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24 October 2018
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Join the Think Tank to have your opinion reflected here — 


5 June 2017 | FM World team


The nation is heading to the polling station. We asked: what manifesto pledges would the FM industry like to see make it into actual policy?

survey 1

Julie Kortens

Focus on low-paid workers 

Zero-hours contracts, raising the minimum wage and apprenticeships have been hot topics for years. But even though some might say that we shouldn’t focus on Brexit to the exclusion of all else, it has to be at the forefront of our thoughts.

We all know how dependent our industry is on a low-paid workforce comprised mainly of immigrants. People who have been here for years, working hard and forming invaluable parts of our teams deserve to have their rights guaranteed. I would extend this principle to all low-paid staff.

That is not to say that this is the only priority for FM. I think it would be great to assure people on zero-hours contracts that they will get a certain amount of work, and we certainly need to look at widening the apprenticeship levy.

These are all complex issues that will require time and effort to resolve. Then perhaps we can start looking at some of the other issues, such as implementing an annual review for the minimum wage and analysing the pay gaps between all people, not just ethnicities, though this can’t be the priority.  

Julie Kortens MD, Konnected People

survey 2

Julian Fris 

NHS needs bold and radical action 

The new government will need to take a serious look at infrastructure within its public services, especially the NHS. The recent cyber attack that impacted many hospitals and healthcare establishments was a good example of where a lack of focus on infrastructure investment, IT in this case, can really have damaging consequences.

The NHS estate needs urgent attention and the new government needs to make this an absolute priority. Not only are the long-term commercial interests of the government at stake but, more importantly, patient care is on the brink of collapse in some areas. 

Many buildings are in desperate need of maintenance and attention, and facilities will need to be improved and modernised to ensure the long-term sustainability of the estate.

Funding is just part of the solution. The NHS is fantastic and unique, but it is also very big and needs to be looked at from a macro perspective. There are too many competing priorities that make management and strategic planning very difficult. Given the backdrop of the economy – Brexit, labour issues – the government needs to make some bold and radical decisions about its future.

FM in this sector needs innovation and the consolidation of the marketplace does not help this. That’s why there needs to be greater consideration about how we can encourage movement and new players to enter the market.

Julian Fris, director, Neller Davies

Survey 3

Dave Wilson

Isolationism would spell disaster  

There are four critical issues. 

The industry needs free movement of EU citizens, both to maintain staffing in facilities service sectors, and to allow our skilled people – including consultants like me – to sell those skills into EU markets. An isolationist outcome will be disastrous.

At industry level, both FM providers and corporate occupiers need free market access across the EU and the EFTA countries. Without that our leading FM companies will find it almost impossible to expand or compete with their EU-based competitors, and their prospective clients will almost certainly start to cut the UK out of pan-European FM contracts because inclusion will be too complicated. 

We also need to retain as much relevant regulation as possible. This will not only protect our staff (the importance of which is not to be underestimated), but also maintain a level playing field in terms of regulation, licensing and finance. Although some people think a bonfire of regulation should follow our leaving the EU, in practice, if we don’t maintain compliance we will simply have no ability to work in European markets. 

Finally, we need to rebuild our economy. I’m not one of those who thinks our current economic position is healthy, and so I believe that an end to austerity, investment in infrastructure and real training, and a return to growth are key to the long-term success of the UK. This is fundamental, and especially so if our government makes such a mess of the negotiations that we end up with a bad or, worse still, no agreement on the terms of exit.  

Dave Wilson, IFMA fellow and a consultant in FM and support services

Survey 4

Lucy Jeynes

Employees deserve more compassion 

One of the manifesto pledges every party makes is to increase the amount of public sector spend going to SMEs. In fact this has remained pretty static, hovering just below 25 per cent, for about the past 15 years. Nothing any government does seems to make a meaningful impact. Achieving significant change in this area would have a major impact on the economy. 

We talk a lot in FM about productivity gains for businesses. The Stoddart Review shows some ways in which FM contributes to this – but there’s another easy win too. The number of days lost to mental health issues is the hot topic for health and safety. We need the next government to follow through the commitments it has made to increase access to and funding for mental health services, particularly for young people, so we can address problems when they first emerge. The typical waiting time for a teenager in crisis to get an appointment with their local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is six weeks to three months. You wouldn’t expect to wait that long for an ambulance, would you?

Finally, my plea is to complete the bill to make it compulsory for firms to grant a minimum amount of leave to bereaved parents. Typically, at the moment you’d be entitled to three days if your child died. You know that wouldn’t be enough. My 13-year-old nephew is dying, and the families of all those teenagers in Manchester were expected back at work the following Monday. Teresa May has made a commitment in principle to legislate for this but it’s not complete yet. Keep up the pressure with your MP. 

Lucy Jeynes, MD of Larch Consulting