10 November 2016 | Martin Pickard
The BIFM Awards is an occasion that always inspires and excites me.
When I look at that glittering ballroom packed with 1,200 facilities professionals I reflect on our modest FM gatherings in the 1980s, when an event like that was beyond our wildest imaginations. It drives home just how big FM is and how far we have brought the profession.
This was my first year as a BIFM lead judge and I was delighted to be judging the Societal Impact category. The influence that great FM can have on communities and individuals is huge and I found the range of issues covered by the entrants provided a fascinating reminder of its reach and effect.
The winning entry was an impressive initiative tackling illiteracy in some of London's poorest areas. Vinci, working with their client, Peabody Housing Trust, the initiative has already touched the lives of 400 children and 320 parents, providing books and learning support in dedicated reading corners within community centres.
The scale and ambition of the project impressed us most. Illiteracy is a root cause of poverty, where poorly educated children become adults struggling with unemployment, and the cycle continues. The 'Reading from the Start' intervention is making a real difference and has been structured in a sustainable and effective model.
We saw other remarkable projects addressing a range of health, education, and employment issues where FM teams are influencing outcomes in positive, responsible and innovative ways. It is clear that businesses are getting better at supporting transformational change through CSR, although many struggle to effectively measure the social value they create.
The measuring of FM's impact on society requires a similar approach focusing on the chain of events that lead to an improvement in the well-being, inclusion or environment of communities and individuals.
Martin Pickard was lead judge for the Societal Impact category