UK Integrated Facilities Management: lessons from experience

Date: 2015-11

“Our recent review of the facilities management industry (UK Integrated
Facilities Management: market insight) explored how it is steadily moving from
the provision of individual services by separate specialist providers working
under standalone contracts to multi-service and integrated facilities
management (IFM) deals where a single provider is responsible for a wide
range of services – which it either provides itself, via subcontractors or a hybrid
 This type of arrangement is now being widely advocated, by government,
advisors and leading IFM providers, as a way to enable the public sector to
meet spending reduction targets while maintaining, or even enhancing, levels
of public service provision.
 However, in carrying out research for our study, we picked up some evidence
that suggested some of the companies who had entered into such
arrangements were less than satisfied with how they have worked out in
practice. In some cases, this has included action or intention to bring elements
of FM activity back in-house when current contracts expire.

Given the importance of the issue – for both the private and public sectors –
we decided to explore satisfaction with IFM arrangements more deeply. In
particular, we wished to shed more light on the following questions:
– What do those who have (or have had) IFM arrangements say works well
and where they would like to see improvements?
– Do they expect to stay with the model? If so, is this because, on balance,
they prefer it, or because switching back is too difficult?
– Does their experience suggest the model is suitable to be rolled-out across
the public sector?

We carried out 15 in-depth confidential interviews with senior decision makers
who have experience of large multi-service or IFM outsourcing deals.
 Interviewees had a range of titles including Heads of Facilities Management,
FM Director, Finance Director, Procurement Director and General Manager
 The majority of the sample was drawn from the private sector, comprising
financial institutions, professional services firms and industry. However, it also
included two NHS trusts and a university.
 Service providers used included many of the leading groups, such as MITIE,
ISS, Balfour Beattie Workplace, Initial and OCS, as well as some smaller
providers who operate mainly outsourced models.
 Our aim was to have detailed exploratory discussions to identify and flesh out
issues rather than a large-scale quantitative survey approach to test specific
hypotheses. This approach produced powerful, and in some cases surprising,
findings regarding views and experiences of IFM clients but we would not claim
that it was a large enough sample to support quantitative findings. Charts
showing percentages or numbers of respondents are therefore presented for
 The discussions covered a range of issues including:
– how satisfied they are with the arrangements now they are underway
– whether the arrangements met objectives for cost reduction and service
– what has gone well and what could have gone better
– what they intend to do when their contracts expire
– what they see as realistic alternatives available to them and how they


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