Tag Archives: FM

Acuity provides Front of House services for Antares Underwriting

Acuity, the Axis Group’s Front of House division, is providing professional reception and meeting room management services at the London headquarters of Antares Underwriting, an independent Managing Agent at Lloyd’s.

Antares Underwriting moved its head office to 21 Lime Street last year and now occupies seven floors of the 32,000 sq ft development adjacent to Leadenhall Market. Acuity provides a reception manager, a receptionist and a Business Lounge manager to manage the meeting areas on the top floor business suite.

Antares outsourced its reception duties prior to the move to its new headquarters. Issues with significant levels of absenteeism from its previous team of directly employed receptionists led head of FM Nigel Cole to look for a better alternative.

“Our reliance on agency staff was disruptive, expensive and didn’t provide our internal and external customers with a Best in Class service,” explained Cole. “We wanted a reception team who could truly support our underwriters and help present an extremely professional face to visitors and callers.”

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Cole chose to outsource and invited discussions with some of the larger providers, but formed the impression he would have to fit into step with how they operated. “Then we spoke with Acuity,” explained Cole, “who seemed to be very focused on delivering a professional service that was tailored to our needs, rather than simply giving us what they could provide.”

Greater insight gained

Working with Antares ahead of the move gave Acuity a greater insight into how the reception, meeting rooms and Business Lounge could best be managed. This included creating visitor journeys to ensure that visitors are seamlessly looked after.

“It’s imperative to use the space we have as best as we can,” continued Cole. “Acuity helped us do that with the Business Lounge. Our Business Lounge manager co-ordinates all the meeting room bookings, receives visitors and also sets up and breaks down meeting rooms to ensure that they are ready for any internal or external guests.”

The Acuity team have all been recruited in collaboration with Cole and his team to ensure the right fit with the business. They wear high quality uniforms and are given regular training to provide them with the skills to deliver a world-class reception service.

All cover staff are trained on site to minimise disruption and maintain consistency of the professional service the team provides. Indeed, Cole commented: “Having a reserve of fully-trained substitute staff already familiar with our business, ready to come in for planned and unplanned absences, is an absolutely key benefit to our business.”

Outperforming the ‘traditional’ approach

Neil Ames, director for Acuity, believes that the company’s outsourced service outperforms the ‘traditional’ approach to directly employing reception personnel. “We know that we can save businesses money by reducing the spend on temporary cover but, through our selection process and professional training, we can also ensure that businesses experience all the benefits of having high-end, five-star reception services with the support of our head office team. Antares Underwriting is proving to be the perfect example of this.”

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Cole agrees that the level of professionalism has increased significantly since working with Acuity. “We now have the five-star service that we expect and a team that takes pride in what it does. The handover from night officers to the reception – and vice-versa – is now much easier without the challenge of absenteeism, while the integration between the two teams is very helpful for the smooth operation of the building.”

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Telefonica UK Property and ISS choose Ideagen’s Enlighten system to manage governance, risk and compliance

Telefonica UK, a leading digital and communications company, and ISS, the global facilities management service provider, are set to work with software firm Ideagen on improving governance, risk and compliance operations across the O2 estate.

Ideagen Enlighten, Ideagen’s cloud-based GRC application, is to be implemented and rolled out to bring several operational improvements to Telefonica UK’s Property department. The software will provide one source of truth for the management of controlled documentation, improve visibility of audit scheduling and automate action management and escalation. Enlighten will also enhance levels of reporting and increase accessibility for Telefonica’s mobile workforce.

Darren Bryanton, Telefonica’s national FM operations manager, said: “We regularly participate in audits to assist Telefonica UK in retaining an impressive portfolio of certifications and standards which are essential in demonstrating world class service to our customers. Enlighten will manage audits and document control for the department.”

Suzanne Burge, ISS’ quality and assurance manager, added: “After a thorough review of the market, we selected Enlighten due its scalability, accessibility and ease of use. We wanted a product that we could design ourselves to fit the needs of the business, not just now but also in the future.”

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Tim Blackburne, ISS’ account director, explained: “Telefonica UK’s high standards of operational compliance and audit success rely on clear governance, audit readiness and document management. Ideagen Enlighten gives us this.”

Andrew Neish, Telefonica’s head of property, commented: “Both Ideagen and Telefonica UK share the same vision of how innovation can drive improvement in business. This opportunity to provide a game-changing and transformational system is one that we’re very excited about.”

Ideagen is a supplier of information management software with operations in the UK, the United States and the Middle East. The company specialises in eGRC (Enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance) and healthcare solutions for organisations operating within highly regulated industries.

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Mitie retains integrated facilities management contract with RWE npower

Mitie, the FTSE 250-listed facilities management company, has extended its relationship with leading energy concern RWE npower.

The renewed multi-million pound contract – which has been signed for a three-year term with a further potential two-year extension period – will see Mitie continue to provide integrated facilities management (FM) services across RWE npower’s UK estate comprising office buildings and power stations.

Mitie provides a number of services for RWE npower including security, cleaning, waste management, reprographics, space planning, mechanical and electrical maintenance, pest control, Post Room management and drink and snack vending.

The FM provider has been working with RWE npower since 1998 and currently employs 300 people on the contract.

Phil Holland, managing director of Mitie’s Integrated FM business, commented: “We’re delighted to be extending our relationship with RWE npower and are passionate about delivering a first-class FM service for the client. Our role is to be RWE npower’s long-term strategic workplace partner, adding value beyond day-to-day operations and introducing technology that makes our service more efficient and effective.”

Julian Pugh, head of real estate and workplace at RWE npower, added: “We’re excited about the continued partnership with Mitie. The new agreement offers us a number of innovative tools to help manage the contract and, importantly, identifies many new opportunities allowing us to deliver a more effective and efficient FM service for our business across what is a complex estate.”

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Servest Group launches dedicated Future Leader Programme

Facilities management solutions provider Servest Group has launched a development programme specifically designed to progress the careers of high-performing team members and attract the brightest graduates into the organisation.

Under the scheme, which begins in March next year, four graduates and four existing employees will embark on a two-year programme which includes time spent in each of Servest’s main divisions: Security, Building Maintenance, Catering, Cleaning and Central Services (such as Human Resources, Finance and Sales and Marketing).

In addition to learning practical skills in these areas, the participants will study management skills and be backed up by way of the Institute of Leadership and Management’s qualification in leadership (which will be run internally).

At the end of the programme, participants will join the most relevant division in a management role or look to study further qualifications if they wish to join functions such as Finance.

“The scheme demonstrates our commitment both to attracting the best people into FM and also developing our own talented team members to ensure a leadership pipeline,” said Rob Legge, Group CEO for the UK and Europe at Servest. “Both qualifications and experience are important in FM and, by bringing existing team members and new graduates into the scheme, we’re absolutely reflecting that need.”

Rob Legge: CEO for the UK and Europe at Servest Group

Rob Legge: CEO for the UK and Europe at Servest Group

The Future Leader Programme will be marketed internally, on national job boards, through social media and at universities near to Servest’s main office locations in Bury St Edmunds, Birmingham, Leeds, Hertfordshire and London.

Candidates need to demonstrate leadership potential, have top-notch communication skills and “be a good fit for the fast-paced, entrepreneurial culture” of Servest.

Graduates must have at least a 2:1, but their degree specialism doesn’t have to be in a relevant discipline.

The recruitment process will involve an initial application, telephone interview and profiling with a selected few being invited to an Assessment Centre.

Transparent and innovative partnership approach

Servest Group employs more than 16,000 people over 6,000 sites across the UK, with the company priding itself on a transparent and innovative partnership approach.

The organisation self-delivers value-for-money bespoke solutions to clients in the retail, leisure, public, commercial, construction, transport and logistics sectors.

Servest is 73% owned by Servest South Africa with the remainder of the business owned by the UK management team.

The company takes an active role in the facilities management community as members of – among others – the British Institute of Facilities Management, the Facilities Management Association and the Confederation of British Industry.

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MITIE awarded three-year contract extension with world-renowned Durham University

MITIE Group plc – the FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing company – has extended its relationship with Durham University for the next three years in a contract renewal worth £5 million.

The contract will see MITIE continue to provide integrated facilities management for the higher education institute at its main Durham campus in addition to the Queen Campus in Thornaby.

A team of 100 people will be responsible for delivering a comprehensive range of services including Total Security Management, cleaning, landscaping and pest control.

The contract award builds on MITIE’s expertise in the education sector where the company already works with a number of prestigious establishments including Queen Mary University and Oxford Brookes.

MITIE Group plc has renewed its FM contract with Durham University

MITIE Group plc has renewed its FM contract with Durham University

Phil Holland, managing director for MITIE’s Integrated Facilities Management business, said: “We’re delighted to be extending our relationship with Durham University. In the past four years we’ve been committed to transforming FM services and have continued to add value through altering work routines, providing supportive management to the facilities teams and acting as a trusted advisor for the client, in turn offering expert advice and recommendations on service delivery.”

Holland added: “We’re now looking forward to further developing a tailored FM strategy and providing the highest quality of services for the university’s students, staff, visitors and guests alike.”

MITIE Group plc was originally awarded the contract at Durham University in 2010.

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‘A Manifesto for Professional Security’: The Security Institute’s ‘Vision of The Future’

On Tuesday 18 November at The Churchill War Rooms in central London, The Security Institute launched ‘A Manifesto for Professional Security’. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Emma Shaw CSyP, the Institute’s chairman, who duly outlined the organisation’s vision for making professional security more effective: a profession that’s recognised and respected for the immense value it delivers to society, to organisations in both the public and private sector and, indeed, individual members of the public.

Everything The Security Institute has done over the first 15 years of its existence has been building up to this point. We would like to think that our new document entitled: ‘Recognised, Respected and Professional: A Manifesto for Professional Security’ carries on the tradition of The Security Institute’s founding members. Back in 1999, those founding members were willing to seek change and courageous enough to do their utmost in a bold bid to realise that change.

This is the point at which I feel our professional body comes of age. The point at which we are mature enough to profess that we can only achieve our ambitions for this profession not by pursuing our own agenda or through acting as a member association with a narrow focus on member interests but instead by recognising that the first duty of a professional body is to serve the profession itself and all of its many and varied stakeholders.

We understand that, across the sector, there are valuable relationships currently being used for narrow benefit that could be developed to serve the greater good.

First and foremost, this new Manifesto is about collaboration. It sets out a vision and a series of initiatives that encourage working together to achieve key outcomes. In working to bring about those defined outcomes, all organisations within the sector would maintain full autonomy and retain their own individual identity and traditions while at the same time striving to achieve for the good of all.

Emma Shaw CSyP: chairman of The Security Institute

Emma Shaw CSyP: chairman of The Security Institute

A Manifesto for Professional Security: The Background

Undoubtedly, these are times of immense and rapid change for the security profession and all of its practitioners. The nature of the security threat is changing. Accessible information technologies, global networks, diversification of threats and disruptive technologies will all create risks for the public, for society and for businesses in equal measure. These complex threats require complex solutions and, in turn, this will demand far greater collaboration and co-operation from – and between – those responsible for the security of assets as well as the host organisations representing them.

We also need to remember that it’s not only security professionals who are our stakeholders. Ultimately, the end user of all our services is the general public and The Security Institute feels that not enough has been done to include that public in our thinking as a profession.

There’s a need for greater understanding of what the public perceives as threats, which tend towards the local and short term rather than the international and longer term focus of the Government’s National Security Strategy. Through its professional bodies, the security profession must strive to build bridges with the public it seeks to protect. It is the members of the public who are our primary stakeholders.

Following on from this, security also must engage more actively with its user stakeholders in a bid to demystify its practices and make its own case for wider recognition as a force for good in society. On an individual level, security must strive to promote a clear understanding and appreciation of the things the security profession does on a daily basis to maintain stakeholder well-being.

At a time when security is becoming ever more ubiquitous and might be perceived by some as overbearing, we absolutely cannot afford to let the public lose faith in the professionals who work tirelessly to manage and mitigate the risks it faces and, in so doing, keep members of the public safe.

In the pursuit of greater degrees of security, it must be said that a fine line exists between protecting members of the public and infringing their civil liberties. Here, the security profession has the opportunity to be a reassuring and independent presence between the public and the legislature. We can offer a reliable information channel.

Taking this argument a stage further, the security profession has to encourage an ongoing debate around the moral basis of security. It’s also fair to say that ethical challenges will frequently arise as technology empowers the profession to gather, analyse and use data about citizens.

The Security Institute has launched 'A Manifesto for Professional Security'

The Security Institute has launched ‘A Manifesto for Professional Security’

The security profession must evolve

The Institute feels strongly that the security profession must evolve in line with the changing nature of risks and equip practitioners to cope with those risks in order to enable them to meet the challenges facing society at large. Technology is one of the key drivers of change, and the security profession – and its cohort – needs to demonstrate the technical and intellectual skills that enable effective working within this environment.

New tools can help transform the sector. For example, big data analytics might be made into working tools, enabling complex data to be turned into smart data and allowing data analysis on a massive scale that quickly provides deeper insights while creating new types of services for host organisations.

We should also consider the make-up of the security profession. Security is still widely viewed as a second career for those coming out of the military or the police service. We need to encourage young people to enter the security world as a first-choice profession after leaving school or university.

Greater and closer co-operation between stakeholder organisations is essential if we are all to fulfil our individual organisational obligations to the profession.

What, then, are the reasons why things we would all agree need to be done are not being done? First, it’s apparent to many of us that ‘Security’ simply doesn’t speak the language of business or the public effectively and so doesn’t participate in the conversations that frequently set the agenda.

Second, one of the strengths of the security sector is the engagement of its members and the vibrant groups, associations and institutes they establish – but this is also its weakness. The security sector is fragmented and lacking in clear leadership.

We also believe that the nature of the relationship between the profession and the public should change. ‘Security’ needs to develop a relationship with the public whereby the users are the ones demanding the services rather than having services they haven’t asked for imposed upon them.

Returning once more to the key theme of collaboration and co-operation, The Security Institute feels there’s an overriding need for a true and sustaining partnership between the security profession, businesses and institutions and the general public.

The Front Cover of the new 'Manifesto for Professional Security'

The Front Cover of the new ‘Manifesto for Professional Security’

Setting aside parochial interests

The Manifesto asks a number of things of various stakeholders within this profession and those who have influence over it. However diverse, large or small they may be, we call upon all of the professional bodies in this industry to set aside any parochial interests and join with us in working independently and in parallel for the benefit of our profession, our industry and our society.

We call on educational bodies and awarding bodies to join with the professional bodies and examine the future development of structured learning programmes designed to up-skill the security workforce.

We call upon key commercial organisations to work with the professional bodies and provide the funding and support that some of these initiatives will entail.

We call upon Parliament and its many agencies to establish an enabling, meaningful and ongoing dialogue with the profession to ensure it develops in a manner that’s entirely consistent with the needs of Government and society.

To achieve this, the Manifesto proposes a number of initiatives that we – the professional bodies and member associations in the security sector – can establish through working together.

We encourage thoughtful and dynamic collaboration between groups, businesses and individuals. We believe we should establish a Security Commonwealth wherein all organisations come together on an equal basis, retaining their full individual autonomy while working collectively on the development of common approaches to joint challenges

We propose that we should work collaboratively with all willing groups and individuals within the industry to set up a Security Information Service. This will afford the public general advice via a website – ideally sponsored by the industry and, possibly, Government – on all aspects of personal, domestic, travel and cyber security. This can be used to steer public opinion in a favourable direction.

The Security Information Service will share information on how professional security succeeds at major events, such as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as well as on a day-to-day basis in peoples’ lives, for instance when they’re at the shops or using public transport. We will celebrate the achievements of those working for the public and support measures to address the abuse and misuse of security.

We wish to work together to improve and heighten the profile of the sector. The Security Institute encourages collaboration with universities and education providers, schools and university careers services and employers. We want to establish clear career paths that demonstrate progress from first entering the profession to roles in the top strata via specialist and generalist positions, technical and business roles.

Put simply, we need to show security to be the challenging, intellectually stimulating, exciting and public-serving discipline that it most certainly is. We can do this through the medium of a Security Careers Advisory Service.

The Foreword is written by Lord Carlile of Berriew, The Security Institute's president

The Foreword is written by Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC, The Security Institute’s president

Common position on professionalism

We want to work together on developing and sharing a common position on professionalism within our industry. Our joint aim should be the UK becoming the exemplar model that the world can copy. We can create a Working Group, entitled Security Outreach, and target this outreach to opinion formers, politicians and management organisations such as the CBI and the Institute of Directors. We can increase awareness through the Human Resources profession, the purchasing and supply function and Facilities Management, all of which are key enablers in our area.

We act together to promote The Gold Standard created by The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals, that of the Chartered Security Professional. We act in unison with other industry bodies to create a common point of view and voice that we will use to approach Government with clearly thought-out suggestions designed to encourage and influence the development of a Government White Paper on the future of the security profession. Security Outreach will play a key role in this process.

To ensure that our voice is heard we propose the creation of a Joint Security Associations’ Lobbying Group that would speak on behalf of all the associations – and through them – when representing the profession and its members.

There’s full recognition that this is an ambitious manifesto and requires all stakeholders in the security sector – the associations, the trade bodies, members of the press and individual members – to come together and work effectively for the good of the security profession.

Let’s recognise that we have a great deal in common and that, first and foremost, all bodies in the sector were established to support the members of this profession. There’s much we can and will continue to offer as individual associations, but let’s be brave enough to recognise that there will be many occasions when, if we are to be truly effective, the fact is we are better together, speaking with one voice and promoting a common viewpoint with the weight of our individual organisations firmly behind us.

We recognise that our ambition for the development of the profession is beyond the ability and resources of any one group, organisation or professional association within the sector. We realise that there are many perspectives on the future of the security profession and the broader sector, and that there are informed voices outside of our organisation who can claim thought leadership.

Strong contribution to the sector

We have no wish to necessarily lead these initiatives but undertake to work tirelessly to get them off the ground and to give them our full and continuing support as a willing participant. Indeed, so determined are we to make them a reality that we’re ready to contemplate a future in which The Security Institute itself may cease to exist in its present form and would possibly be subsumed within a larger, more representative grouping that carries greater authority through its universality.

As a professional body, The Security Institute is rightly proud of its journey over the past 15 years. The organisation has made a strong contribution to the sector. However, if this Manifesto meets with an enthusiastic response from other organisations, and we’re able to use its contents in bringing greater cohesion to the profession at large, then this will be our finest achievement to date.

Winston Churchill once famously stated: “I never worry about action, but only inaction.” Together, we have an opportunity before us to start something that’s truly great. Let’s not allow that opportunity to be brought to a halt through inaction. Work with The Security Institute to make it so.

*Read ‘Recognised, Respected and Professional: A Manifesto for Professional Security

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MITIE Group plc reports “strong core business performance” in half-yearly financials

In its half-yearly financial report for the six-month period ending 30 September 2014, MITIE Group plc has posted a headline revenue growth1 of 4.8% (of which 3.9% was organic) and operating profits up 3.0% (2.2% organic) while the operating profit margin remains strong at 5.9%.

The company reports a headline cash conversion of 80.3%2 (2013: 106.7%) and a statutory cash conversion of 128.6% (2013: 116.3%) above target KPI of 80%. Net debt as at 30 September 2014 is £233.8 million or 1.5x headline EBITDA3 (2013: £221.8 million, 1.5x headline EBITDA).

There has been “strong growth” of both headline basic EPS and dividend, which are up 5.1% and 6.1% respectively.

Strong organic growth in the Facilities Management business

• Sector-leading organic FM revenue growth of 6.3% and contract retention rate above 90%
• Rated as the top overall service provider* in the UK FM industry for the second year running
• Successful in retaining integrated FM contract with Vodafone for a further five years. Contract valued at £250 million
• Awarded a range of new FM contracts including those with Royal Cornwall Hospitals (valued at £90 million over seven years) and Heathrow Airport (valued at £40 million over three years)
• Successfully mobilised contract with the Home Office to run two immigration centres at Heathrow. Contract valued at £180 million over eight years
• Property Management division will enjoy a more buoyant second half supported by planned project works
• Challenging first half for the Healthcare division but confidence remains in terms of the long-term growth prospects in this market

Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE: CEO at MITIE Group plc

Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE: CEO at MITIE Group plc

Exit from loss-making businesses complete this financial year

MITIE Group plc’s exit from its Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Construction business will be complete in this financial year. Losses of £6.9 million were incurred in this period. MITIE expects this to range between £11 million and £15 million for the full year (FY2014: £13.6 million).

The company has assessed all remaining risk on the design and build contracts left in its Asset Management business. Exceptional charges of £45.7 million were incurred (FY2014: £25.4 million) which cover all balance sheet exposures and all material expected future costs. Beyond these amounts, MITIE Group plc expects no further exceptional charges from either of these businesses.

Well positioned for the longer term

MITIE Group plc’s order book “remains healthy” and now stands at £8.5 billion (March 2014: £8.7 billion). 98% of 2014-2015 budgeted revenue has been secured (prior year: 99%) in addition to 72% of the 2015-2016 forecast revenue (prior year: 74%).

The bid pipeline has grown by 20% to £9.8 billion (March 2014: £8.2 billion). Continued investment is being made in the bidding, strategic sales and operational management capability across the group.

The company affirms that a “robust balance sheet and strong financial position” will support growth.

Commenting on the latest set of financials at MITIE Group plc, Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE – the company’s CEO – explained: “We have delivered a strong performance in our FM business during the first half of the year, and we expect to gain further positive momentum through the remainder of 2014. We have significantly de-risked our group by finalising the exit from our loss-making businesses. We’re now focused on investing in and maximising the long-term growth potential of our FM, Property Management and Healthcare businesses.”

McGregor-Smith concluded: “Our order book and sales pipeline are substantial. We’re in a good position to deliver growth and look ahead with confidence.”

References

1Headline results exclude other items. Other items comprise exceptional charges in relation to design and build contracts in Energy Solutions of £45.7 million (2013: £nil), acquisition-related and integration costs of £0.6 million (2013: £2.6 million) and the amortisation of acquisition-related intangible assets of £5.1 million (2013: £5.6 million). They also include the results of the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Construction business, with revenue of £3.8 million (2013: £41.2 million) and a trading loss of £6.9 million (2013: £4.3 million loss).
2Headline cash conversion calculated on a rolling 12-month basis (excludes the cash effect of other items)
312-month rolling EBITDA
*i-FM Brand Survey

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