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“I don’t understand the PFM Awards”

05 July 2019

The information provided below is intended to provide the FM industry with more understanding of the industry’s oldest awards initiative, which continues to include the highest standards of quality and integrity.

Throughout all areas of our professional and personal lives we have all come to realise the dangers associated with making assumptions, either through accepting the views of others without taking the necessary steps to ensure the accuracy of these, or by comparing the initiatives in question with others that are perceived to be similar.

Even though the PFM Awards are 26 years old, we continue to hear from those who do not understand the judging process, have not appreciated that the main focus is on partnership working, or believe that all sponsors are automatically assured of winning.

PFM is pleased to clarify that all entries are treated with the same high level of respect and consideration, regardless of any relation with the PFM Awards or any other aspects of the PFM brand.

The information below has been included to clarify the judging and procedures of the PFM Awards and those with further questions are invited to contact editor Dennis Flower at any time. We would also like to clarify that the statements and questions below are generalisations and should not be attributed to any individuals or companies.

“Our entry was the best but we didn’t win”

While everyone at PFM appreciates the passionate belief that many entrants have when entering the PFM Awards, the only people that decide who wins each category is the judges, who make that decision after visiting each finalist and their client and scoring them on long-established criteria. Each judging team additionally presents the findings of each visit to the entire judging team, where all the winners are decided, to ensure that the entry that shows the highest level of true partnership working is identified as the winner.

“Isn’t it true that if you don’t sponsor, you don’t win?”

The PFM Awards judging process is designed to be as fair as possible, providing each entry with the same level of opportunity. There are no representatives from sponsors on the judging panel and all judges are asked to declare any clash of interest when the judging teams and finalists are confirmed, so that another judge can take their place for the visit in question. PFM is also careful to ensure that no discussions are held with judges about who should win any category and, further to this, no information is shared with any judge on the topic of sponsors or those providing financial support to any aspects of the PFM brand to allow them to make unbiased decisions based entirely on their professional opinion.

“How could we lose to a smaller company?”

Possibly the best answer to this question comes from the well-known comment by author Mark Twain: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” The judging process is designed to show which entry has the best established working partnership, regardless of the type or size of the businesses involved. Each judge scores entries from an individual perspective on predetermined aspects of partnership working, to help them identify the winner of their category. In the event of the judging team of the category in question failing to agree which finalist should win, the discussion would be turned over to the entire PFM Awards judging panel to vote and allow the provision of an independent decision.

“No one told us what we needed to do”

Information on the PFM Awards categories, criteria and judging process is provided on and the PFM team is always happy to answer questions from any potential entrant. One of the most important aspects to understand is that both partners are able to be present on the day of the judges’ visit and willing and able to speak about all the achievements resulting from the partnership.

“We entered and didn’t win, so why should we enter next year?”

For those who have not entered the PFM Awards before, having to present to the judges can be seen as an intimidating experience. For this reason we advise all those considering entering the awards to log on to with the aim of taking on board all of the aspects of the awards, submission and judging process. Having been contacted by their judges after being confirmed as finalists, it is essential that service providers and their clients present their partnership in the best light throughout the subsequent visit, which typically involves a tour of the facility and the opportunity for judges to pose questions arising from any elements of the presentation. Feedback resulting from the judges’ visit is also provided and this is intended to identify areas where improvement could be incorporated and assist in shaping the presentation next year.

“We’ve won PFM Awards before, but not last year, what’s changed?”

The PFM Awards judging process has remained unchanged and although new judges join every year, they are always partnered with experienced judges to ensure that continuity is delivered. When this question is asked, we therefore ask the companies and individuals concerned to collaborate with PFM and all their colleagues, to ensure that everyone understands all the elements involved and what is required. One of the essential messages that everyone needs to understand is that everyone has to promote the achievements of the partnership and the benefits that this has, and will, continue to deliver.

While the above is a general overview of comments received in recent years, it is, of course, not exhaustive and everyone is invited to contact PFM for more information on the current and future elements of the PFM Awards. The aspect of collaboration is a vital element that pervades throughout the awards, which further emphasises the importance of working in collaboration in every area of our industry.

We have also published details of the PFM Awards 2019 judging panel, many of whom will be known throughout the industry and past, present and future entrants are invited to speak to those they know for independent and unbiased confirmation of the information included above.

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