With a fresh team in place at the top of BIFM Cathy Hayward speaks to the new chairman and his new deputies about their plans to increase membership of the institute and boost confidence across the facilities management profession
15 July 2010
It’s telling that when FM World asks new BIFM chair Ian Broadbent for an interview about his plans for his two-year tenure, he wants his two new deputy chairs – Stuart Harris and Ismena Clout – to take part. “My key priority as chair is to work very much as a team,” he says, speaking at the BIFM AGM last month, moments before he took over from immediate past chair Iain Murray. “We’re quite a young, vibrant trio here which is really good for the institute and hopefully will encourage more members to get involved too,” says Broadbent, who is the director of group property services at Hallmark Cards.
His comments are immediately echoed by Clout, relationship manager at PowerPerfector, who set up the BIFM’s Rising FMs special interest group and chaired it for several years before moving on to volunteer for the London region committee, which she now chairs. “I’ve done a lot of work encouraging people to be involved in the institute and I want to carry on doing that, getting new people onto committees, rising up the ranks and to get the FM name out there more,” she says.
Harris, manager of facilities and administration at Australian professional services firm WorleyParsons, has also done more than his fair share of volunteering within the institute, chairing the East region for several years as well as being one of the institute’s non-executive directors, a member of Members’ Council and helping to judge the BIFM awards. “To encourage people to get involved, you have to be passionate about the institute and the industry and demonstrate that to people. It’s about going out there and networking and making people understand what the industry is,” he says.
With their varied professional backgrounds (see below) every BIFM member will feel something in common with the new leadership team. They have all worked on both supply and client sides of the profession and in different vertical sectors. “This is a diverse industry and between the three of us we are representing the different facets of that profession,” says Harris.
If most institute members felt they knew the ebullient Iain Murray through his blogs and tweets, then they will feel positively at home with Broadbent, who wrote a fortnightly diary for FM World for more than two years – as well as winning the coveted BIFM FM of the Year award in 2006. “People say that they feel they know me already, they feel they grew up with me through the FM World column,” he says.
And they did. Broadbent, who has worked in the public sector at the Lancashire Fire Brigade and supply side at Coflex before joining Hallmark as a facilities manager back in 2001, has done not only almost every type of job in FM, but volunteered for the institute for many years. He has been North region chair, a member of the professional standards and education committee, the CPD working group and an examiner – and, as anyone who read his fortnightly columns will know, he’s also had his fair share of boys’ own adventures scaling peaks around the world and raising over £100,000 for charity in the process.
Which is something that will resonate well with Clout who is on track to also raise £10,000 for Breast Cancer Haven after suffering from the disease several years ago. Together with Harris, who spent time as a swimming assistant to disabled people before volunteering as a parent governor for his children’s school, the new BIFM volunteer leadership all have volunteering and community spirit very much at the heart of their ethos.
Education is a major focus for the team’s first year – which Broadbent acknowledges is probably no surprise bearing in mind his background as a BIFM examiner and a successful BIFM Qual. Harris too has completed Parts 1 and 2 of the BIFM Qual. With the BIFM launching its new levels 4 and 5 qualifications (as part of the Qualifications and Credit Framework) earlier this year, this attention comes at a good time. The institute is creating a geographically diverse network of recognised centres to deliver the new qualifications through a mixture of face-to-face tuition, evening class and distance or blended learning and Broadbent will play a key role as an ambassador for the new qualifications – and an example of what you can achieve by becoming more qualified.
A tough sell
Selling the benefits of qualifications – as well as the benefits of FM more widely – is a tough sell in difficult times, but Broadbent believes it’s all about confidence. “Confidence is a big thing and I think at times the FM profession isn’t as confident as it should be. I want to continue the good work that Iain has done and convince facilities managers of the benefits they bring to business. I don’t think business has ever needed facilities management as much as it needs it now.”
The real challenge is in the public sector and the planned cuts, he adds. “It is going to be challenging but FM has never been better placed to solve those challenges. I think it’s important whether it’s a single dip or a double dip or a whatever dip that as an institute we are able to adapt. To have a strategy and if things change within the first six months, then we adapt and restate the strategy.”
Harris concurs: “We’ve got to be smart as an industry – I believe we’ve got to review the market, look at smarter ways of doing business; whichever sector you work in, you can demonstrate not just cost savings but benefits. It’s not always about how you save money but about added value. You bring to an organisation and I believe we’re all passionate about that.”
For Clout, who is one of the industry’s best networkers, it’s all about getting out there, talking and sharing experiences. “Networking is one of the best things to do in a recession and the institute is a key source of that.”
CHAIR: Ian Broadbent
Lives: Near Otley West Yorkshire (but a proud Lancastrian) with his wife
Education: Worden High School, Leyland Lancashire; Newcastle College Company (Distance Learning); BIFM Part 1 and BIFM Part 2 with BIFM Qual awarded August 2001
September 2001-present Director of group property services, Hallmark Cards, responsible for FM, procurement, environment, risk management and training, originally facilities manager
2000-2001 Office services manager, Gillette UK
1998-2000 Change/facilities manager, Coflex
1990-1998 Office assistant working up to leading the FM team, Central Office of Information
1988-1990 clerical work, TSB
1987-1988 Training Scheme, estates and buildings department, Lancashire Fire Brigade
The best thing about being in FM: The challenge, the people, the impact we have on our businesses and being part of such a ‘can-do’ industry
DEPUTY CHAIR: Stuart Harris
Lives: Hatfield, Hertfordshire with his wife and two children
Education: Enfield Chase Secondary Boys School, Enfield, Middlesex, Waltham Forest Technical College, London Mechanical Engineering – City & Guilds Parts 1 and 2; Mechanical Engineering – BTec. ONC; Electrical Installation – City & Guilds Parts 1 and 2
Seeboard Training College, Kent: Electrical – HV, Generators & UPS Systems
British Safety Council, London – Certificate in Safety Management, completed in 2000.
Malpas Flexible Learning, London & Kent
BIFM Part 1 and BIFM Part 2, completed in 2002
2006-present Manager of facilities and administration at WorleyParsons Europe
1999-2006 General manager for corporate services and facilities at Cardiff Pinnacle
1997-1999 Facilities manager at Aqumen Services for 55 Crown and County Courts for the Lord Chancellor’s Department and various other Clients
1992-1997 Stores facilities manager at Salco / UMS for a region of Marks & Spencer’s stores
1990-1992 Senior maintenance supervisor and authorised electrician at Matthew Hall at JP Morgan & Broadgate Estates
1988-1990 Maintenance electrician at Haden Maintenance on various sites, in London
1981-1988 Apprentice mechanical / electrical engineer at F Bender
The best thing about being in FM: The diversity
DEPUTY CHAIR: Ismena Clout
Education: A-Levels Queens School Chester, Diploma in Management Birkbeck University,
Nebosh General Certificate, Executive PA diploma (Pitman)
2009-present relationship manager, PowerPerfector
2008-2009 property manager, Lend Lease: Voted one of the FM World Rising Stars of FM 2006
2006-2008 FM, HarperCollins
2004-2006 FM, Hat Trick
2002-2004 FM, iTouch communications
1999-2002 Office manager, Real Media
The best thing about being in FM: That the operational role has no two days the same, that the strategic side works with the core business strategy. That it’s a multi billion pound industry and a stand alone client side FM. That there are so many career opportunities available and now that the new qualification structure is in place there is no better time to be involved and join the industry.