12 February 2014
How many TV shows about antiques can one country be reasonably expected to handle?
Plenty, it would seem. Where once the Antiques Roadshow ploughed a lonely furrow, today you have to work hard to avoid accidentally watching Cash In The Attic, Antiques Road Trip, Bargain Hunt, etc.
I'm not sure what this fascination with the past tells us about our present, but there's one thing that all these programmes tell us about future value - 'provenance', we're told, is key; solid proof of where something was originally sourced - and what's happened to it since - can add significantly to what people think it's worth.
In a sense, there are plenty of examples of provenance governing the practice of facilities management. Contract caterers sell their services on an ability to detail all aspects of their food's journey "from farm to fork"; the idea behind building information modelling is to show exactly what, when and where a particular element of a building's structure was first prescribed (and indeed what's subsequently happened to it); while for FM service providers and public sector clients, the recently introduced Social Value Act puts greater value on detailing where those who work in FM teams are, ahem, "sourced" - for instance through engagement with local community support groups to bring in apprentices.
Elsewhere in this edition you can read about how offering ex-offenders a route into work through the FM team can have a wider inspirational effect, as Ealing Council's Roger Amos testifies.
There's now a full qualifications structure in FM spanning Levels 1 to 7. Employers and service contractors can put more and more weight behind the educational backstory of their employees, and for some.
Of course, for many FMs the requirement is to plug existing skills gaps rather than show the breadth of their qualifications to date, and with this in mind it's good to hear news about the BIFM's FM Professional Standards Framework, designed to help individual facilities managers plan their professional development and identify areas where additional training is required.
The idea of the framework is that it will provide targets for both FMs and employers of FMs to measure themselves against. It will help both parties plan more detailed training activities for their specific circumstances. The BIFM is also promising some new tools to help individuals and businesses in their professional development programmes. BIFM CEO Gareth Tancred is quoted as saying that the framework represents "a landmark step for the facilities management profession", setting out "the professional standards that are required at each stage of an FM professional's career, from a support role through to a strategic role".
By defining the competencies required across the functional areas of facilities management, the framework, said Tancred, will be an indispensable guide for professionals and employers alike - and an important part of our work to develop the FM profession. "We must develop our professionals at all levels if we are to succeed and influence change both now and in the future," he said.
Anything that helps the wider facilities management profession to clearly detail the value of the people who practice it, at whatever stage they started on their FM journeys, has to be a good thing. It all adds to a sense of increasing professionalisation across the sector.
Martin Read is managing editor at FM World