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13 November 2019
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Great expectations

When an organisation embarks on a procurement exercise for a new FM contract, among the hard work that lies ahead they will usually feel optimism and have great expectations, writes Roger Amos. 

Roger Amos
Roger Amos is director at Ayer Associates Limited

2 November 2015 

So what do we need to do? Well, we have to be realistic in terms of what we can expect to be delivered and for what price and that applies to everyone – contractors, consultants and clients. 

Like any other major programme or project, spending a bit of extra time planning is something that is all too often overlooked – after all, you wouldn’t build a house and return afterwards to put the foundations in. 

The planning isn’t just about the client team and its internal stakeholders having an early engagement, it also helps to seek the view of the market at an early stage through soft market testing and even meet the bidder sessions – all achievable within an EU procurement process. This not only enables a client to engage with the market at this crucial stage but also demonstrates to the market how seriously the client are taking their project. All that said, you can have a contract model that everyone is comfortable with and signed up to but there are other challenges – not least ensuring that a skilled workforce is in place.

The recent recession left its mark on the construction industry and apprenticeships and graduate opportunities were badly affected during that period which is contributing to the skills shortage we are seeing today. However difficult this is to solve we must learn lessons from the recent past and ensure we invest in our apprentices and graduates. The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 helps to mandate some of these things but also presents a commercial challenge.

Whilst the construction industry appears to be picking up again now, the public sector is still facing cuts and services such as FM are still prime targets for savings. This creates a big challenge for any provider in that they need to deliver ‘more for less’ and resource it well whilst competing against the more buoyant construction industry for labour.

Clients need to be realistic about what they can afford and ensure that their internal customers or stakeholders understand that. If that is not handled well then all that optimism can evaporate. Equally, lacking ambition is something that none of us want to see and finding that fine line between the two is very important. 

Roger Amos, formerly of Ealing Council, is director at Ayer Associates Limited