A high profile, first generation service contract to provide FM and maintenance to prisons in England and Wales became an IWFM Awards finalist for the client-provider collaboration story behind it.
Here, three of the key figures explain their roles. For the full project story, read the March April 2021 edition of Facilitate.
”Moving to a first-generation outsourcing contract was always going to present a series of cultural challenges. Initially, no one wanted it. Everyone wanted to retain and keep it in-house. But I think everyone is now seeing the benefits of the close working but that's only because of the close working relationship that has been developed.
Bailes believes the systems now in place are robust enough to transcend changes in key personnel, something soon to be tested with PMG and HMPPS teams moving under MOJ management.
“The systems are there and basically underpin all the work we've done. I anticipate a smooth transition.”
“We’re looking to build on the statutory and mandatory compliance work we’ve done; we’ve learnt a lot of lessons from this first generation contract and there’s a lot of impetus into the second generation contract specifications. The work we’ve done has given senior management and ministers a lot more assurance.”
“It was the absence of a hard metric on the critically important issue of compliance that drove everybody to say, ‘you know what, we need to bring this together’.”
“What we are seeing is that the intervention requirement is reducing significantly.
“The ability to cope with both Brexit and COVID over the last year has also helped the client look at us and realise that what we’re collectively doing is sustainable; that we are not just fire fighting as we were before. The systems are working, and they can see and feel it. Our teams have worked incredibly hard to continue providing a successful service , and turned the challenges into an opportunity to improve our way of working.”
“Moving forward, you can sense that questions will no longer be about whether we’ve completed a particular PAT test, but more about how between us we improve the lives of the prisoners, about social value and working in the community.”
The root to collaboration between all parties was the clear shared interest in defining what good quality data looked like - and indeed its initial absence entirely.
“We couldn't have developed that data if we weren’t being really collaborative with the client.”
“The fundamental drivers for me for becoming more collaborative with the MOJ was the unique nature of the estate."
“If you consider operational up-time of security and safety systems as a compliance requirement, then it's a 24-7 operation in prisons for people living and working inside. It was a unique driver for the collaboration process, because we couldn’t just throw technology at it; we couldn’t easily get remote sensor or automation or redundancy of systems such as those you’d have in a high level data centre environment. So in order to plug that gap we developed this collaborative approach, defining the standards, getting the assurance from the reports and being really collaborative on how we manage risk issues.
”It's a question of treating compliance as a commodity in the same way we’d treat up-time in a data centre; it doesn't work unless you've got a collaborative environment because the unique nature of criticality of the estate is so fundamental.”