry. His expertise is continuing to prove essential to assist clients in reviewing their contracts and procurement practices to ensure these are sustainable for both the customer and its supply chain.

“One of the things I love about my job is all the conversations I have with stakeholders at all levels to make sure that their FM services are always an enabler for clients,” he continues.

“You have to make sure you know all about the relevant regulations and deliver everything with plain speaking so that everyone understands exactly what’s involved and required.

“An intelligent procurement process should be a central element of any growth strategy and that includes sound contract management,” he says.

“And that means not just going for the cheapest price but looking at all elements so that the deal will deliver value in the years ahead.

“I still love having the conversation with everyone to understand all the requirements of the project. It’s also become clear over the last few years that since outsourcing became more popular in the early 1990s that most of the efficiencies have already been exploited.

One of the things I love about my job is all the conversations I have with stakeholders at all levels to make sure that their FM services are always an enabler for clients
CASE STUDY 18 | March 2024

“Outsourcing has saved many customers huge amounts of money, but we can see that if we continue to look for the cheapest bids that’s more likely to result in more problems for everyone to deal with in the future, so it’s now far better to build value into every contract,” Mr Parrett continues. “Where procurement processes have, predominantly been based on price, you can now see processes that include 60 or 70% of the evaluation criteria being focused on the technical scoring and real terms value to the client organisation, which is an improvement but there’s still more work to do.”

He provides the example of the healthcare sector, which is now regarded as having just six providers capable of delivering complex, multi-service contracts on a national basis.

He refers to the efforts of Crown Commercial Services (CCS), the largest public procurement body in the UK, which has continued to promote the focus on value within contracts since the demise of Carillion in early 2018. Mr Parrett states the essential element of ensuring both customer and service providers receive the best outcomes from their engagement and receive a reasonable result from their dealings.

With just a limited number of service providers to choose from, a diversified offer from companies will be very welcome and those offering genuine social value have an excellent opportunity to stand apart from the competition.

This is not just true for healthcare, of course, but for all areas of UK FM service provision and those able to match the objectives of customers are far more likely to win contracts, particularly if these include elements of social value.

“FM will always be a people industry, which effectively means that you’re selling people’s time, rather than just a product,” he continues. “That means that everyone needs to be paid fairly.”

He further states the essential requirement for employers to support their employees in as many areas as possible, including the offering of genuine career progress and opportunities. “This is more important than ever and part of the drive to deliver true social value.

“Every business now needs to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint, but these are both things that specialist FM service providers can easily deliver. And of course every business needs to make a profit and it’s becoming more obvious that including social value is one of the best ways for companies to go,” he continues.

This brings the conversation to considering how companies are increasingly being run in the most responsible manner and making them attractive to clients with the same ambitions.

“This means managing contracts in the best way and avoiding any adversarial outcomes that can emerge. We all know that things go wrong on a regular basis and it’s the companies that can react to these and fix them in the best way that will continue to win business through the recommendations of their customers,” he continues.

“I often question whether the private sector can learn a few things from how the public sector operates and work in a better way for their customers and the industry as a whole? If they are able to make relationships and collaborative working their central aim that will always be very appealing to clients.

“There are a lot of social elements within that, as we know, and that includes nailing the message of providing genuine career opportunities and all the great things that the FM industry provides,” Mr Parrett concludes.

CASE STUDY March 2024 | 19

Advice for government on best support for industry to address climate change

Donal Brown says the next UK government administration needs to provide a more considered approach to assist industry and members of the public to support clearly-defined objectives

20 | March 2024

With recent research supporting the view that climate change has become a major concern for the majority of the UK population, the next UK government is expected to make genuine progress in helping the UK and its neighbouring countries to address this.

One of several issues that will need to be overcome is the cynicism from the general public and industry towards government insulation and energy support schemes. This has resulted from a lack of consistency over many years that has been attributed to the major UK political parties.

Depending on the length of time involved, the list of failed or unsuccessful government measures ranges from the Feed-in Tariff, the Green Deal, the Green Homes Grant and many others. One of the most recent examples is the announcement by the Labour party, widely expected to replace the current UK administration, that has massively curtailed its flagship climate change support policy – its Green Prosperity Plan.

Speaking exclusively to Ashden director of UK programmes Dr Donal Brown, FM Director discussed the best means that the next UK government needs to adopt to provide meaningful support and achieve the ambitions outlined in various international summits.

One of the most recently agreed targets was that of keeping global temperature rises to within 1.5 degrees C, which seems likely to have already been exceeded and Dr Brown is under no illusion of the difficulties faced by the next government.

“When you look at the list of failed schemes launched by various governments over the years, it’s sad to see that many of these were badly designed and have resulted in a lack of belief in the ability of any administration to make these work,” says Dr Brown.

“That means that businesses and the public are less likely to invest and support these in the future.

“Another result of these schemes is that they have brought some bad actors into the market and that’s had a negative effect on industries such as solar and other renewable energy providers,” he continues. His comments support the view that well thought out policies are essential to support future government objectives and gain the necessary levels of support and buy-in from all stakeholders.

”Particularly within the energy efficiency area, you can see that government schemes that have been withdrawn have basically nearly killed some industries,” he says. Policies that are cancelled soon after their launch and comments by senior politicians –including former Prime Minister David Cameron’s reference to “green crap” in 2012 – have eroded confidence and goodwill, says Dr Brown.

We don’t live in a solutions vacuum, but I do think we live in a leadership vacuum
March 2024 | 21

The period between 2013 and 2024 is seen as being a particularly difficult time for energy efficiency subsidies that included a number of cancellations and withdrawal of support for schemes. This can still be seen in the current political arena that includes a “risk averse” approach resulting from short-term thinking within government that has then influenced detrimental industry actions.

“We’ve seen organisations set up purely to benefit from government energy efficiency grants, often by quite dodgy characters that promptly disappear when the scheme is cancelled,” says Dr Brown. He provides thoughts on the cancelled Labour Party green agenda policy before it had the chance to implement it.

The plan included an investment of £28bn a year to address climate change and has led to urgent calls for government and all political parties to unite in their efforts to keep climate change action “front and centre” to raise more support throughout the UK. Dr Brown says that he supported the Labour Party’s green policy and worked with shadow secretary of state for energy and net zero Ed Miliband.

“I was the lead author of the Cheaper Bills, Warmer Homes report and the thought of a political party jettisoning this ambitious and inspirational policy shows the risk-averse nature of the government and all political parties at present,” he continues. He remains hopeful, however, that more support and understanding of the urgent need to address climate change issues will become a reality in the near future.

Six-point plan

Dr Brown explains that the independently-funded Cheaper Bills, Warmer Homes report was completed in 2022 and included collaboration with respected and sector-relevant organisations such as the Federation of Master Builders, the Ecology Building Society, the New Economics Foundation and the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group. “The kernel of it was a six-point plan to show how government could address fuel poverty and roll out renewal heat and everything needed to address climate change,” he continues.

Having ensured that the necessary levels of funding would be included to support the initiative, he further states that it was designed to include a gradual withdrawal of funding, rather than the “cliff edge” approach to avoid a sudden cessation, combined with access to a low interest finance scheme.

“It’s important to explain that the money is only one part of this and there was a lot of effort to increase the local capacity within councils to ensure they had enough resource to support it, too. In addition to the money needed, there were increased powers and other initiatives to support some of the wider objectives,” he says.

Acceptance and support for the new Building Safety Act was also deemed essential, he states, to address the many issues emerging from the Grenfell Tower disaster and prevent further instances occurring. In addition to health and safety, the issue of energy performance certificates (EPCs) was also considered to ensure that these encouraged greater take up of low carbon equipment and heat pump technology.

Training and apprenticeships was another important aspect of the plan, to ensure the UK established a workforce with sufficient skills to deliver all the low carbon objectives.

The removal of subsidies was another area of the scheme, with economies of scale expected to contribute to further price reductions for the supply of electricity and use of renewable energy options.

Once you’ve got the right infrastructure in place with the right framework and levels of support and skilled people to deliver the work, you need the advice and legislation in place
22 | March 2024

“Once you’ve got the right infrastructure in place with the right framework and levels of support and skilled people to deliver the work, you need the advice and legislation in place. You could even get to the point where houses can’t be sold unless they meet the right standards, but we know that that’s probably one of the most difficult areas,” says Dr Brown.

He further explains the complicated nature of energy efficiency schemes, which have to include a higher number of considerations and also result in increasing risk for the political party introducing them. “But even if you omit the climate change argument, you still have to face the fact that fossil fuels are running out and we all have to face these decisions,” he continues.

Electricity demand

Upgrading the National Grid is another area that needs to be addressed to supply the increased demand for electricity that will be necessary in meeting the UK’s net zero carbon emission objectives. This will also require electricity to become as emissionfree as possible and require rapid response to the tasks required.

“It certainly seems that the grid isn’t being updated quick enough and although it’s another difficult job, the solutions needed exist and there are hundreds of people in the industry with sufficient expertise and the government itself is funding lots of these groups, with people sitting and cogitating on these topics. We don’t live in a solutions vacuum, but I do think we live in a leadership vacuum,” says Dr Brown.

He further states that the forming of groups to provide focus on long-term thinking and benefits is one of the best ways to solve the issues created by the political cycle and avoid the changes that are frequently seen as a new government comes into power.

“As you long as you give these groups and committees the right level of support and resourcing and even statutory powers and allow them to ask the hard questions, that will create the right frameworks to deliver in the future,” he continues.

“It’s a complicated area and although some areas will be more difficult than others to deliver, there’s always the political agenda that will have an impact that we need to be aware of.

“But it’s also never easy to form sophisticated solutions to complex matters and you need a lot of things to come together to make them a success,” says Dr Brown.

With the UK continuing to await the details of this year’s timing of the General Election, it seems likely that there are several months before this is likely to take place.

However, once the new administration is appointed it will have an opportunity to engage with the public and industry stakeholders, then begin the process of making the necessary changes and introducing the policies to deliver these, including the topics of climate change and the closely associated net zero carbon emissions requirements.

March 2024 | 23

Finding the best solution for cyber security

Opportunities and concerns abound in the delivery of services to counteract threats and provide reassurance to clients

With the majority of opinion in favour of describing cyber security as the process and products required to prevent intrusion into both personal and company data, there is a danger of overlooking all the areas covered by this increasingly important sector.

However, the growth of traditional security service providers entering the market will help to address this and assist clients in raising their awareness of all the areas at potential risk within their businesses. With more examples shared around the world of cyber security breaches, questions are continuing to be voiced about the apparent ease with which these are made.

The rise of technological solutions to combat these attacks has gained further attention from those tasked with preventing them, although the increasing levels of awareness that any system is only as strong as its weakest link is another major factor deserving of more consideration. Regardless of the strength or high level of sophistication of any solution, it appears that all it takes for this to be breached in many cases is for a single click of a mouse to be misdirected for it to fail.

Following these developments to their natural conclusion, it is a relatively safe assumption that high levels of training and education – frequently regarded as ‘old school’ by contemporary organisations that remain unaware or disregard the benefits of collaborative actions – continue to be as relevant in the current age as they have always been.

24 | March 2024

With industry studies frequently revealing the increasing number of successful cyber attacks to businesses and their datasets, perhaps the explanation for these lies at the heart of the approach and culture adopted by the companies experiencing them?

While the training and education of company employees will help to avoid the more simple errors that can lead to security breaches, the rise of Internet-enabled devices is another worthy point of discussion to address cyber security issues (see boxed out item below). Previous examples have included loss of control of entire facilities after one element of their HVAC system was hacked into, with the potential for these incursions to escalate ever further and cause major headaches for all stakeholders.

The issue of complacency is another factor deserving of more consideration in all areas business operations and their security levels. Phrases that range from “We’ve always done it this way and see no reason to change” to “We’ve had no problems so far, so expect that to continue” are frequently seen to precede the emergence of issues arising, no doubt to the amazement of those experiencing them.

The issue of complacency is another factor deserving of more consideration in all areas business operations and their security levels

Rather than seeing potential issues at every turn, however, the adoption of a realistic, balanced approach to security – cyber or otherwise – should allow business operations to continue in their most productive fashion while preventing interferences.

Regardless of whether companies are attempting to remove the threat of physical attacks, or theft of products or data, the adoption of a realistic attitude should include the minimising of risk while supporting members of staff to work as productively as possible.

The rise of AI

Depending on the views of the industry experts approached, one of the more worrying recent developments is the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence (AI), with several high profile individuals and organisations claiming that this is a disaster waiting to happen. Their views include concerns that the application of AI will allow those with dishonest intent to wreak havoc, particularly in the area of cyber security.

These views are often used to justify calls for increased control and legislation to govern the use and application of AI, although it seems unlikely that these will prevent those with negative intentions from using the technology to assist them. Although the use of legislation and government grants are often seen as the best means to drive business activities, those with criminal intent are less likely to be as easily influenced.

Approaching the topic of AI with a more positive frame of mind, however, it can be assumed that this can also be used as a ‘force for good’. FM Director featured the example of the client-side FM using AI to manage facilities in a variety of geographical areas (see FM Director February) that would otherwise have required months of research and effort, to ensure that each complied with the correct requirements, condensed into a matter of days.

26 | March 2024

Joint statement from Corps Security executive director Mike Bluestone and Toro Solutions director of Cyber Security, Katie Barnett, who state that in today’s increasingly digital world, the integration of technology into facilities management has become commonplace, offering efficiency and convenience. However, this reliance on digital systems also brings with it significant cyber security risks that can no longer be ignored.

The risks, threats, and vulnerabilities such as hacking, phishing, and the introduction of malware, that accompany digital systems has inevitably impacted on the design and content of corporate security strategies, policies, and procedures. Across the whole spectrum of corporate management, from the C-suite down, the emphasis is now on a convergence of physical and cyber security measures, the driver being the increasing nature of risk and threats to UK corporations and businesses posed by hostile state actors, namely Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea, as well as those emanating from organised and opportunist criminal sources. Over the past decade Government has recognised the seriousness of these risks and threats, and working in tandem with the professional security sector, it has been promoting via the Cabinet Office, the need for businesses to not just apply a converged approach to security risk management, but also to buy-in to the concept of ‘Organisational Resilience’. In this way the emphasis is not just on managing threats and attacks (of whatever kind) but also enabling businesses to survive, recover, and go on to prosper and grow.

In facilities management, the integration of IT and OT in building technology systems has introduced a number of cyber security risks. Modern facilities rely heavily on interconnected devices, sensors, and controllers for efficient monitoring and control, particularly in HVAC and building automation systems. While these advancements improve energy management and indoor environments, they also create vulnerabilities. Cyber threats targeting these systems can lead to data breaches, unauthorised access, system manipulation, and even physical damage to building infrastructure. HVAC and automation systems, controlling crucial building functions like temperature and lighting, are enticing targets for cybercriminals seeking access to organisational data. Vulnerabilities in software, hardware, and communication protocols pose significant risks, potentially resulting in discomfort for occupants and compromising sensitive information such as personnel and financial data.

A cyber-attack on facilities management systems could trigger a series of detrimental consequences. Operations may come to a standstill as essential systems controlling lighting and access to facilities face disruptions. The breach of sensitive data, such as building layouts and employee information, could jeopardise numerous individuals.

This, coupled with substantial financial losses, reputational harm, and regulatory compliance issues, underscores the severity of a potential attack.

Facilities managers must therefore adopt a multifaceted and converged approach to security, integrating both physical and cyber elements to ensure comprehensive protection.

They should do this by applying a layered approach to security planning and the implementing appropriate measures. Achieving complete buy-in by all corporate personnel is a crucial element of this approach.

Security strategies must provide not just for physical and electronic preventative and response solutions, but also for delivering security awareness training for all personnel, along with strict operating procedures and protocols, which capture third party partners, and other stakeholders such as contractors. There must be no gaps in the ‘security system’, and the aim must be to instil a robust and resilient corporate security culture in which everyone has a role to play within. As the saying goes, “you are only as strong as your weakest link,” highlighting the importance of a cohesive and collaborative approach to security across all levels of an organisation.

To gain a better understanding of your security, start by conducting a security review, this will identify and recognise risk across your organisation’s people, processes, and technology. From this assessment, build a roadmap of remediations to improve your security maturity and create business resilience. This proactive approach ensures that future investments made in security are risk-informed and provide appropriate mitigation against potential threats.

As facilities management becomes increasingly reliant on digital systems, the need for robust cyber security measures has never been greater. By adopting a converged approach that integrates physical and cyber elements, organisations can better protect themselves against evolving threats.

No doubt there are elements of truth within both approaches to the topic of AI, which provides more support that the adoption of a balanced and realistic approach will assist businesses to identify issues and potential challenges while continuing their efforts and delivering services. There is little doubt that concerns over cyber security threats are justified in the majority of cases, especially when these relate to the potential theft of valuable data from company records.

However, the application of robust and effective processes and measures should prevent serious outcomes, such as those experienced by the US-based Target organisation described below, becoming a reality in the future.

Examples of risk-averse practices include the refusal by organisations in charge of database operations to link with others to avoid increasing the threats of breaches.

March 2024 | 27

This has included linking with district heating or other similar systems, resulting in high levels of heat expelled to the atmosphere and the loss of the benefits this could otherwise provide.

This is another area demanding more attention within the UK’s journey to net zero carbon emissions, however, with the aim of putting the high levels of energy usage required to run databases to better use.

It can therefore be envisaged that the solving of cyber security concerns will have more, far-reaching benefits that can then support the increased levels of investment and attention required.

There is little doubt that concerns over cyber security threats are justified in the majority of cases

Anniversary of cyber-attack used to highlight potential dangers

In a stark reminder of the cyber threats facing client-side FMs, managed IT services provider OryxAlign is calling for properties to be fortified against attacks that were publicised by the national media in November 2013.

Having passed the 10th anniversary of the attack on US retailer Target, where the company’s security was compromised through a ‘smart’ HVAC control devise and resulted in the theft of 40m credit and debit card details.

It was reported that hackers had exploited a vulnerability within the company’s supply chain, initially infiltrating the retailer’s systems through a phishing attack on one of its suppliers — an HVAC company that managed the retailer’s heating systems.

This resulted in the stealing of the security passwords required for the retailer’s maintenance servers, which then allowed them to leap frog to the corporate servers where highly sensitive (and valuable) personal and payment information was stored.

The hackers were then able to access 40m customer credit and debit card details, further emphasising the critical need for robust supply chain security.

“Despite a decade of advancements in the cybersecurity industry, the sad reality is that third-party supplier cyber-attacks, like the one that Target experienced, still account for up to 40 per cent of all ransomware attacks globally, according to data from Hiscox,” says head of customer success Graham Smith.

“In the world of cyber threats, the target may not be the supplier, it could be their client. Cyber criminals strategically focus on facilities suppliers as a potential gateway to more prominent organisations. Any firm fitting smart control devices to a building needs to check with cyber security experts before they purchase and install,” he continues.

“Internet-connected devices, touted as smart, often lack robust malware detection or regular updates. Recognising this, facilities managers must prioritise securing these devices and checking the cyber security rating of any supplier that has remote access,” Mr Smith concludes.

The company recommends that FMs and their service provider supply chain members and contractors collaborate with IT teams for secure smart device integration. It states that smart devices pose risks, so prioritising robust security for all devices is essential to prevent network breaches.

FMs can test the strength of their cyber security, and the security of suppliers, by engaging with companies with the necessary skills to assist them in preventing harmful attacks, says the company, which also recommends more detailed security audits.

“These comprehensive assessments are essential as the attack on Target 10 years ago was less sophisticated than the AI-enabled attacks the company regularly sees today. FMs and their suppliers need to learn lessons from the past,” the company advises.

28 | March 2024

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Breaking Records in Supply Chain Procurement

Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) has emerged as a front runner in streamlining procurement processes, achieving remarkable milestones that underscore its pivotal role in enhancing supply chain efficiencies. In 2023, SSIP shattered expectations, setting new benchmarks for savings and operational efficiency within the procurement sector

SSIP Chair, Eleanor Eaton reflects on the recently announced figures, providing insight into how buyers and suppliers can make use of their efficiency saving schemes and support.

Unprecedented savings: a testament to efficiency

The past year has been historic for SSIP, marked by a record £10 million in savings for suppliers through the innovative Deem to Satisfy (DtS) scheme. This figure represents a direct saving achieved by calculating the number of DtS applications processed, along with indirect costs such as H&S professionals’ fees and hours taken to complete applications.

“Taking into account the savings for clients from avoiding the completion of individual Prequalification Questionnaires (PQQs), alongside the reduction for suppliers in completing multiple PQQs, the aggregate savings for 2023 reach a staggering total of £68 million.”

“In the face of rising operational costs, these savings provide muchneeded relief for businesses within an area so essential to their operation,” comments Eleanor, highlighting the tangible impacts of these achievements.These savings come against the backdrop of a significant upturn in supplier searches via the SSIP Portal at the onset of 2024, with over 83,000 suppliers now proudly bearing SSIP certification.

The challenge of education and awareness

SSIP’s continuous commitment to narrowing the knowledge gap between clients (buyers) and suppliers (contractors) on the value of SSIP certification is foundational to its mission.

Eleanor explains, “Through alignment with the SSIP Core Criteria and the Government-endorsed PAS 91, we ensure that all assessments conducted through SSIP Member Schemes meet the same stringent standards. This fosters mutual recognition that benefits suppliers on both sides.”

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She further elaborates, “This strategy effectively addresses the widespread issue of redundant supplier assessments, significantly reducing the waiting period for buyers awaiting supplier reassessment.”

The Deem to Satisfy (DtS) scheme exemplifies SSIP’s innovative approach to overcoming assessment redundancy, enabling suppliers to prove their compliance via a singular assessment recognised across all SSIP Member Schemes.

“These savings affirm the collective strength within the industry,” Eaton comments, spotlighting the scheme’s contribution towards cost reduction and streamlined administrative processes.

A cumulative impact

Since its inception, the Deem to Satisfy (DtS) scheme has been a cornerstone of SSIP’s offerings. In 2016, SSIP introduced a ‘match’ feature to the SSIP Portal, their dedicated platform designed to streamline the process of client searches for suppliers. This innovation enabled the precise calculation of savings metrics.

To date, nearly £60 million in direct savings have been recorded, a figure that expands to an impressive £460 million when considering the cumulative effects of more streamlined pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) and tendering processes for both clients and suppliers.

Eleanor underscores the broader impact: “These figures represent not just financial savings but also a profound decrease in the time and resources devoted to unnecessary procedures. On average, clients spend 3 hours reviewing the health and safety section within a PQQ. By leveraging SSIP certification, this review process can be condensed to acceptance of a health and safety assessment certified by an SSIP member scheme.”

A promising start to 2024

The beginning of 2024 has witnessed an encouraging trend, with over 3,500 DtS certificates issued in January alone, indicating a robust start and a growing recognition of SSIP’s value proposition. “The surge in certifications is a clear indicator of SSIP’s expanding influence and the industry’s growing commitment to efficiency,” Eaton notes.

Furthermore, with over 43,000 searches were conducted on the SSIP Portal in January, the platform is proving to be an essential tool in facilitating tendering opportunities and enhancing the visibility of certified suppliers.

A notable evolution in SSIP’s journey has been its expanding appeal beyond the construction sector. An increasing number of companies across various industries are becoming SSIP supporter members, advocating SSIP certification throughout their supply chains.

“The wide use of SSIP across different industries highlights its broad applicability and marks the start of a new chapter in procurement practices,” Eaton observes.

As SSIP continues to gain traction across different sectors, its role in setting industry-wide standards for health and safety assessments becomes increasingly critical.

This broadening scope of influence not only enhances the scheme’s credibility but also encourages a more collaborative approach to procurement, where efficiency and safety are paramount.

Looking forward

As SSIP embarks on another year, the focus remains on building upon the successes of 2023, expanding its reach, and further integrating its principles across diverse industries. The emphasis on education, coupled with initiatives aimed at fostering partnerships, is poised to reinforce SSIP’s position as a key player in the procurement environment.

“In the midst of an ever-changing industry landscape, SSIP stays at the forefront of innovation and efficiency. We’re dedicated to ensuring that our standards not only meet but resonate with the diverse needs across sectors.” concludes Eaton.

The record-breaking achievements of SSIP in 2023 not only celebrate past successes but also lay the groundwork for future advancements, signalling a bright and efficient future for procurement practices across the UK.

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Work at height charity launches first ever No Falls Week

The No Falls Foundation, the first and only UK-based charity for the work at height sector, is proud to be launching its first ever ‘No Falls Week’, a powerful campaign dedicated to promoting safe working at height

Taking place between 13 and 17 May 2024, No Falls Week’s mission is simple yet crucial; to raise awareness about the importance of safe working at height, prevent falls and ensure everyone that works at height comes down safely.

It is estimated over 1 million businesses, and 10 million workers, carry out work involving some form of working at height every year. No Falls Week will provide the opportunity for organisations across all sectors to place a focus on work at height safety.

Falls from height are consistently the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the UK, with 40 people losing their lives at work due to a fall from height in 2022-2023. Latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that falls from height were responsible for a third of all workplace deaths last year, up from a quarter the year before.

As awful as the fatality statistics are, there are an even greater number of non-fatal injuries resulting from a fall from height, with over 5,000 people in Great Britain having been reported injured at work in 2022/23. However, the No Falls Foundation know there is substantial underreporting of non-fatal falls from height for all workers, particularly the self-employed, who were found to report just 12% of workplace incidents. According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the HSE estimates the number of workplace falls from height over the last 10 years may be up to 425,000.

Along with the lives, families and businesses affected by these accidents, up to 992,000 working days were lost through non-fatal falls from height in Great Britain in 2022/23 alone. Not only that, the total cost of falls from height last year was estimated to be over £847 million, made up of costs to the employer and the individual, government tax losses and benefit payments.

Hannah Williams, Charity Manager at the No Falls Foundation, said: “Everyone who needs to work at height should be able to work safely and return home unharmed at the end of every shift. Unlike most other types of workplace injuries, the consequences of a fall from height are usually life-changing for the person involved, with many unlikely to return to their previous occupation, as well as having long-term consequences for employers, colleagues and families.

“Whether you work in construction, manufacturing, agriculture or any other sector, No Falls Week is an opportunity for everyone to shine a spotlight onto the mental, physical, and societal consequences of working at height accidents.”

Employers can sign up to get involved via the No Falls Week website, where there are a host of toolkits and resources from members of the Access Industry Forum (AIF) to help organisations plan activities during No Falls Week. This may include hosting toolbox talks, workshops or safety demonstrations, distributing informational materials, and engaging in social media campaigns.

For further information and to sign up for No Falls Week, please visit:

NO FALLS WEEK 34 | March 2024

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Do you believe in preventing accidents before they happen?

Why NO FALLS WEEK matters

40PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES due to a fall from height in 2022-2023


Falls from heights are consistently the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the U.K. The latest figures from the HSE show that 40 people lost their lives due to a fall from height in 2022-2023. Falls from height were responsible for 30% of all workplace deaths.


No Falls Week’s mission is simple yet crucial: to raise awareness about the importance of safe working at height. Whether you work in construction, manufacturing, agriculture or any other sector, our campaign aims to equip you with the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to prevent falls and ensure everyone that works at height comes down safely.

Sign up NOW for NO FALLS WEEK No Falls Week is organised by the No Falls Foundation, the first and only UKbased charity devoted exclusively to the work at height sector.

Old fashioned principles supported by the latest modern technology

The launch of Right FM by experienced industry professionals is gaining much attention throughout the FM sector due to its principled approach and use of factual, data-led information

CASE STUDY 36 | March 2024

Regardless of which area FM industry individuals and companies represent within the sector, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that improved levels of service delivery and support are expected of providers and contractors.

There has been considerable discussion about the dynamic and adaptable nature of the FM sector, with the Covid pandemic adding further valuable evidence to this following the positive benefits delivered by high numbers of FMs and service provider partners. Further supporting evidence of this trend has been proved within the launch of Right FM and its focus on working with clients to deliver the best sustainable outcomes in all areas.

Founding directors Venesa Coodien and Stuart Robertson spoke exclusively to FM Director to explain their aims and ambitions for the new business that is already attracting high profile clients. Having worked together previously, the partners are adding further depth to their relationship and extending these to their growing list of customers.

“I started work in the FM industry more than 25 years ago on a service desk for a security services company initially,” Ms Coodien explains. “I was sending out engineers and organising jobs and started to work my way up from there, but it was a great start and provided lots of background information about the industry.”

After experiencing redundancy, she began working for Mitie as its contracts services manager running the help desk, where she first worked with Mr Robertson. She states that her various roles gave her a deepening awareness of all the main areas of FM, which additionally combined with her increasingly senior roles.

We want to do things differently to stand apart from the many FM service provider companies out there

“Having left to pursue our careers with different companies, Stuart and I worked separately for a while, but then started to work together again at our last company, then decided that we didn’t really want to do this for anyone else and said to each other ‘let’s just do it’, so we started Right FM as our own business,” says Ms Coodien.

Having explained their ambitions to Karl Wickens and Clive Horobin, the company was founded with Mr Wickens as operations manager and Mr Horobin as non executive director. “They wanted to do something similar and made the decision to join us, so there are four of us at present and we all have lots of experience in the industry,” she continues.

“We want to do things differently to stand apart from the many FM service provider companies out there. We’re focusing on sustainability but also adding our own ethos, as well, to combine compliancy, health and safety and the ISO standards. As senior people with a lot of experience we know we can be a little more hands on, too,” says Ms Coodien.

CASE STUDY March 2024 | 37

She explains that although the company will outsource specialist services to other contractors, all these companies have been selected by Right FM for their abilities to support the culture and sustainableobjectives of its customers.

“We’re aiming to be a lot more thoughtful and sustainable than some of the more established FM service providers have proved to be. That means that we will always advise on best practice in all areas to discuss whether things can be carried out in a more efficient way,” she continues.

Mr Robertson agrees that compliancy is providing the company with a main focus and also states that this is helping it to deliver sustainable growth for its own business while also assisting its clients to expand and additionally achieve their objectives.

“I think there’s been a tendency in our industry for companies to seek the cheapest suppliers to assist their financial growth, but we’re trying to change that way of thinking,” he says.

“People need to accept that it costs a little bit more to embrace the green agenda and rather than pull the wool over their eyes, we can help our customers realise that there are better choices to be made, rather than just going for the cheapest quote for each contract.

“We know what the prices should be and we can find deals that work for everyone,” says Mr Robertson.

Long-term value is also discussed, compared to short-term savings, and Ms Coodien says the former proves to be more cost effective in the majority of instances. She provides examples from investing in solar power to the installation of sensors and monitors, both of which have long-term benefits.

Decisions are made through the analysis of effective data and discussions with clients, she continues.

“You see a lot of service providers doing the bare minimum to just get them through, but you need happy buildings and happy people and there’s a lot more you have to do to make sure everyone is happy with the facility and everything is working as it should do,” she says.

Looking ahead

The use of the latest technology is favoured by Right FM and Mr Robertson states that clients do not have enough time to decide which will provide the best results for their facility. “We can make sure we have our finger on the pulse and bring useful solutions to them,” he says.

Ms Coodien provides the example of the variety of cleaning products that are now on the market to emphasise the need to use those which are most acceptable to the environment. Choosing chemical-free cleaning products has a number of additional advantages including assisting individuals who are allergic to them.

We’re aiming to be a lot more thoughtful and sustainable than some of the more established FM service providers have proved to be
CASE STUDY 38 | March 2024

Having received accreditation for ISO 9001 and 14001 and she further states that PAS 2030 and other accreditations are also being discussed, with a view to further assisting clients to achieve their goals and reduce their impact on the environment.

“In addition to FM we can also make sure that everything we do aligns with their compliance and all their other objectives, too,“ Ms Coodien continues. “Not only does this help the client but we’re finding this often helps the local community, as well.”

While the company is working to provide services to clients for all areas of FM, the company is also able to include consultancy in its operations. These can be delivered on a standalone basis or combined with more general service contracts.

Depending on the type of contract, Right FM will either self deliver this via its directly employed workforce or through one of its tried and tested industry partners. “Where more expertise is required we’ll use the experts,” says Ms Coodien. “We typically only have one specialist provider for each task and we make sure we complete our due diligence in advance, so that the client gets what they’re paying for.”

In addition to the in-depth vetting that the company completes before it engages with an external provider, Mr Robertson states that each supplier will be stress tested before Right FM starts to use it. “There are a lot of companies who believe in ‘fake it till you make it’ but that doesn’t work in our industry.

“We want to build long-term relationships with our customers and to do that you need trust,” he continues. “So you have to make sure you do all the things you say you’re going to and exceed everyone’s expectations, because if we can’t we’re failing ourselves,” he says.

“The great thing with using the best technology is that you can be as transparent as possible with all the data to support that,” Ms Coodien continues. “We make sure the clients have access to live data at all times so they always have real time updates at their fingertips, which shows that the work’s being done.”

“That means that the companies that try to make things as complicated as possible and hide from the facts will start to struggle now,” Mr Robertson says. “There’s a lot more transparency now and we want to use that to continue to improve and help our clients to do the same.

There are a lot of companies who believe in ‘fake it till you make it’ but that doesn’t work in our industry

“That may mean we’ve been able to fix something before the client has even realised there was a problem, and that’s when you start to build the levels of trust that you need to work in meaningful relationships.”

Both Ms Coodien and Mr Robertson are aware of the issues that can emerge when companies grow too quickly and are keen to avoid that situation developing. The company is working with clients of all sizes already, some of which are among the largest in their area within the UK, and is currently focusing on ensuring that each customer is delighted with the service they receive from Right FM.

“We have everything in place that will allow us to continue to grow on a self-funded basis,” Ms Coodien continues. “And we know what we can do with the time we have available to us, at present.”

Another brave decision has been made on the type of client the company works with. Rather than accept each opportunity the business plans to work with like-minded customers that will work in partnership and avoid the issues that arise when everything is based on the cheapest price.

“We want everything we do to make commercial sense and avoid the vanity projects,” says Mr Robertson. “There have already been tenders we could probably have won if we cut our margins down to nothing, but that’s not how we want to work.”

Right FM has been founded on the basis of working to high standards in all areas from the outset, which will continue to deliver ever-increasing dividends in the years ahead.

CASE STUDY March 2024 | 39

PTSG: leading the way in mental health

It has long been the norm for companies to provide first aid to protect the physical wellbeing of their staff, but mental health is still a secondary consideration in many cases

Creating a mentally healthy and productive workplace requires a holistic approach, with mental health training that helps individuals practice self-care, manage stress and maintain wellbeing. For a number of years PTSG has aimed to treat mental and physical health as one. Its Health and Safety leaders began delivering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training in 2019, shortly before COVID first took hold.

The Group has 40 Mental Health First Aid Trainers, who are qualified through Mental Health First Aid England. The aim is to give every one of its 2,700+ people easy access to a mental health expert to talk in confidence about any issues they are experiencing so that they can receive the expert help they need.

Figures published by mental health charity Mind show that approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression in any given week. One adult in six had a common mental disorder*. And a staggering 61% of adults with mental health problems don’t access treatment. This final statistic highlights the stigma and discrimination that still exist around mental health issues.

Mental health and PTSG

PTSG was one of the first organisations of its kind to have a dedicated Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) department to look after its colleagues, many of whom work in safety-critical roles delivering specialist services to buildings of all kinds and sizes.

ADVERTORIAL 40 | March 2024

While physical health and safety is of paramount importance, the Group’s HSE Director, Terry Wilcock, has worked tirelessly since he joined PTSG in 2010 to give mental the same level of importance.

“We have a responsibility towards our colleagues,” explained Terry. “An increase in the discussion of mental health will, in time, reduce the inequalities experienced by those people who have mental health issues.”

This approach has seen a huge take-up in people approaching PTSG’s own mental health experts to talk about the issues they are having. As a result, there has been a significant fall-off in staff absence and sickness.

The COVID pandemic forced a great many people to work from home, a proportion of whom went for days at a time without having contact with another person. This put a greater focus on the mental health issues that can take effect as a result of loneliness and isolation, and acted as a catalyst for giving people better access to proper help.

MHFA Training

Just before the pandemic arrived in the UK, Terry Wilcock and Paul Campbell, (Group VQ Assessor and Trainer), presented the concept behind mental health first aid (MHFA) in a special training course for staff.

The course was ideal in enabling attendees to be proactive in offering help and support to colleagues. As with physical first aid, trained mental health first aiders learn how to spot the early warning signs associated with mental ill health and guide the affected person towards appropriate help. By creating mentally literate workplaces, PTSG is becoming a being a mentally-literate, compassionate company where people can thrive.

As a result of the course, Paul Campbell achieved the qualification Mental Health First Aid Trainer through Mental Health First Aid England. Since that time, Terry and Paul have ensured the initiative has gained momentum, putting on numerous further training sessions throughout the UK for more and more of PTSG’s staff.

The most recent Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training session was at the end of January 2024 at the Group’s Castleford Head Office. This powerful and instructive two-day course was enjoyed by all participants.

In attendance were a mixture of office and engineering staff, managers, supervisors and HR representatives. This gave rise to some powerful discussions on inclusion in the workplace. All candidates fed back to say how much they got out of the course. Here is one example:

“Overall this was a very, very good course. The instructors in particular ensured the room was fully engaged and switched up the learning to ensure it could be delivered to all types of learners. The course provides a great insight into the world of mental health and builds confidence in the learner to deal with situations when they arise. I would like to push more of this training within our organisation and in particular the team I oversee in my current role, so I will look to be an advocate for this where I can.”

In 2022, PTSG was shortlisted in the Wellbeing category of the IWFM Impact Awards. This was due to the exceptional level of personal support the Group gave to one of its staff, Sarah, whose sister – also a colleague – sadly passed away from cancer in 2019.

PTSG’s MHFA team recognised that Sarah needed the freedom to balance work with being able to care for her sister – free from the normal nine-to-five constraints and the necessity of coming to the office as usual. This was instrumental in helping her cope and successfully return to work. It has also helped to inform PTSG’s mental health and wellbeing practitioners going forwards.

The crucial part of the help that PTSG’s experts give is that it is tailored to the unique circumstances of the individual – there is no ‘one-stop shop’ approach for mental health.

Paul Campbell said: “We aim to provide the type of open and supportive culture that enables staff to be honest with their manager, to access support and to enjoy a healthy working life.

“Ultimately, I want every single person at PTSG to feel they can approach our trained and qualified mental health first aiders without any judgement from anyone – just care and support. Then, I can be happy we have achieved our goal.”

*McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016) Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital. Available at: http:// uk/catalogue/ PUB21748/ apms-2014-execsummary.... 5 October 2016]

We have a responsibility towards our colleagues. An increase in the discussion of mental health will, in time, reduce the inequalities experienced by those people who have mental health issues
ADVERTORIAL March 2024 | 41

The last year has made a world of difference to YorPower

First Anniversary Under Yorpower Banner Celebrates Significant Global and Domestic Developments

Ayear ago in the early part of 2023, YorPower, PPSPower and Glenace completed their merger, coming together under the YorPower name to operate as one company. Far from simply being a change of brand, YorPower – guided by Group Managing Director Stephen Peal – has taken full advantage of the opportunity to create a new unified way of working. The effects have been far-reaching.

Previously, the separate parts of the company were established and successful in their own field. PPSPower was a trusted provider of back-up power maintenance solutions for a diverse set of customers across the UK. Glenace had been the controls and automation arm of the group. Underpinning all of this, YorPower existed as the trusted manufacturer and exporter of generators.

The merger of the three companies has seen a complete reorganisation of the business structure and premises to offer a far more efficient service, which is capitalising on the steady growth in recent years. Everyone has embraced the Group vision: To be the most trusted provider of UPS, generator and control panel solutions.

“It was very important to ensure that everyone understood and was on board with our group brand and the values and vision statement that sit within that,” explains Stephen. “This is now playing a big part in how we do business and we have driven this through employee engagement and stronger communication strategies.”

Embracing a culture of success

YorPower worked with Pro-Development to deliver a strategy from which The Group could get honest and open feedback from all employees on how they are doing and what they are like to work for. “I have been clear that my personal ambition is for YorPower to be the best place any of our employees have ever worked and this was a huge part of that target,” continued Stephen. “Our initial findings (simplified) were that we needed to find improvements in the following areas:

Training and development

Better and more regular one-to-ones

Recognition and reward

“When people are engaged, they care about getting the job done, and they care about the customer.

“In July 2023, our Summer Awards Party was an opportunity to bring our teams together in a relaxed social environment and recognise their efforts of the last year. It also enabled us to communicate the strategies of each department to all, discuss our vison statement and values again but more importantly recognise those in the business that have excelled during this early period of change.”

Power trip – our international operations

YorPower is a well-established British business with a long and celebrated history in supplying high quality products to challenging markets. The Group’s ambition is to develop and expand territories and markets in new locations with key partners. This will enable the growth of YorPower globally while helping its partners’ and customers’ businesses to grow locally.

YorPower exports diesel generators across Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East. Stephen Peal briefly describes operations in Kenya and Bangladesh:

YorPower Kenya. In addition to driving sales and managing installations, our operation in Nairobi has many valued long-term clients that our team looks after throughout the lifetime of their assets.

42 | March 2024

YorPower Bangladesh. Our base in Dhaka (ACI Motors) enables us to supply and install diesel generators throughout the country. Our values of honesty and integrity, embracing technologies and achieving profit and prosperity are clearly aligned with the team there – and that can only come by being effective in everything we do.

“We have invested in systems that give us better market intelligence and are continuing to develop and streamline processes to make us more efficient and improve reporting.

“We have recruited more experience to this team to help facilitate and guide our new approach. This has already delivered growth beyond our initial expectations.”

Efficiencies in all areas at our UK headquarters Manufacturing and Dispatch: “Our team has grown in this part of the business over the last year and we are now looking at embracing better planning systems to increase efficiencies. The nature of this work is to see alternating highs and lows in demand. Having stronger, more proactive planning and management in place is designed to mitigate and forecast these peaks and troughs.”

UK Product and Sales Delivery: “Adopting systems used throughout the rest of the Group has enabled our team to hand over their sales to operations with the click of a button and has ensured that operations can deliver to the customers’ expectations with ease. Developing clearer accountabilities and clarifying the role of internal support for our field teams has already delivered better efficiencies and will continue to do so as we develop our internal sales structure.”

Spare Part Sales: “This team has been redeveloped into a dedicated sales support team with dispatching left to our warehouse team. This has allowed us to respond much quickly and more consistently to the growing demand and allowed the warehouse team to maintain better controls.”

Warehouse: “When the businesses were fragmented, each had its own stock allocation. Unifying them has enabled us to merge the teams and stock levels and better define the processes to ensure we get things right first time, improving all-round efficiencies. We also have better visibility of stock levels and are continuing to develop the levels we should be keeping readily available at our head office to actively support all business streams.”

Service, Sales and Engineer Coordination: “The biggest win here has been stronger visibility on shared engineering resource. This has, and will continue to, allow the wider business to benefit from the expertise that was once fragmented. Field Service Engineers are now being used more in commissioning opportunities. Control Panel engineers are being brought in to manufacturing and dispatch.

“We have even been developing generator engineers in UPS roles, especially those with strong electrical knowledge. This has not only given us opportunities to be more efficient, but is also exposing our engineers to better development opportunities and improving their awareness of the wider business.”

Creating a brighter future

YorPower is already well down the road to becoming carbon neutral. Working with partner Neutral Carbon Zone, YorPower achieved Silver certification in 2023 and is currently working towards Gold.

The Group has also recently become Gold-accredited in the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Launched in 2012, it is a free virtual leaning platform around sustainability, to upskill those working within the built environment sector. YorPower (under former name PPSPower) has been a member of the school since 2014. As Stephen explains, “This has enabled us to assess ourselves and access training resource to improve the following three areas:




“We have accessed over 75 hours of training over those years. We are now ranked above average in all areas but with plenty of room for improvement.”

YorPower is also certified as a forces-owned business and is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant. “Our dedication to the 5% Club remains and we maintain at least 5% of our employees as apprentice, explains Stephen. “We are involved in many local initiatives and charitable events and continue to proudly sponsor a youth football team.”

It was very important to ensure that everyone understood and was on board with our group brand and the values and vision statement that sit within that
March 2024 | 43

Increased government funding set to drive EV charging installations

With improved infrastructure seen as the main requirement to achieve the government’s electric vehicle uptake ambitions, Tom Bloor explains how his company is set to support this

INTERVIEW 44 | March 2024

One of the most topical points of discussion provided by FM industry contacts is how our sector needs to be an enabler in all areas of service delivery, regardless of whether this applies to assisting clients, communities or UK society to achieve their ambitions.

Although that list is considered to be endless, when all areas of the extensive FM sector is considered, it can range from support for clients’ ESG and CSR projects to helping with financial aims and achievements or reduction of carbon emissions and provision of energy efficiency advice and actions.

With this in mind, it is additionally more easily understandable to see how the upgrading of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure will include additions to estates and facilities around the UK.

Following the UK government’s recent announcement from Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne that up to 75% of the cost of buying and installing charge points, up to £2,500 per socket - increasing from the previous £350 – the intention is to drive installation numbers at schools, colleges, nurseries and academies.

In addition to attracting more visitors, the installation of charging equipment has been proposed as a potential new revenue stream by the government.

FM Director spoke exclusively to evec managing director Tom Bloor for his thoughts on the new EV charging grant opportunities and how these will be rolled out in the coming months.

He explains that The Workplace Grant provides companies with grants of £350 for each car parking space where EV charging is installed, complemented by the Infrastructure Grant that gives up to £500 per space.

“That means that companies can now claim up to £850 for each parking space they install chargers, which is very attractive to the businesses looking to upgrade their fleet to EVs,” says Mr Bloor.

“And the new grant scheme provides up to £2,500 for schools and colleges for each of their car parking spaces.

There’s not enough public charging infrastructure at the moment and half the UK population don’t have a driveway to install their own charger

EV funding details

The UK government has confirmed the grants now available for businesses, schools, colleges and nurseries to install EV charging points.

More information on the range of financial support from the government can be found here: school’s grant is for state-funded schools and education institutions

These options now include:

new grants for state-funded schools, nurseries and more to help with EV chargepoint costs new proposals to ensure chargepoints can be installed even faster five more local authorities set to receive funding for local chargepoints measures delivered as part of our Plan for Drivers – making it easier for drivers to make the switch.

INTERVIEW March 2024 | 45

“While that means you get lots of people trying to jump on the bandwagon and make money, it’s great that the government are increasing the grants to encourage more options to people installing chargers on their driveways at home. But they’ve had to do that because we’re now behind a lot of the Scandinavian and European countries with where we need to be with EV charging, so they need to back this if they’re going to achieve their aim in stopping the sale of petrol and diesel models,” Mr Bloor continues.

Having begun working with For Everyone Group chief executive officer Stephen Johnson in 2017, Mr Bloor says this was initially in the area of kitchen appliance manufacture.

“We turned over around £5m around six years ago, but that’s grown significantly over that time to just over £50m last year,” he says. This impressive expansion has been achieved by introducing new companies to the group, including the evec EV charging business last year.

Having bought his first electric car three years ago, Mr Bloor discussed the possibility of manufacturing EV chargers with the company’s long term kitchen appliances manufacturer in China.

The design of a cost-effective charger resulted in the launched of the new evec business, mainly aimed at the domestic market initially.

With domestic chargers typically costing around £2,000 for the charger and its installation, the evec product has a total cost of £799, providing a saving more than £1,200. Unsurprisingly the product has proved popular and resulted in around 10,000 being sold last year.

The company has also extended its product range to include a wider choice of EV chargers, several of which will be of interest to facilities and estate managers. Customers can choose the best option to suit their requirements from the 7kW domestic chargers to the 40kW ultra-fast, DC products, with 150kW and 200kW public charging options also being considered for introduction in the near future.

Plans to install the ultra-fast option are well advanced at the evec head office in Manchester, which will allow members of the public to pay and rapidly charge their EV. This will also allow the company to prove the concept works as a generator of revenue and attract more sales over the course of this year.

INTERVIEW 46 | March 2024

“There’s not enough public charging infrastructure at the moment and half the UK population don’t have a driveway to install their own charger, so we need a lot more publicly available charging options. Especially if the sale of petrol and diesel cars stop in 2035, by which time the range of electric cars will have increased further to match or exceed the mileage you would expect to do on a tank of petrol,” he continues.

Mr Bloor states that although his company continues to enjoy growth, it is keenly aware that there are currently around 30 other EV charging providers in the UK at present, with more expected to launch in the near future. “Although we’re offering one of the most cost-effective products we don’t want to base everything on the cheapest price. We want to be seen as a good quality, reliable product so our reputation for customer service is extremely important.

“On the rare occasion there is an issue with a charger we’ve got a great system in place where we immediately diagnose any problems over the phone and if it can’t be resolved that way, we send our nationwide network of engineers out to resolve the problem.

“And the good news is that very few of the chargers we’ve sold so far have had any issues. We’re also engaging with as many industry partners as possible to help our growth plans for the future,” he says.

With all new domestic houses now having to include EV chargers, the company is working with the major housebuilders to increase sales. The low price and high reliability aspects of the product is understandably proving highly attractive, Mr Bloor states.

With notable expansion in the numbers of UK installers, the company is also working with as many of these as possible, as well. In addition to its plans to host installer days at its head office and offer training and incentives, the company also plans to increase its product supply to training facilities and help installers gain familiarity with its products from their initial entry into the market.

“There’s also the option for us to provide a client with a free charger and then take a percentage of the income this will generate. We’re seeing demand increase all around the UK for EV chargers and although Scotland and Ireland are a few years behind England in their levels of EV activity, you can see the activity increasing there as well.”

Another key element of business growth will be supported by the new announcements on government grants, he continues. “Rather than coming to an end this month, they’ve been extended to 2025.”

With EV charging proving increasingly popular at facilities and estates of all types and sizes around the UK, the evec business seems set to announce more consistent growth for both its sales and variety of products.

EV funding details

The UK government has confirmed the grants now available for businesses, schools, colleges and nurseries to install EV charging points.

More information on the range of financial support from the government can be found here: school’s grant is for state-funded schools and education institutions

These options now include:

new grants for state-funded schools, nurseries and more to help with EV chargepoint costs new proposals to ensure chargepoints can be installed even faster five more local authorities set to receive funding for local chargepoints measures delivered as part of our Plan for Drivers – making it easier for drivers to make the switch.

INTERVIEW March 2024 | 47

TMT continues its expansion with exhibition presence

Following its last networking event in November, Tomorrow Meets Today is delivering on its promise to increase activities with its stand at The Workplace Event

This year’s The Workplace Event will be held over three days from 30 April to 2 May at the NEC, Birmingham venue and will see Tomorrow Meets Today (TMT) exhibiting with the aim of increasing its reach and industry contacts.

In addition to its founders, performance consultant and professional speaker Sajna Rahman and Pareto vice chair Andrew Hulbert, the TMT stand will also see the presence of influential members including CBRE FM Anthony Atkinson, John O’Conner business development manager Rebecca Scahill, The Hurlingham Club head of soft services Andie-Michelle Donaldson and Pareto FM associate director Chris Barnes.

Speaking exclusively to FM Directo r, Mr Hulbert says: “At the Workplace Event 2024, Tomorrow Meets Today, is delighted to take a stand for three days at the show which will enable us to showcase the inspirational talent involved in the social enterprise. Across the three days the stand will be led by the following people, all of whom have amazing career stories and cover a plethora of inclusion experiences between them.

“We encourage anyone looking to get involved in Tomorrow Meets Today, or improve their understanding of diversity and inclusion strategy, to come and have a chat,” he says.

Those wishing for more information on the unique benefits and support for young industry professionals provided by TMT are invited to read the November 2023 issue of FM Director magazine, which features Ms Rahman and Mr Hulbert on its front cover as the main interview article for the issue, along with more exclusive coverage in the form of a report on its last networking event, held at the ASOS office in the Camden area of London.

The founders met and formed the TMT concept in 2014 then began organising annual events to bring young people together with experienced industry professionals and encouraging everyone to interact.

Many of those taking part have expressed the value of the events, with several of the young professionals attending in the early years now returning as mentors for the young professionals of today.



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One of the integral driving factors for the success of TMT has been the highly effective partnership between its founders

The combination of diverse and experienced leaders meeting with enthusiastic and talented young people meeting within well-designed and inspirational spaces has proved highly successful and an important factor in the continuing expansion of TMT. This has led to the creation of more opportunities to further extend the TMT concept and events, as evidenced by its stand at The Workplace Event.

As explained to FM Director in their November interview, Ms Rahman and Mr Hulbert have both experienced changes within their careers that are allowing them to give more thought to the staging of more events of even higher quality, providing yet more potential and support for further development in the future.

Placing young, talented people together with experienced industry professionals has proved inspirational from a number of perspectives. While the benefits to young people in speaking to established senior professionals is more obvious, there have been several examples of reverse mentoring emerging over the years.

With the event held in Camden last November attributed as the largest TMT event to date, with nearly 50 people in attendance on the night, its founders promised more activities this year with The Workplace Event stand providing the first example.

The TMT stand is additionally partnering alongside three revolutionary talks as part of the Unhinged presentation series lead by Mr Hulbert. This three-part speaker event will see challenging topics tackled by those who have authentic lived experience on the subjects.

Taking place within the Workplace Summit at the exhibition, the three sessions will be chaired by Hulbert and will include the following discussions:

Unhinged - The true challenge of inclusion strategy3.30pm on 30 April.

Unhinged - What it really takes to be an Entrepreneur3.30pm on 1 May.

Unhinged - The reality of anti-racism - 2.30pm on 2 May.

Each session will see Mr Hulbert joined by a number of industry experts to discuss the topics in hand and answer questions from attendees. The discussions are additionally expected to benefit from those taking place on the TMT stand, while also adding further thought-leadership outcomes resulting from the combined efforts of talented individuals.

One of the many fascinating results of the TMT events has been the discussion and raising of awareness for emerging trends and thinking within the FM industry and society in general. In addition to the diversity and inclusion (D&I) subject included within Mr Hulbert’s Unhinged sessions within the seminar theatre, this has previous covered the emergence of additional topics such as environmental and social governance (ESG).

Both D&I and ESG topics have since become mainstream areas of interest throughout the FM sector, recognised by the majority of businesses, many of which have established strategies to ensure these remain an integral part of company culture. This in turn is encouraging more individuals to consider careers that would previously have been considered unattainable, which is then delivering a number of additional benefits for industry personnel, their companies and the sector in general.

One of the integral driving factors for the success of TMT has been the highly effective partnership between its founders, both of whom bring their considerable talents and apply them for the benefit of all those involved. “We have a great partnership and Tomorrow Meets Today could not happen without both of us being involved,” says Ms Rahman.

Mr Hulbert says: “Sajna has this remarkable vision that I describe as ‘shoot for the moon and land among the stars’, and I believe TMT can easily become a really successful enterprise, possibly including an academy, more elements around training, or even becoming a business entity in itself,” says Mr Hulbert. Both partners state that the most important aspect in any future developments will be the inclusion of the core values that TMT was founded upon.

Within the FM Director feature, Ms Rahman stated that this year is likely to see a number of TMT events taking place. The TMT stand at The Workplace Event is another important step in the growth and development of the unique concept and allow the founders to build further on the highly constructive foundations laid in recent years, with the intention of further extending the benefits delivered in the future.


Strength of social values embedded in business culture

Nanogreen Sustainable Facility Management has been established with a strong focus on value and culture that includes sustainability at the heart of all its operations

Businesses around the UK are becoming keenly aware of the need to operate in the most responsible manner and the FM sector is rapidly becoming a leading proponent of these principles.

Industry commentators agree that the best means of ensuring these practices are established at the heart of all business operations is to make them a central part of the company’s culture from the moment it is founded.

The Nanogreen Sustainable Facility Management organisation provides further evidence of this, having established a number of social and sustainable policies as a central element from the first moments of its launch.

I didn’t have the best of upbringings, my parents were both alcoholics and I wasn’t really pushed into education or working in society
CASE STUDY March 2024 | 51

Founder and business owner Craig Duff spoke exclusively to FM Director to provide the details of the company’s continued growth, while maintaining its core focus on its social and environmental policies. It quickly becomes apparent that reaction to his difficult formative years is the reason why the company operates in a highly responsible manner.

“I didn’t have the best of upbringings, my parents were both alcoholics and I wasn’t really pushed into education or working in society,” he begins with searing honesty. Having taken the opportunity to move to Swindon, Wiltshire, at the age of 16, he began to benefit from his new situation and learning about the positive advantages available from engaging with education and work.

“I started to work my way through life and after taking a lot of different jobs I was given the opportunity to join a recruitment company in 2006,” he explains.

Although lacking formal qualifications, his long list of life skills –including tenacity and honesty – won him the chance of beginning a career that would last 10 years. His enthusiasm for learning and contributing positively to the business saw him rise to the position of branch manager at the company’s flagship head office.

“It taught me a lot about how to deal with people, the directors and other staff members and gave me a really good overview of work. Of all the jobs I took, that was the one that gave me the most benefits up to that point,” he continues.

Having become a father for the first time, he then took a brief career break that allowed him to spend more time with his son and his wife to return to full time working. This also led to him establishing his first business offering carpet cleaning to the local community, using the skills learned in a previous role.

“The bank provided me with a £5,000 loan, I bought myself a van and started cleaning carpets. After a few months I got in with some letting agents and started doing some cleaning for them and things were going OK,” he says.

His work allowed him to work around the needs of his son and his schooling, etc, and progressed to the point where Mr Duff took on an employee to cope with growing demand. More expansion followed to the point in 2016 where he had seven staff members.

“My expectations of running a business didn’t match the reality, however, as I hadn’t had to deal with the taxman, VAT and all the other things in my other jobs. I struggled on but hit a couple of rocky patches in 2018 and 2019,” he states.

Having shared his issues and concerns with a professional networking group, Mr Duff was approached by Chris Horgan with the offer of business advice and support. “We sat down and quickly realised that some of the work I was doing wasn’t profitable and some was just not the right kind of work.”

After six months of working together, Mr Duff states that the initial “light at the end of the tunnel” had become ever brighter, to the point where the two men became business partners in early 2020, just before the first Covid pandemic lock down. With increased demand for cleaning services and several competitors placing staff on furlough, the partners enjoyed rapid growth and “have not looked back”.

I’ve always thought if I can give somebody an opportunity who hasn’t had the best start in life, I would do it

“We know the world of work has changed and a lot of businesses aren’t where they should be, but we’ve got such a tenacious appetite to make things work, we’ve really dug our heels in to change a lot of what we do. That’s seen us extend our soft FM services and we’ve really looked at what we can offer our clients,” Mr Duff continues.

Having strengthened its partnerships with customers, the company also completed acquisitions of other businesses. “We’ve learned so much about the business, each other and the industry, which we’re now trying to change.”

Further expansion is predicted for Nanogreen Sustainable Facility Management as it continues to extend its geographic coverage into South West and South Central England, along with possibilities for more growth in the South East and Midlands areas.

Throughout all the developments over the last nine years, the company has continued to retain its values established by Mr Duff.

“I’ve always thought if I can give somebody an opportunity who hasn’t had the best start in life, I would do it. We started employing people who had experienced a number of barriers to employment, and took guys on that had been homeless and also those suffering from drug and alcohol misuse,” he continues.

In addition to the benefits to the company and its clients, staff members who had found it difficult to find work are now enjoying far more positive roles in society.

“We’ve had people with autism, some have been bi-polar and others with mental health issues, but we don’t judge. The whole idea is to provide someone with a stepping stone to better their life,” says Mr Duff.

The success of the company’s efforts and strong principles is continuing to provide more opportunities, the most recent of which is a partnership with His Majesty’s Prison Service (HMPS).

In addition to providing those leaving prison with work opportunities, Nanogreen Sustainable Facility Management is additionally aiming to work with offenders before their sentences finishes to allow them to engage with training programmes.

“We’ve now got the training module and we’ll be taking that to local prisons. We can already see the benefits of that early intervention, giving them the opportunity to prepare to come out and into work,” he continues.

CASE STUDY 52 | March 2024

There is a passion within the business to help those in need and willing to enjoy a more positive role in life, which then continues to deliver more benefits for the local community. “We’ve seen how people stop claiming benefits and reduce medical prescriptions, while paying tax and all the other things and that has a massive impact on the community.”

Further proof of the company’s highly laudable efforts to assist its staff members, clients and the community in general is provided by its successful accreditation as a B Corp business, which was attained by Nanogreen Sustainable Facility Management in 2023. It is also a real Living Wage accredited company, ensuring that its employees are paid fairly to allow them to pay their own dues to society.

The company’s responsible attitude additionally extends to all operations, including the financial management of the business. “It’s not just about making as much profit as we can, but how we invest our money and make it work for us, continuing to share the benefits with the local community and the bigger social impact this provides with the local community by allowing us to continue to do what we’re doing,” he explains.

Although still classed as a small business, the ambition to deliver further growth is driven by the potential to increase the advantages described above by working to the strong principles firmly established. The staging of open days at its premises is increasing the company’s links with its local community and identify more potential new employees that will in turn assist further expansion.

“We currently employ 36 people and we have a policy that one in five employees have to come from those experiencing barriers to employment,” Mr Duff says. He further explains how relationships with the Swindon Salvation Army, Hope Foundation and Richmond Fellowship have assisted in identifying employees, several of whom are continuing to work for the company.

In addition to full-time employment, the company also provides work experience for those needing assistance and support in their journey to more permanent positions.

One of the challenges it now faces is that government funding has been withdrawn from several charitable organisations and it is struggling to find the number of job candidates it needs.

“If a little company in a business unit in Swindon can do this, why don’t the big boys and larger companies do it, as well?” he asks.

“A lot of them say they do but it’s often just a donation to a charity, while we make the effort to provide tangible opportunities, which is a real differentiator for us and is a key part of how we’ll move forward.”

Engaging with the immigration authorities has seen further benefits emerge, including providing employment to immigrants who would otherwise have required housing and benefit support but are now paying taxes. “The reason some immigrants fall into crime is that they’re cooped up in centres and told they’re not allowed to work. Let’s allow the people that genuinely want to work to do that.

“I know it’s a lot more complex than just giving them jobs, but it’s much better to support people in finding work than to shut them away. And who are we to tell people they’re not allowed to have a better life?” he asks.

He further explains how the company’s sustainability agenda is a central element of its employment strategy and business ethics, that combines with its social value, its B Corp accreditation, the products provided and investment in electric vehicles.

“We’re not perfect and that there are some things we can’t do, but we try our hardest to make sure that all our sustainability efforts are meaningful, and if we get it right that means other people will follow us and we’ll all continue to get better,” Mr Duff concludes.

Nanogreen Sustainable Facility Management provides another excellent example of how the FM sector is continuing to lead the UK business community in delivering the highest levels of service, supported by a deep-seated and genuine social value conscience that has the potential to accelerate in all areas in the months and years to come.

CASE STUDY March 2024 | 53

Use of CEO bonuses proposed to drive D&I agenda

Growing up in London has instilled the need to avoid putting labels on people and treating everyone as individuals for Gary Zetter

One of the topics promoted within the extensive FM industry has been that of diversity and inclusion (D&I), leading to FM Director asking ASH Integrated Services operations manager Gary Zetter for his views on the topic.

Having won global and national awards for his extensive efforts to improve D&I throughout his impressive career, Mr Zetter states that he made the decision to avoid his previous senior roles and is thoroughly

enjoying his return to his latest position. Although he remains optimistic about the growing attention devoted to D&I and the benefit this brings, he feels now is the time to drive the message forward with increased effort and attention from senior management teams across the FM sector

Explaining how his immersion in D&I was instilled by his formative years in the Shepherds Bush area of London, he says: “I was one of just three white children at secondary school and D&I was the norm for me throughout my childhood,” he recalls.

INTERVIEW 54 | March 2024

“And while I can see the colour of someone’s skin or if they’re male or female, the usual obvious things, I always see the person first,” he continues. “I believe labels are for clothes and not for people.

“Growing up in inner London has made that easier for me, in many ways, but I also don’t hold anything against those who haven’t been exposed to that, while I certainly believe that in the FM sector bias still exists. You can’t hold it against someone if they haven’t been exposed to different cultures or diversities, it’s not their fault, it’s just the journey they’ve been on and everyone’s different,” he states.

Valuable views

After establishing a thoroughly deserved reputation for his efforts in promoting the D&I topic in his FM industry senior management and directorial roles over the years, Mr Zetter shares his valuable and highly relevant views with FM Director on the progress achieved. This includes his view that although there are now many more people in the industry with D&I job titles, he questions how helpful this is.

“I’m seeing ever more prominent D&I management roles in FM, but I’m dismayed that we actually need quality D&I people in our industry. It should be part of our embedded culture by now and I’m disappointed about the inactivity that has prevented it being made a central part of all company cultures,” he states.

With the FM sector widely recognised for being a ‘people industry’, Mr Zetter says this should remove the need for D&I roles, especially in any soft service operation as these are typically employers of people from widely varying ethnic backgrounds. His views are supported by numerous FM Director interviewees of cleaning companies in particular, many of whom refer to the high number of languages spoken within their teams.

Diverse opportunity

He believes one of the issues preventing further action is that too many senior managers are white, middle-aged men and that more directors, managing directors and chief executives need to be given opportunities from the highly diverse backgrounds within their teams. Another solution is to include the instilling of D&I in company culture within measurable achievements for senior managers to receive their annual bonuses. “If it hits you in your pocket, you do something about it,” he states.

“I find it quite strange to have this conversation after so many years,” Mr Zetter continues. “I now work for a small company with three great directors/owners in Antony Grace, Sean Jackson and Howard Jackson at ASH Integrated Services and this is the first time I can honestly say I can now bring the real Gary to work.

And while I can see the colour of someone’s skin or if they’re male or female, the usual obvious things, I always see the person first
INTERVIEW March 2024 | 55

“I truly loved my time at Mitie and how they allowed me to grow into a director and some of the things I was encouraged to do around diversity, apprenticeships and developing internal talent, and I learned so much from both senior directors and also the younger professionals I worked with. I feel truly blessed to have worked there.

“But I’m really happy with my work at ASH Integrated Services and how everyone respects me and that means I work better, as well. There’s a great culture here and I think that it’s not that hard to get the culture right, but you can see that for some of the larger companies it’s all smoke and mirrors,” he says.

“I trust the senior FM industry leaders and believe in their abilities, but I also firmly believe that those who haven’t established D&I as a central element within their company culture should lose their bonuses. They’re in a position of authority and have responsibilities, but the fact that we’re still talking about it shows that more needs to be done,” he states. Mr Zetter is also very complimentary about many of the D&I managers now employed, although he believes this role should not be needed if the policies are truly integral within company culture.

He is also concerned that these roles will be among the first to go when their employer experiences financial difficulties.

“I do believe our senior managers should be challenged more in these areas and I’ll die a happy man if I know that women are being paid the same as men in all areas of the industry,” he continues.

“But what chance does the rest of the diversity movement have if we can’t pay women the same as men?”

Sharing is caring

Given the many successes achieved by Mr Zetter in the winning of major national and international awards for his D&I efforts over the years, he states that his industry contacts have suggested he applies for work in this area.

“I would never take a penny for any D&I work as all this has been voluntary and I’m an ops manager by trade, all the other things I’ve done previously have been provided free to anyone that wants them.

“Sharing knowledge and experiences cost nothing,” he states.

I do believe our senior managers should be challenged more in these areas and I’ll die a happy man if I know that women are being paid the same as men
INTERVIEW 56 | March 2024

One of the best examples of a company that has established an excellent culture is Pareto FM, Mr Zetter continues, with particular emphasis on the quality of its website to confirm this. “They talk about culture and diversity on the front page of their website.

“I’m approaching towards the latter end of my career and I can’t express the wonderful impact it had on me, at my age, seeing the Pareto website. I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Andrew Hulbert and everyone at Pareto and I’m not surprised at the great success that that company has. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that?” he asks.

He credits the efforts of Pareto FM with restoring his faith in business culture which, combined with his enjoyment of working for a smaller business, has helped to considerably restore his level of self confidence in recent months. This took “a big knock” when he made the decision to leave his senior role at Mitie, he states, and found it difficult to accept his time had come to an end there.

“I felt I wasn’t really making an impact anymore and achieving the things I’d hoped to,” he continues. “I still love Mitie as a business but it was time for me to go and since then I left London to move to Manchester and avoided working for another large business, hence the reason why I am working for ASH Integrated Services.

“And work is now much more about getting things done but also having fun, so I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome. I’ve been allowed so much freedom and we’ve made some massive changes to the business,” he states.

“That’s the best part about working with people that trust you and all the things we’ve changed and brought in have impacted positively on the business.”

Having worked with many of the now senior and up and coming young talent in the industry through the running of the Mitie apprenticeship programme and his other professional roles, Mr Zetter says he has considerable hope that they will continue to make a positive impact on the FM sector. “I’ve had my day in senior positions and won’t go back to that, and that’s something that other senior leaders can do to encourage more of the diverse talent to come through.

“I feel that I’ve come into ASH and used my knowledge to help the business and almost put a protective layer around the directors and help the company, because of some of the things I’ve learned over the years and they trust me implicitly, which has seen ASH Integrated Services become a multi-award winning business in 2023.

“And the people I’ve trained and developed in the past have always been encouraged to become better than me and achieve their ambitions and potential and I am very proud of all of them. If you develop people to become better than you, that’s how you’re going to grow your business,” he concludes.

Having trained and influenced many of today’s young leaders, managers and senior personnel, the positive influence Mr Zetter has had on the FM industry cannot be underestimated. The value of his efforts is impossible to configure and it is safe to say the FM sector would be very much the poorer without it.

INTERVIEW March 2024 | 57

New flexible working laws take effect from 6 April

Employers will need to take the new legislation for flexible working into account from the start of next month to ensure they comply with all the legal requirements

FLEXIBLE WORKING 58 | March 2024

Conversations about the benefits and impacts of hybrid working have dominated FM industry discussions for several years, emerging as a major topic when the Covid pandemic was recognised in the UK in March 2020 and continuing to the present day.

While this term has become widely accepted, it is only one facet of flexible working, which is recognised by the government and is additionally the subject of increasing levels of legislation because of this. The latest evidence in support of this will be seen from 6 April this year, when all employers will be subject to the updated Flexible Working legislation.

The government cites the description provided by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to explain flexible working, which includes the following examples: job sharing; remote working; hybrid working; part time; compressed hours; flexitime; annualised hours; staggered hours; predictable hours or set shift pattern; phased retirement.

From this date, all UK employers will be required to change the way they respond to requests for flexible working arrangements from their employees. The government clearly states that this the right of flexible working is open to everyone and not just parents and carers.

This right exists from the very first day of employment for all staff members, who can request changes to their contract concerning their working hours, times of work and location. They are legally allowed to make two requests within any 12-month period (rather than one request which is currently the case).

After receiving any request for flexible working, employers have to respond to this within two months, rather than the three months currently required. While employers do not have to accept each request, they are required to consult with those making these to explain their decision.

Requests can be rejected for any of eight business reasons:

extra costs that will damage the business

the work cannot be reorganised among other staff people cannot be recruited to do the work flexible working will affect quality and performance

the business will not be able to meet customer demand lack of work during the proposed working times the business is planning changes to the workforce.

Another change included within the 6 April update is that employees are no longer required to explain the effect their change of working structures will have on the business and how these can be overcome.

The government further explains that it has formed the Flexible Working Taskforce, which is collaborating with the Working Families charity to promote the Happy to Talk Flexible Working programme and logo for employers to use in their job adverts and recruitment.

After receiving any request for flexible working, employers have to respond to this within two months

Employers wishing to engage with these flexible working efforts are invites to click on the link to obtain more information and download the logo for use in recruitment strategies: Read the guidance and download the logo and strap line here

In addition to assisting companies to follow the correct procedures to flexible working requests before and after the 6 April deadline, there are further examples and additional advice on the benefits that these can bring to each company and its staff. Advice and support for employees is also included in the online information.

FLEXIBLE WORKING March 2024 | 59

Yet more advice and support is available from Jobcentre Plus in the form of advice and tailored solutions for employers at all stages of the recruitment process.

The government states that this ranges from a network of local employer advisers, who are trained to assist companies to find the right people for vacancies and also support the community. Jobcentre Plus will provide a named adviser help with job descriptions with the aim of speeding up the recruitment process, promoting vacancies in local Jobcentres and on social media, offering the use of Jobcentre Plus offices for interviews (where available) and local recruitment events, while also assisting the planning of future recruitment campaigns.

Advisers will work to explain the benefits of schemes including sector-based work academy programmes , which are designed to help create a skilled workforce for each business. This programme offers a flexible approach that is adapted to meet the needs of the company in question, says the government.

This is completed through the work experience employer guide , designed to assist and support young people in the building of marketable job skills.

It also offers work trials to help to ensure that potential employees are suited to working in the role and for the company offering the vacancy.

UK employers will be required to change the way they respond to requests for flexible working arrangements from their employees
FLEXIBLE WORKING 60 | March 2024

Jobcentre Plus further states that it additionally offers more support to employers that are committed to creating opportunities but require extra help to succeed in recruiting the best candidates for the role or roles in question.

Further advice and support is also available from the ACAS advice, conciliation and arbitration service provider, which works with both employers and staff members.

It covers all areas of flexible working and general employment, ranging from payment, annual and sick leave to employment contracts and discrimination and bullying in the workplace.

While the changes that come into effect from the 6 April will including important changes for employers to adapt to and for employees to recognise and put into practice, the government states that it has organised considerable levels of support to assist both parties to make the best of their flexible working arrangements in future.

It is important to recognise that these changes are designed to assist both parties to achieve the best outcomes and allow individuals to work in the best way for them and their employers to realise mutually beneficial results.

Possibly one of the best approaches to adopt to ensure this becomes a reality is to ensure that everyone involved in flexible working negotiations approaches these with the aim of creating the best solution for everyone involved. It is unlikely that a company is able to accept every request, but that does not mean that these should be rejected without further adjustment to employees’ contracts.

As along as both employees and their employers adopt a reasonable and considerate approach to these discussions, they should result in the best solution being agreed for the benefit of all stakeholders. The new legislation provides further evidence that the world of work has changed considerable since the emergence of the Covid pandemic and is likely to continue to adjust further in the months and years ahead.

Flexible Working Taskforce

The new legislation provides further evidence that the world of work has changed
FLEXIBLE WORKING March 2024 | 61

From fear to Utopia: A vision of AI’s positive potential

With each technological leap, our innate fear of change emerges. AI, the latest in a long line of disruptive breakthroughs, follows a pattern seen in history. The invention of the printing press sparked fears that religious teachings would be undermined, with condemnation of the new books as ‘the devil’s work’.

Today’s AI debate echoes this fear. The headlines from last year’s landmark Bletchley Park conference screamed about ‘killer robots’, and ‘existential threats to humanity’.

62 | March 2024
Even the invention of the telephone caused a moral panic that it would bring down society by removing the need for people to meet face-to-face.

However I’m hopeful the opposite is the case. AI has the power to do something quite profound and support the flourishing of humanity. Paradoxically freeing us from many of the bonds of the most recent wave of attention-sapping digital technology. So how do we get there?

The age of technology distraction

Perhaps the last few years have boosted the arguments of the technophobes. The advent of ‘social’ media having a negative impact on our social functioning and flourishing. The more digitally connected we are, the less real-world human contact we are experiencing.

So much technology is designed to capture our attention and keep us on a platform for as long as possible. To help these companies gather data and/or display advertising to drive their revenue for shareholders.

But it is vital for our wellbeing to spend time with each other, and crucial that we have time to think and dream without distraction to solve problems. After all, as Robert Waldinger writes about in The Good Life, humans evolved to be connected to other humans.

The decline of real time

This information loaded, hyper-connected world has left us with little time to just exist. Time to daydream, to contemplate, to think creatively and solve problems which are right in front of us. This is leading to reduced innovation, stress and burnout.

It is also making us feel isolated. A 2018 study by the University of Chicago found that people who use social media frequently are more likely to feel isolated and less satisfied with their lives.

While some fear that AI, as the next big technological breakthrough, may enslave us further, it also has the potential to help us reclaim our time and mental space as a species.

Dramatically improving productivity

At the most basic level, AI can automate and optimise low value, but high time intensity tasks, to free up time for real world experiences and reflection. The recent evidence indicates that AI can save employees an impressive amount of time.

One study on the impact of generative AI on highly skilled workers finds that when artificial intelligence is used within the boundary of its capabilities, it can improve a worker’s performance by as much as 40% compared with workers who don’t use it. This potential for productivity improvement would be unmatched since the Industrial revolution. This would bolster economic performance and provide people with more freedom and time.

Nurturing creativity and connection

Unlike social media platforms designed to distract you from other aspects of life, AI can be ‘additive’ to real life and connection. AI can help humans generate new ideas and explore possibilities by providing the accumulated knowledge of humanity at the click of a button. And that is worth noting.

AI is not something alien or somehow anti-human, it is in fact all of humanity’s knowledge, vectorised and summarised. This democratising technology enables us all to stand on the shoulder of giants to support new ideas, creativity and innovation.

Realising the Utopian promise of technology

Ultimately these gains could emancipate humans and offer the Utopian dream technology always was always supposed to offer. To reduce our working time, and spend more time doing the things that provide meaning and with the people we love.

Indeed despite fears, technological breakthroughs have often facilitated human creativity and interaction. The birth of the Arts was caused by the beginning of the Industrial revolution as we shifted from an agricultural society working round the clock to a 9-5 existence. This freed up the most precious commodity of all time.

With the additional hours in our day, we now had time to engage in passions and hobbies. This is the human flourishing we should be aiming for as AI develops.

The solution to humanity’s biggest challenges in sight

The promise of AI and humanity’s accumulated wisdom also means the biggest challenges we face could be within our grasp. Not as Elon Musk fears to support environmental extensionists but to manage humanity’s transition to net zero, discovering effective methods at scale for alleviating poverty and finally curing cancer.

Already there have been remarkable breakthroughs with groundbreaking artificial intelligence helping clinicians diagnose lung cancer quickly and accurately being rolled out in NHS hospitals. But we are only at the beginning of this journey.

What do we need to watch out for and how do we make it a reality?

Of course it would be naïve to suggest AI doesn’t require guardrails. There are five key areas that can help ensure we shape AI in a positive direction to help us realise these goals and minimise the risks.

Ethical guidelines and regulation

Guidelines and regulation can help to ensure AI is used ethically for good, not bad and that we are able to tackle rogue players.

While some fear that AI, as the next big technological breakthrough, may enslave us further, it also has the potential to help us reclaim our time and mental space as a species
March 2024 | 63

Navigating the ethical landscape of artificial intelligence involves grappling with the challenge of establishing universally agreedupon ethical guidelines and regulations.

Human-centric design

Looking into the heart of AI’s impact on humanity, the concept of human-centric design is a critical consideration. It addresses the fundamental question of the role of humans in the age of AI. If it is going to replace existing jobs, how is it going to otherwise benefit us and support our life or mental wellbeing?

Defining outcomes aligned with human values and creating a vision that preserves human-centric goals are pivotal. Of course these need to be balanced with the requirements of the planet.

Public education and awareness

The success of AI integration hinges on the public’s understanding and acceptance of its goals and outcomes. The journey toward widespread comprehension is fraught with challenges, as diverse perspectives may lead to resistance. Education and awareness thus become key elements in mitigating potential conflicts.

A tough prospect in today’s divided world. This divide is influenced by a failure to fully educate people on the impact of social media platforms on debate and discourse. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Economics and global collaboration

As AI’s capabilities render certain jobs obsolete and alter the landscape of work, reimagining economic structures becomes imperative.

The prospect of universal income and the potential reshaping of consumer-driven economies loom large. Addressing these challenges on a global scale is paramount, as attempting to change economic systems in isolation risks unintended consequences in an interconnected world.

As AI’s capabilities render certain jobs obsolete and alter the landscape of work, reimagining economic structures becomes imperative

Mental health and social well being

Beyond the economic and regulatory realms, the transformative power of AI extends to the very fabric of human existence. The societal shift needed to prioritise mental health and wellbeing aligns with the broader theme of human-centric AI. The newfound time afforded by AI will make us consider how we can fill our lives with meaningful activities.

While much of technology takes us away from our roots and nature, we now have the potential for increased interaction with nature. AI can offer the potential for holistic impact on mental health and social well-being, steering society towards a more balanced and fulfilling existence.

If we don’t fully appreciate and aim for these benefits how can we hope to bring the best from AI? Let’s ensure this next big leap in human technology helps create a better world through better health, stronger bonds between people and a life filled with dreams and innovation.

64 | March 2024

Latest appointments of senior FM professionals

FM Director will publish an overview of the industry’s latest senior new starters and details of their roles in each of its monthly publications

International infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has announced that Anne Drinkwater CBE, a nonexecutive director since December 2018, will succeed Dr Stephen Billingham as senior independent non-executive director when he steps down from the board following the 2024 AGM on 9 May 2024.

Ms Drinkwater will continue as chair of the Remuneration Committee and as a member of the Safety and Sustainability Committee.

Business management software provider

The Access Group has announced the appointment of Giulio Montemagno as managing director of its Access PaySuite division.

He takes over from Andrea Dunlop, who will stay with group and its PaySuite division as a non-executive director.

Commercial property consultancy service LSH has appointed Hayley Parker as a director within its growing Alternatives Valuation Team based in Birmingham.

She previously spent eight years at Christie & Co, specialising in trading valuations across the medical, leisure and care sectors for a range of purposes and clients including all the major lenders. Prior to Christie & Co, she spent time at Cushman & Wakefield and DTZ.

Leeds based facilities management and maintenance provider

Lonsdale Contracts has made a string of appointments as part of its ongoing expansion strategy.

Daniel Houghton joins as local authorities trades supervisor, working on projects such as wet room conversions, level access, rise and fall kitchen worktops and door widening.

Circular economy specialist Reconomy has announced that Diane Crowe has been promoted to the role of group sustainability director.

In this new role, she will be spearheading the company’s sustainability strategy to ensure compliance with increasingly demanding mandatory and voluntary sustainability and ESG frameworks. She will also be leading on the crucial delivery of a circularity model to demonstrate the company’s impact with customers and other stakeholders.

Meanwhile Daz Wall takes on the role of senior trades supervisor in the firm’s New Build Aftercare division which provides outsourced repair and maintenance services to a growing number of national and regional house builders.

Mark Statham, an experienced multitrade operative, will work on pension fund, buy to rent (BTR) and private rental sector (PRS) property portfolios and housing associations.

March 2024 | 65 MOVERS + SHAKERS

SwiftConnect and HID collaborate with British Land to bring fast and seamless office access using Apple Wallet

Harnessing digital automation technology to transform people’s experiences in its commercial buildings, British Land Company PLC, one of Europe’s largest listed real estate investment companies, has deployed connected access at its 100 Liverpool Street office building in the new 32-acre Broadgate neighbourhood in central London

Through a collaboration with HID and SwiftConnect, people can now use their employee badge in Apple Wallet for seamless access at this trophy building with their iPhones and Apple Watches.

Land’s mobile access rollout marks a significant shift by leading commercial buildings to empower people with self-service, on-demand access to more flexible and high-quality spaces.

Fiona Sawkill, Head of Digital Placemaking at British Land, commented: “Reshaping the way people access British Land buildings fits our vision of modernizing office spaces and providing the best experiences for our customers, employees, and visitors.

“Thanks to technology partnerships with SwiftConnect and HID, we are now able to deliver a seamless access experience, while strengthening our security and improving operational efficiency.”

ADVERTORIAL 66 | March 2024

Employees and tenants can add their employee badge to Apple Wallet after an initial set-up through the My Broadgate app, developed by Equiem. Using the My Broadgate app makes it easy for users to add their mobile credential to Apple Wallet without the need for additional app downloads.

Bronny Wilson, Regional Head of Europe for Equiem, explains, “By leveraging technology partnerships with SwiftConnect and HID, we are able to deliver seamless experiences while improving operational efficiency and sustainability for British Land.”

Once added to Apple Wallet, badges are provisioned using SwiftConnect AccessCloud, which brings together mobile platforms and enterprise systems that govern physical access.

SwiftConnect’s AccessCloud integrates with British Land’s access control system and HID Origo™, a cloud platform that enables lifecycle management of mobile credentials.

The solution also leverages HID SEOS® credential technology to deliver an intuitive, private and secure access transaction when a user presents their iPhone or Apple Watch to HID SIGNO® and iCLASS SE Readers.

“British Land is a great example of a real estate investment company combining the power of mobile and digitization with their strategy to streamline and differentiate their properties,” says James Kendall, European Regional Director at SwiftConnect.

“As we gain traction in Europe, North America and around the world, SwiftConnect remains focused on equipping building owners and enterprises with the capabilities and best practices necessary to provide an extraordinary experience to users while also maximising their investments in connected access.”

Spencer Marshall, Head of Europe for PACS at HID, adds, “Our commitment to innovation levels up mobile access capabilities to ensure that tenants and visitors enjoy a seamless and secure tapbased experience across all spaces. We are proud to partner with SwiftConnect and British Land, two companies at the forefront of redefining modern office spaces with best of breed technologies and unique approaches to PropTech.”

British Land is among a growing number of building owners that are not only focused on user experience, efficiency and security, but also sustainability. The green benefits of switching to HID-enabled SEOS mobile IDs, powered by the integrated SwiftConnect solution, include reduced waste, less use of plastic, lower energy consumption and higher efficiency for a more positive environmental impact.

For more information, visit

British Land is among a growing number of building owners that are not only focused on user experience, efficiency and security, but also sustainability
ADVERTORIAL March 2024 | 67

300 North is a team of Facilities Management (FM) recruitment experts who source permanent, temporary and fixed term contract solutions for the UK Facilities Management, Mechanical & Electrical and Construction sectors.

0113 336 5161

360 Sport Finance and Mentoring is dedicated to helping professional and semi-professional sporting clubs and venues with sustainable financial growth, including non-event day business.

01482 427360

A service provider for the future, Advance Facilities Solutions Ltd delivers complete building solutions to customers in the industrial, commercial, and domestic sectors.

01622 720 888


Specialist contractor Composites Construction UK operates throughout the UK and Europe. Using innovative methods, we carry out structural strengthening and repairs to concrete, timber, and masonry structures.

01482 425250


When it comes to pest control in London, Dyno-Pest understands how to handle your problems. We offer a simple solution, using the latest methods to deal with pests effectively and responsibly.

0800 802 1246


We create, maintain, and monitor healthy spaces –using pioneering online and apps-based technology. This includes working with suppliers and products in the marketplace to deliver long lasting and scientifically tested air and surface protection.

020 7096 1941


FASET is the established trade association and training body for the safety netting and temporary safety systems industry. We support members with guidance, training, and exclusive benefit schemes.

01948 780652


GIND UK delivers ambitious projects in challenging environments. Our London-based engineering and design team specialises in bespoke access system maintenance for the world’s most iconic buildings.

0800 448 8884


Integral Cradles Ltd. delivers permanent façade access solutions across the UK, specialising in high buildings with unique specifications and demands. A whole life-cycle solution.

0845 074 2758




68 | March 2024

For almost 30 years Julius Rutherfoord has been passionate about providing professional cleaning services to some of the most prestigious organisations in the London area.

020 7819 6700

Keytracker Ltd is the most prominent provider of both mechanical and electronic key and equipment control systems for the workplace. +44 (0)121 559 9000

Established over 70 years ago, KCS has rapidly grown from its roots as a respected local window cleaning business, to a nationwide commercial cleaning company.

01482 648 737


Launched in 2008 following the merger of two 50-year-old companies, Magicccote provides a range of expert commercial cleaning solutions to customers across the UK.

01482 211033


neutral carbon zone (NCZ) is a full-service platform that gives you the tools your company needs to make the transition to a carbon neutral business and beyond.

0845 094 5976


Pace Security is a London-based privately owned company managed by some of the UK security industries’ most experienced and respected security industry professionals. 0208 529 3888


PPSPower (PPS) is one of the industry’s largest and most respected providers of generator and UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) installation, maintenance and repair solutions. 0345 200 9888


Premier Technical Services Group Ltd (PTSG) is the UK’s leading provider of specialist services to the construction and facilities management sectors. +44 (0) 1977 668 771


Working with globally recognised organisations, we are specialists in creating Online Induction Systems, Turnkey and Bespoke Software Solutions, Websites, Mobile Apps and a lot more. 01724 376002




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With over a decade of experience in safety solutions for working at height, we are the ideal partner for solving your roof safety problems, and we pride ourselves on having the highest level of commitment to ensuring safety at work. 07889 572315

SAEMA has a long history in delivering the best training and guidance in the temporary and permanent suspended access industry. We are committed to advancing safety through raising the standards in best practice. 01948 838616


At Safety Inspection Solutions Ltd (SIS Ltd) we’ve been helping companies to stay legal for over ten years. Our qualified engineers provide fair, efficient, and flexible onsite inspection services, working closely with clients to understand their needs. 0800 6696 018

Seddon Management Services strives to offer the best solutions for trade associations to keep their members safe and compliant. 07854 226251

Safe Electric is an NICEIC-approved Electrical Contractor, serving Peterborough, Milton Keynes, and Cambridge. With 48 years of industry experience, our electricians and compliance experts can undertake any project. 01487 813 600

SLM can provide all types of waste management tailored to meet the customers’ requirements. We deal in all types of recycling; electrical, hazardous, clinical. Anything you need disposing of, SLM can help. 01304 775000

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As the UK’s leading provider of specialist services for buildings, Premier Technical Services Group Ltd (PTSG) exists to protect people, property and places.

We work closely with buildings and facilities managers in every industry sector to ensure their assets remain compliant and safe for their users.

PTSG Building Access Specialists Ltd reaches all areas of every kind of building, from sports stadia such as Celtic Park (pictured) to historic monuments – and every structure in between. If our specialists can’t clean, repair or maintain it, no one can.

Ask us about what we offer in all five of our independent business divisions.

01977 668771

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