Late last month, RICS in collaboration with IFMA released its first professional statement on procurement in facilities management. The announcement is a timely one, with attentions from both inside and outside the industry having been sharply focused on the ethics of outsourced providers since the collapse of Carillion in January. The aims of this statement are simple, IFMA and RICS ultimately want to “reduce risk, increase transparency, and further trust in procurement in facilities management”. All RICS regulated professionals will be obliged to follow the framework from the 1st October this year, but the two bodies add that it would be “…competitively beneficial for all property professionals involved in the procurement of FM services”.
FMJ polled some industry figures to get their opinion on the statement and what this means in practice for FM providers.
“This statement is a landmark moment for our industry,” said Antony Law, Managing Director of Churchill London and vice president of the IFMA UK chapter.
“Here we have a clear framework for all organisations, especially SME’s to tender for opportunities that might otherwise have been out of their reach and a set of straightforward guidelines for customers to procure the services they require.
“If we want to improve the general public’s trust in outsourcing’s ability to operate ethically, our industry must provide the tools for FMs to do so an in intuitive and easy to use fashion. The IFMA RICS professional statement will go a long way towards achieving this.”
Angela Love, director of Active FM comments: “For too long cost has been the only driver at the expense of both quality and service, with FM providers squeezed on cost to the point of not being able to deliver.”
“Procurement has a business obligation to find the best value solution, of course, but l believe it also has a moral obligation to ensure it is sustainable. Profit is an essential ingredient and many FMs will go open book to demonstrate the best value solution. Procurement must partner with their supply chain to find the sustainable sweet point for both client and FM provider.”
“While there are very few good things to come from the demise of Carillion, RICS’ professional statement is certainly one of them,” says Bob Taylor, UK CEO, OCS
“The magnitude of its demise has prompted the industry to assess its shortcomings and ask the questions that have too often been left out of the conversation. With this statement, we now have a real opportunity to tackle the issues that have persisted around procurement and regain the trust of those who have lost faith in outsourcing’s ability to deliver ethically. This of course is not to suggest that the buck stops solely with service providers. In fact, it’s impossible for one party to take unilateral action on this issue.
“We need to get the entire industry working collectively to ensure that the risks are dealt with correctly. This requires an unprecedented degree of collaboration between competitors, but it’s only by tackling aggressive procurement together that the industry will end up in a more sustainable position. This publication will go a long way towards helping that.”
“The Carillion collapse has been a wake-up call for the FM sector,” says Jo Sutherland, associate director of Magenta Associates and communications director of the IFMA UK chapter.
“The profit warnings issued since from other big players in the industry have only fuelled the conversation concerning ethics, transparency and the industry’s role in paving the way toward a more social, financial and environmentally sustainable future.
“There seems to be industry-wide intent to build trust, not just between the supply chain and client side, but also with the general public that so often see FM named and shamed in the press. It isn’t a question of ethics, as such – nobody’s going to disagree that the procurement of FM services should be as fair and ethical as possible.
“The real question is ‘how’ – and that’s what the recently published IFMA RICS Procurement Professional Statement addresses. Now, for the first time, there is a global set of guidelines that will enable suppliers and clients to work together collaboratively to develop a consistent, ethical, transparent way of procuring FM across the world.”