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The social value of facilities management

Blog from Rory Murphy, Commercial Director, VINCI Facilities

Much has been spoken throughout this year about the value of FM and our relentless drive to demonstrate the importance of our profession not just in terms of cost reduction but more importantly in value add.

Do we look at value in a truly sustainable way when we talk about FM though? Do we emphasise the value across the Economic, Social and Environmental aspects when we make our case or do we get too fixated on the Economic elements to the exception of both of the others?

The economic case for FM currently resides in the productivity arena as well as our ability to deliver and support wider business objectives with our understanding of the strategic imperatives of the customers we support. The environmental sphere has us debating and supporting energy initiatives and the ability of facilities management professionals to maximise the use of scarce resources whilst limiting waste and minimising the environmental impacts of the services we provide.

It is in the Social Value arena, however, where we have an even greater story and our ability to influence and drive Social Value should never be underestimated in this push to find our voice.

This month will see the launch of the latest series of case studies from the RICS which I have been fortunate enough to be involved with and they focus very clearly on the Social Value that can be driven from our FM activities.

The Social Value act back in 2012 certainly raised the profile of the value inherent in the services we provide and required ‘all public bodies in England and Wales to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area’.

The greatest value we undoubtedly create in FM is access to employment, and once employed we look to develop, nurture and grow our employees and therefore deliver significant value to the communities within which we operate.

Combining this knowledge of employment benefits with a drive for increased diversity and inclusion that is truly reflective of the communities within which we work places FM in a unique position. The case studies produced by the RICS demonstrate how FM is well advanced in delivering initiatives to employ previously difficult to reach groups or sections of our communities that may have been underrepresented historically within the workplace.

The challenge always with Social Value is to ensure you are able to adequately and credibly demonstrate the value that has been created. The very best examples of social value generation have been meticulously planned and thought through from inception to completion and will have consulted widely with various stakeholders to clearly demonstrate the improvements achieved.

The various access to work schemes for armed service leavers, school leavers, the hard to reach or ex-offenders will all understand the individual’s original situation and will be clearly able to map the value generated by the access to employment and development opportunities that FM can present.

Social Value initiatives may not only be focussed on those that are ready for employment, working with socially responsible organisations there are fantastic examples of pre-school interventions, literacy schemes, early stage employment experiences that all contribute to future betterment for the communities in which we work.

Delivering Social Value and being socially responsible cuts right to the ethical heart of FM. We need to continue to embrace Diversity & Inclusion within our employment practises whilst being alive to fair payment practises and the inherent risks of modern slavery that may exist in certain sectors of our market.

We appear to constantly struggle within FM to demonstrate our value to UK PLC but in the Social Value sphere our impact is undoubted, we offer an absolute world of employment opportunity to all parts of our communities and we are a sector of the economy that prides itself on its ability to develop and grow its own talent.

The long-term sustainability of our economy will always require a careful balancing of the Economic, Environmental and Social spheres and we are perfectly placed to influence all three…

We just need the confidence to shout about it.


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