Today: November 30, 2015, 9:42 pm

United Kingdom integrated facilities management market: New market research published
UK Integrated Facilities Management: Lessons from Experience - a new market research report on 2014-03-13 09:17:01
Our recent review of the facilities management industry (UK Integrated Facilities Management: market insight) explored how it is steadily moving from the provision of individual services by separate specialist providers working under standalone contracts to multi-service and integrated facilities management (IFM) deals where a single provider is responsible for a wide range of services - which it either provides itself, via subcontractors or a hybrid model.

This type of arrangement is now being widely advocated, by government, advisors and leading IFM providers, as a way to enable the public sector to meet spending reduction targets while maintaining, or even enhancing, levels of public service provision.

However, in carrying out research for our study, we picked up some evidence that suggested some of the companies who had entered into such arrangements were less than satisfied with how they have worked out in practice. In some cases, this has included action or intention to bring elements of FM activity back in-house when current contracts expire.

Given the importance of the issue - for both the private and public sectors - we decided to explore satisfaction with IFM arrangements more deeply. In particular, we wished to shed more light on the following questions:

- What do those who have (or have had) IFM arrangements say works well and where they would like to see improvements?
- Do they expect to stay with the model? If so, is this because, on balance, they prefer it, or because switching back is too difficult?
- Does their experience suggest the model is suitable to be rolled-out across the public sector?

We carried out 15 in-depth confidential interviews with senior decision makers who have experience of large multi-service or IFM outsourcing deals.

Interviewees had a range of titles including Heads of Facilities Management, FM Director, Finance Director, Procurement Director and General Manager The majority of the sample was drawn from the private sector, comprising financial institutions, professional services firms and industry. However, it also included two NHS trusts and a university.

Service providers used included many of the leading groups, such as MITIE, ISS, Balfour Beattie Workplace, Initial and OCS, as well as some smaller providers who operate mainly outsourced models.

Our aim was to have detailed exploratory discussions to identify and flesh out issues rather than a large-scale quantitative survey approach to test specific hypotheses. This approach produced powerful, and in some cases surprising, findings regarding views and experiences of IFM clients but we would not claim that it was a large enough sample to support quantitative findings. Charts showing percentages or numbers of respondents are therefore presented for illustration.

The discussions covered a range of issues including:

- how satisfied they are with the arrangements now they are underway
- whether the arrangements met objectives for cost reduction and service quality
- what has gone well and what could have gone better
- what they intend to do when their contracts expire
- what they see as realistic alternatives available to them and how they compare

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Mike King
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