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A Plan for People

14 October 2009

To meet the demands of the re-procurement of the hard services contract at the British Library, FRL worked in partnership with Cofely Limited, to prepare its organistion and people for the bid and ultimate services delivery, as Jane Fenwick explains

THE BRITISH LIBRARY, Cofely Limited and Facilities Recruitment Limited (FRL) have worked in a close partnership to ensure that an unstable situation of transition from one contract to another was made into a positive business change process. This ensured that individuals who are responsible for the front line delivery of hard facilities services, are retained by the company, retained in the industry, understand the career development opportunities that exist on the project and, more importantly, how to continue the level of service provision required for the next 200 years.
The British Library is a world leading centre of excellence for the study and archiving of 150 million manuscripts and artefacts. In the middle of 2008, it undertook an exercise to re-procure the provision of its hard facilities services. The re-procurement exercise wanted to identify a partner that would bring an innovative, fresh and sustainable business change approach to working in partnership with The British Library.
As one of the bidders, Cofely approached FRL in June 2008 to assist it with ensuring its submission incorporated best practice human resource management. FRL is an experienced recruitment and human resource consultancy that has provided services to Cofely for several years. Cofely wanted to ensure that the individuals working at the Library had the correct competencies and skills required to achieve the business change and level of service provision expected by the client.
Cofely was successful in securing the partnership with the British Library. The contract is being managed in a completely different manner to the previous service provider. Cofely now has a high level of data relating to its human capital. It has recruited individuals that meet the needs and expectations of the Library and fully quantified the processes that FRL introduced. This is an ongoing project that has lead to a full career development programme for all of the facilities services personnel employed by Cofely on British Library sites.
The British Library occupies several sites in the UK, the principal ones being the sites at St Pancras and Boston Spa, Yorkshire. The site atdemanding in the UK. It has 76 plant rooms serving HVAC services to the public and staff areas, some 750 kilometres of shelving, a unique automated book handling system and 41 lifts.
The site at Boston Spa occupies a former armaments factory and is spread across 31 different buildings. The Library is working on a principle of the current facilities remaining in place and serving the nation for the next 200 years, therefore all facilities services are planned with a 200 year strategy .
The previous service provider had held the hard services contract for more than ten years and many of their staff having been TUPE transferred from the public sector. Some working practices had been deemed by the Library as being tired and needing a fresh approach by personnel. The People Plan created by FRL and Cofely was to ensure that all of the staff working on the site were engaged and motivated. (see panel below).
This People Plan was incorporated into the bid submission by Cofely, leading to their contract award in July 2008. The project went live on 1 October 2008. The FRL team was fully incorporated into the Cofely mobilisation team and they created a full mobilisation plan for the people element of the business change process.
A Manpower Plan was established based upon the optimum level of service provision by individuals. The service provision by each of the disciplines was developed leading to the creation of the job and person specifications. These incorporated the Competency Plan for the project. The competencies deemed essential to enable the successful business change are in the graph (left top).
By incorporating the best in breed from a wide variety of sources, the FRL team were able to create living job and person specifications which would not only enable the current job holders to ensure that they were recognised for the services they are providing, but also enable new employees to fully understand the complexities of each role before starting. These specifications are living documents, constantly being updated with amendments to routines, and they form the basis of the personal development plan for all members of staff.
Individuals originally employed on British Library sites, were invited to attend  personal development sessions where they met with professional FM advisors who conducted a structured interview and completed on line technical questionnaires as well as an online person personality profile questionnaire. This enabled the individual’s grade of competence to be evaluated.
Each discipline utilised on the project had the required competency levels established and an overall competency matrix for disciplines on the project was established (left). Having evaluated all current employees, the business change team were then able to establish where individuals could provide additional support within the overall Manpower Plan. All parties were provided with a review of the current capabilities of the on site team, including their technical capabilities.
Additionally, the business change team initiated an anonymous cultural survey, whereby all individuals members of the team providing services to The British Library were able to provide anonymous feedback on how they felt they were treated, with the questions designed to provide answers as to how the business change team could improve service delivery. This will be an ongoing survey with the inital answers providing a benchmark for improvement.
Each individual was provided with a Personal Development Report which gave feedback on their assessments as well as suggested a development plan.
The individual reports were issued to all personnel and everyone attended communication meetings to clarify the results and the business changes required.
The creation of the Competency Benchmark and the evaluations that followed have provided a structured approach to the provision of business change for a dynamic, innovative, sustainable hard facilities services to the British Library.
The on site team now has valuable information on the team dynamics. The change in the cultural survey has clearly illustrated the changes in the views of on site personnel. Employees who were previously stuck in particular roles have now been promoted into more senior positions, raising morale and illustrating the opportunities for career progression on the site. A full Training and Development Plan has been designed to ensure continual and sustained improvement on the site. Lead by the business goal, the training gaps identified encompass technical, behavioural, and cultural learning needs.

The People Plan
● Establish the optimum manpower level for the provision of the services.
● Identify the service provision required by each individual to ensure a partnership approach.
● Identify the skills and competencies required by each discipline identified in the man power plan.
● Create full job and person specifications for each of the disciplines in the plan incorporating the skills and competences required.
● Create a full competency plan and map for the project
● Assess the current staff providing services to establish their technical skills and practical competencies, achieved through face to face interviews and on line testing.
● Create a benchmark for the human capital on the project
● Assess the level of culture of the project from the existing personnel perspective.
● Provide full reports on each individual incorporating a personal development plan.
● Develop a competency matrix; establish and address how gaps in the man power plan could be rectified through the reallocation of personnel.- and recruitment.
● Ensure the personnel were developed to provide the services as expected.

Competency creation
✓ FM contract management ability
✓ Technical ability/understanding property/M&E
✓ Attention to detail & quality
✓ Communication skills
✓ Flexibility
✓ Leadership
✓ Innovation and improvement
✓ Learning motivation
✓ Planned and organised
✓ Problem solving
✓ Relationship building
✓ Customer service excellence
✓ Team spirit
✓ Environmental awareness
✓ Individual S.W.O.T

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