The Fencing Contractors Association (FCA) is on a mission to re-engage fully with members and adopt their priorities as its mission guide. That’s the mandate on which incoming chairman Adam Binns believes he has been elected since taking office for his two-year term at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on 25 February.
The AGM ratified the appointment of Administration Services Ltd (ASL) – who tabled a report at the meeting on its survey of all 150 members – to replace retiring general secretary Wendy Baker as the FCA’s administration specialist.
In advance of the AGM, Baker said: “After almost 18 years’ service, it will be my pleasure to have the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to the members whom I have been extremely proud to represent during my tenure.”
Adam Binns commented: “The ASL survey gives us an honest and independent insight on what we’re doing at the moment and on what is valued by members so that we can move the FCA forward and really start to deliver what they say is important to them. We’ve cut our running costs by a third, so there’s more money freed up to promote the FCA and its Certified Contractors Scheme.”
The Binns Fencing managing director, along with his FCA vice chairman Nick Dybeck (a director of HW Martin), now lead a “rejuvenated Council” which met on 21 April to review strategy and plot a plan for the future.
Promoting the security fencing industry
Rob Oliver of ASL stated: “What came through loud and clear from the survey is that members are very keen for the FCA to continue to promote the fencing industry as professional and for the FCA itself to be the badge of quality within it. Furthermore, given the size and scale of the industry, we ought to be able to grow membership from our current figure of 150.”
Oliver said that other member priorities include training and its promotion, especially given the national focus on apprenticeships and the fact that the industry now has a Trailblazer apprenticeship standard in development.
Members also want better communications, with regular newsletters, e-mails and briefings, more events and reasons to join forces and collaborate on matters of common interest. There’s also a stated desire for the FCA to be the ‘go to’ for guidance and business help with appropriate helplines and experts.
Oliver explained to Risk UK that ASL is looking at how much each of the Helplines is used and will table proposals very soon on which to enhance and which to shelve and how best to harness the expertise in the Council and beyond.
Delivering real value
Adam Binns concluded: “The bottom line is that we have to deliver real value and a reason to belong to the FCA if we’re to grow and strengthen our membership and the services we offer. We’re open to talking to other associations such as the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association (PSSA) and the European Fencing Industry Association (EFIA) to pool resources and strengthen our offer if that’s what works for our industry as a whole.”
The ASL team of Oliver, Robert Osborne and Kim Fitzpatrick boasts many years’ experience of working for Trade Associations, mostly in the construction sector and including the PSSA, which is widely acknowledged as having some overlap with the FCA.
The FCA was established in 1942 to help the buying of timber and other fencing materials to support the war effort. It has four specialist sub-groups: the Association of Safety Fencing Contractors, the Environmental Noise Barrier Association, the Electrical Security Fence Federation and the Gate Automation and Access Barrier Association.