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19 October 2018
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Events that are worth your time

5 May 2016 | Martin Read


This should go without saying, but in case you’re a BIFM member yet to avail yourselves of the many opportunities on offer, let me say this clearly and unequivocally: you really must get around to attending a BIFM regional group event. 


The mix of networking and knowledge sharing should be potent enough reason in itself, but there’s even more to it than that; these are events compiled, organised and promoted almost exclusively by volunteers – people who take time to craft events that are relevant, timely and useful. What you get when you attend is a real sense of a local FM practitioner community coming together for the collective benefit of all.


I recently spent the day with the South West regional group at its quarterly training day, themed around effective security planning and awareness. Of the many elements discussed, two related issues stuck out for me: the need to ensure that a culture of security is introduced, and the need to ensure said culture of security is subsequently maintained. A security culture? 


Here’s the definition: “The style, approach and values that any organisation needs to nurture and develop, amongst all it’s people, including customers and visitors, in order to create a security culture as part of an effective security regime.”


Chris Dickson is a former south-west regional manager for the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, and now a consultant for security consultancy Covenant. He was once part of UN peacekeeping operations and kept as a hostage, so I think you can safely say he’s walked the walk. Dickson explained how maintaining a security culture is “the hardest thing to control as an organisation”, but that such control is affects “your styles, approaches and values”.


A security culture is one in which all parties are invested and engaged. Security is everyone’s responsibility, so a security culture cannot be said to be in place if there are any people who take the attitude that security is not part of their job. 


So the value of a good security regime comes down to the enthusiasm of the people within an organisation to adhere to, and promote, their organisation’s security strategy and associated security plan. These are the kind of traits required of FM personnel more broadly, of course, and those frequently cited as valuable across all facilities service lines: An eye for detail, an awareness of compliance and an aptitude for getting stuck in to solve a potential problem.


As the South West Group security awareness training day progressed, speakers drilled down into the component parts of a well-balanced security plan, the ways in which threat levels can be identified and the specific threats to retail and local authority environments. I’ll be more than happy to write elsewhere about the issues they raised about identifying vulnerabilities or the concept of ‘credibility multipliers’, but the point of this particular column is for me to say this: in order to get the real value of all this material, you really have to be there, asking questions.


You’ll see a list of upcoming regional events on our diary page. If you’ve not been before, try one that suits - you’ll find they really are worth your time.


Martin Read is managing editor of FM World