Societal Impact:  Category previews

This award recognises exceptional benefit to society created and delivered through excellent facilities management practice.

Finalists in the Societal Impact category of the BIFM Awards 2016 are:

Emprise Services PLC with the British Library

Emprise_British_LibraryEmprise and the British Library’s partnership goes back to 2003, when it began providing daily cleaning services, window and exterior cleaning, waste management and hygiene services.

The British Library has two sites in St Pancras and Boston Spa. Visitor numbers exceed over 1.5 million per year including some 400,000 users of its reading rooms. Its treasures include the Magna Carta, Lindisfarne Gospels, Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook, The Times first edition from 18 March 1788, Beatles manuscripts and the recording of Nelson Mandela’s Rivonia trial speech.

Both organisations are committed to maximising the societal benefits of their activities.  Their purpose is to improve the quality of life for staff, to impact positively on the environment, community and wider society and to engage in ethical business models.  These objectives work alongside the collective aim to make the cleaning services as efficient and effective as possible.

For both organisations, it has been equally important to focus their efforts on projects that would continuously yield benefit – not only for their staff, but also for the neighbourhoods and communities they serve.  Their activities have ranged from those designed to make jobs more worthwhile to environmental impact and helping the disadvantaged in society.

Serco – Project SEARCH at Wishaw General Hospital

SERCPOProject SEARCH is a, worldwide, one year training course for people with a learning disability who are working towards finding a job.  The programme provided at Wishaw General Hospital (WGH) was the first one developed in Scotland and was designed to complement the work of North Lanarkshire Council’s Supported Employment Service.

Serco have worked in collaboration with NHS Lanarkshire and New College Lanarkshire since 2010, providing students with a series of 10-week rotations across a number of departments throughout the hospital.  In addition to mentoring and training duties, employees who volunteer to work with Project SEARCH students focus on building confidence, improving communication and interview skills as well as encouraging independence alongside Project SEARCH job coaches based within the hospital.

50% of the 47 Project SEARCH students that have graduated from Wishaw General Hospital since the start of the programme have successfully been placed in long-term, permanent employment with almost a third of these roles being provided by Serco.

Kris McLaughlin, who graduated from the programme in June this year, said of the programme:  “I would and do recommend Project SEARCH to others.  I particularly enjoy the variety of the work that we do in the hospital, although my favourite rotation so far has been in the mailroom.  It’s such a sociable role and my communication skills and confidence have really improved, so much so that I can now deliver mail around the hospital by myself, something I would never have imagined doing when I started the course last September.”

London Borough of Lambeth – working in Partnership with South London & Maudsley NHS Trust
(Carpet Care Team Project)

NHS_webIn 2011/12 London Borough of Lambeth commenced a tender for 6 Facilities management contracts. One of the aims of the procurement was to rid the Authority of the almost passive nature adopted by most local authorities and use this opportunity to gain better outcomes for the community.

One of the Contracts offered, Carpet Cleaning, was Sheltered under EU procurement rules, and tenders were restricted to 3rd sector providers. The Competitive dialogue procurement route that was adopted allowed Lambeth to talk through in detail with the private sector the best way to secure the wide range of community outcomes for the borough. This approach to tendering has since been adopted by other Local Authorities who have recognised the positive outcomes for achieving community and social benefits by adopting innovative procurement strategies.

The project offers vocational training to anyone who accesses any of Lambeth’s Mental Health Services. The scheme offers their members a platform where they can develop their social skills, gain work experience and is a great confidence builder. Participants are paid for the work they undertake and are supported by a team of staff employed by SLAM. The service also actively supports individuals with their vocational aspirations.

VINCI Facilities

VINCIFacilities_webIn 2013 the team at VINCI Facilities entered into a landmark, 10-year contract to provide Facilities Management services to Peabody’s housing estates across London, but it’s what happened next that really took our business to new heights.

In a milestone achievement for VINCI Facilities, they began the largest single social initiative ever undertaken in their business, investing £150,000 over three years into developing ‘Reading from the Start’ – an early intervention literacy programme designed to stop illiteracy (the root cause of poverty) in its tracks.  Fast-forward to 2016 and the programme, now in its second year, has already touched the lives of over 400 children and 320 parents across three Peabody boroughs (Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington).

Next year will see VINCI Facilities enter the third year of their three-year funding contract, with two new reading corners set to open in Westminster and a further one in Hammersmith and Fulham. Following that, a three-year contract of exclusivity will come to an end and other funders will be welcome to participate. Negotiations are underway currently for year four and beyond which will see about 2,000 children and 1,600 parents benefiting from the project by 2022.

From the Lead Judge, Martin Pickard 

MartinPickardThe Judges for the Societal Impact category will be seeking demonstrable evidence of exceptional benefit to society created and delivered through excellent facilities management practice over a sustained period. Entries should illustrate the very best of the contribution made by the profession to the fabric of society. This might include the well-being of individuals, the productivity of industry, the economic health of communities, or the quality of the natural environment. This is an opportunity for the facilities profession and industry to showcase the positive impact that excellent facilities management can have on societal change.



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