Crown FM

Niall_McClreNiall McClure, MD of G4S Facilities Management’s Offshore Islands; and deputy chairman of the BIFM Channel Islands branch, describes the unique challenges of providing FM services for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

You might not be familiar with the term the Crown Dependencies, but you will be aware of the famed offshore islands described as the Bailiwick of Jersey, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Within the Bailiwick of Guernsey there are three separate jurisdictions: Guernsey (which includes the islands of Herm and Jethou); Alderney; and Sark (which includes the island of Brecqhou).

They all have a unique constitutional status, being independent of the UK, but self-governing dependencies of the Crown, with their own directly-elected legislative assemblies, administrative, fiscal and legal systems and courts of law.

With the Channel Islands situated around 75 miles off the south coast of England, just off the coast of France, and the Isle of Man equidistant from England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, these beautiful, popular tourist destinations present unique business – and facilities management – challenges.

The Crown Dependencies have much in common. All three have financial services as the mainstay of their economy and are considered some of the top worldwide offshore financial centres. Tourism is also a key contributor thanks to the islands’ naturally-beautiful landscapes, the history of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands and events such as the Isle of Man TT, one of the most demanding road races in the world, which attracts 40,000 visitors to the island every May.

There are however, subtle differences between the three Islands. While the Isle of Man is enjoying four decades of unbroken economic growth, the economy in Jersey is declining and it is flat in Guernsey. Despite that, their economic performance is impressive. Taking the three Crown Dependencies together, the population is around 250,000, the same as the English seaside town of Brighton. However they punch well above their weight with a combined GDP of almost £10 billion. Brighton’s is £6.39 billion.

In addition to a major financial services sector (HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and RBS are all based on the islands) several major corporates have a presence including the big four accountancy firms – KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). There are also a significant number of legal practices with bases on the islands to help support the financial services sector.

Other sectors that utilise FM services are the major retailers, including the Co-op, (which is a pan-Channel Islands society), Waitrose and Marks & Spencer’s. The manufacturing sector doesn’t have much of a presence on the Channel Islands, but the Isle of Man boasts a cluster of aerospace firms.

FM services are typically provided as part of a UK, EMEA or global facilities management deal with some of the major property and FM players. For example, Mitie has got the Lloyds contract, CBRE the RBS contract, JLL the HSBC contract and ISS the Barclays’ contract.

However, in practice most of these suppliers will sub-contract work on the Crown Dependencies to local players. With the exception of G4S Facilities Management (G4S FM) and Amalgamated FM, a private group of contractors, there are no other real resident FM players on the Islands.

As a result, many corporates operate an in-house facilities management model which draws on a number of suppliers to provide the services required. This reliance on multiple providers, coupled with varying levels of compliance due to a separate legislature system from the UK, means that the facilities management market in all three dependencies is fairly immature compared to the mainland.

As British Crown Dependencies, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are technically not part of the United Kingdom and are not members of the European Union (EU). However, the islands have a special relationship with the EU provided under Protocol 3 to the UK’s Treaty of Accession to the European Community and have negotiated special agreements allowing them to benefit from aspects such as free trade, and concessions such as not requiring work permits for EU citizens.

The islands’ legislatures make their own domestic legislation and UK legislation does not normally extend to the Crown Dependencies. The UK Ministry of Justice examines legislation from the Crown Dependencies to ensure in particular that there is no conflict with international obligations or any fundamental constitutional principles.

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