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BIFM financially sound for new chairman

01 July 2008

Taking over as chairman of the BIFM at the BIFM AGM this week, Iain Murray said that he was fully supportive of the Institute’s Medium Term Agenda, and he will be seeking closer links with Government to establish an All Party Group for Facilities Management

Murray takes the chairman’s role at a time when the Institute is in good financial shape. The Directors reported an operating surplus after interest, tax and development expenditure of £139,648 up from £97,483 in 2006. Reserves are £603,284 up from £463,636 in 2006.

Murray was elected chair of the BIFM in February 2008 from Deputy Chair, to which he was elected in 2006. He will be chairman for two years. He was formerly chairman of the Scotland Region of the BIFM for three years and the Scotland Region representative on the BIFM Council from 2004 before being elected BIFM Deputy Chair.

Commenting on his ambitions for his term of office, Murray express particular interest in developing entry level qualifications for FM. He said he was an example of “someone ‘on the tools’ who moved into FM.” He said it was “A priority to encourage young people of school age into FM, but at the moment there is no entry at this level, and little knowledge of the opportunities among careers advisors.”

The skills shortage in the FM sector will become acute, he said, if it is not addressed. He said that progress is happening in collaboration with other organisations such as Asset Skills but it is coming from a low base and therefore appears to be slow.

Commenting on the economic downturn, Murray said, “In an economic downturn, FM could benefit from people falling out of other businesses. Additionally, FM is well tuned to financial pressures where savings have to be made in client businesses to reduce overheads. We are well equipped as an industry to do this. We can also drive the sustainability agenda forward. FM needs to convince businesses that they need to take decisions based on sustainability. There is generally little resistance to this and progress is driven by clients who have to stand up to scrutiny on their sustainability.”

Among Murray’s first actions will be to set up a ‘Chairman’s blog’ on the BIFM website, where these and other issues can be discussed on-line with BIFM members.

Resident in Scotland, Murray frequently has business across the UK, Eire and Europe and anticipates that his BIFM commitments will fit neatly into this agenda. Nevertheless, he said he is investigating video conferencing in an addition to voice conferencing as an alternative to face to face meetings and to save time and carbon.

Press Release from BIFM:
Successful BIFM Members’ Day event and AGM

The BIFM welcomed over 100 members to the prestigious British Library Conference Centre at St Pancras, London this week for what proved to be an insightful and enjoyable event.

The Members’ Day event commenced with an introduction to the building by John de Lucy, Head of Estates and Facilities at the British Library. De Lucy described current plans for the expansion of the Library’s facilities and development of the St Pancras site as well as others in the UK.The Library was one of the first buildings to install a fully fledged wi-fi system and now offers a comfortable haven for those who need to work on the move.

Nick Parker from Bite Catering continued the day with a thought provoking talk on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in catering. Nick brought some clarity to what can be a confusing subject. He set out a three point plan for FMs to consider the effect of their catering on Planet, People and Profit. Nick gave some interesting facts on foodmiles and how sometimes, when billed as “local”, food can have travelled 17,000 miles in its preparation!

Nick Rudlin general manager at Leith’s at the British Library continued the theme, explaining their CSR policy in action. “The Last Word” café in the library’s piazza is one of London’s first carbon neutral cafés and Rudlin went on to highlight the CSR challenges of feeding two million people across the library site each year. Rudlin suggested that it is a journey which can really only start with small changes and build up. One idea discussed was the farm-to-fork initiative which suggests that making a small change is better than not making a change at all.

Next followed a “Food Quiz” where participants had fun in squeezing, smelling and prodding a unique array of fruit and vegetables from around the world. Some were unidentifiable – never having been seen before! The winners were pleased to receive vouchers for their choice of organic veg.

Coellie Hamlyn from Land Securities gave an interesting insight into their ‘sustainable lunch’ offering, where disposable cutlery, plates and cups were removed to reduce waste – and instead employees were given a set of personal cutlery, hessian bags and insulated cups, key to sustaining the business. Uniquely, food scraps used to feed the worms in the on-site wormery produces fertiliser for growing herbs on the roof terrace garden used in their executive dining.

Annual General Meeting
The formal AGM opened with outgoing BIFM Chairman Peter Cordy introducing Valerie Everitt, BIFM’s Director of Professional Standards & Education, who announced a number of successful BIFM examination candidates. These members were then presented with their certificates. The examinations are the most popular route towards BIFM Qualification and the dedicated candidates completed Part I or Part II whilst also holding down demanding jobs. Andre Collin and Kay Reid both received their BIFM Qualification. See list of candidates at end of release.

Peter Cordy gave a glowing report on the BIFM’s membership growth and the professional development of the Institute, illustrated by the recent achievement of ‘Awarding Body’ status by OfQual.

He ended his report by thanking all the BIFM members that helped raise almost £25,000 during his term for Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Chairman’s Charity, taking the total raised since 2005 to just under £48,000.
The formal business of the AGM included acceptance of the report of the Board and the 2007 audited accounts; re-appointment of the auditors and a special resolution amending the Institute’s bylaws. Appointments to Members’ Council were announced with David Emanuel re-elected as one of the individual representatives on Members' Council for a 2 year term; John Bowen re-elected as the Regional Representative on the Board for a 2 year term and Gordon Ludlow elected as the SIG Representative on the Board for a 2 year term.

The formal handover from Peter Cordy to Iain Murray then took place. Murray set out some of his goals for his term as chair, including developing closer direct links with government and continued development of entry level qualifications.Murray announced the new mission statement of the BIFM, adopted by the Board following consultation through Members’ Council. The new statement is:

“To advance the facilities management profession”

He vowed to be an “accessible” chair and will be writing a regular blog for the BIFM website. He also introduced the ‘new Chairman’s charities’: ‘Macmillan Cancer Support’ and ‘Dogs for the Disabled’.

The day ended with networking and a tour of the new St Pancras International Station, hosted by the Network Rail FM team.

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