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Tuned in to Partnering

11 January 2010

Within a rapidly changing media environment but with a reduced licence fee settlement, the BBC has, with its partner Balfour Beatty Workplace, transformed its facilities management operations and approach to win the Partners in FM – Corporate and Overall PFM Awards 2009

OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS, against a backdrop of rapid and fundamental change in the broadcasting industry, the BBC and Balfour Beatty Workplace organisations have built a genuine partnership that has steadily increased in its scope and grown in its depth of commitment. In the most recent chapter of this relationship a new team has been created by the transfer of BBC FM professionals to Balfour Beatty in order to deliver the strategic and tactical support essential to the Corporation's continued success.
Balfour Beatty Workplace (formerly Haden Building Management) has been working closely with the BBC delivering a range of critical support services for 15 years.
The BBC had been outsourcing non-core services for a number of years when in 1995
Balfour Beatty Workplace won the contract for Its London-based engineering services. By 2004, this relationship had grown substantially, with Balfour Beatty Workplace (BBW) taking responsibility for service delivery within the BBC English Regions under a seven-year contract for both hard and soft FM. In 2006 a property contract at the BBC meant that the BBC Property team moved towards a leaner structure for BBC Workplace.
The BBC had a number of different FM arrangements in place across the UK - and this underlined the growing desire to get to a rationalised and consistent approach in the delivery of FM services across the corporate portfolio. All this change came against a broader picture of change at the Corporation and in the broadcast industry generally. At the highest levels, the BBC was clear that traditional arrangements must align with the world in which the organisation would need to operate going forward. For the BBC Workplace Team, headed by Chris Kane, this required a fundamental shift in approach from providing the 'Best Workplace'; to the 'Right Workplace'.
Media change
For BBC Workplace, there was a requirement to support the needs of a business which found itself faced with a changing media environment and a reduced licence fee settlement. Among the issues to address were the funding gap, completion of the Corporate Property Plan, the reduction of the team's size and the move to portfolio-based property functions. For FM, this required a move away from the legacy regional arrangements towards a unified UK-wide approach for the delivery of FM.
A planned reduction in headcount for the BBC Workplace team was implemented via a ‘thin client’ model which saw increased integration with supplier teams and the promotion of joint processes, backed by common technology platforms to enable information sharing, effective decision-making and enhanced performance.
Thin client
The new contract for the outsourcing of FM in the London and Scottish Regions achieved in 2006 featured the formation of a new thin client internal FM team. There was then a need to bring the English Regions portfolio into line and a strategic review of options was undertaken in November 2007. A joint steering group was established
between BBC Workplace and BBW. BBW needed to refresh the relationship with the BBC and prove that it had not only changed its name but also its capability to offer new approaches and ideas. BBC Workplace needed to know they had a partner
able to help them align the English Regions with the new London and Scotland contract.
Ideas were developed around the following:
● Increasing the use of technology for security
● Providing additional service lines from within the Balfour Beatty Group for the BBC
● Having joint investment in a central knowledge centre
● Reviewing engineering maintenance based upon the real needs of the estate
● Moving to increased levels of BBW responsibility and service ownership
● Helping the BBC meet its objectives.
BBW embedded Neil Niblock from its Business Development team within BBC Workplace at White City in West London, to develop the close alignment between BBW and the BBC. Relationships were carefully mapped between the two organisations so that the right level of engagement was maintained between Directors and subject matter experts. The BBC in turn assigned a project team to support the process and ensure that there would be sufficient challenge on both existing service arrangements and those proposed for the future.
The review process culminated in an initial submission setting out the context of change, as well as the opportunities to add value to both organisations. A clear business case was developed, with savings and improvements identified in security, risk-based maintenance, catering – specifically nil subsidies, efficiency, technology deployment, risk transfer and comprehensive cover. From this there was agreement that the project team should continue to refine the proposals with a target implementation date of May 2008.
An embedded Project Office at the BBC, staffed by a joint BBW/BBC project team, dubbed 'Project Windsor', was used to establish the business case for varying the existing BBW contract to allow it to replicate a total FM model similar to the BBC
London and Scottish portfolios. The approach was truly 'open book'. Both teams shared similar goals and a strong desire to 'get it right'. This was formalised and given shape through joint change management workshops.
Initial proposals for the English Regions total FM were revisited and challenged several times by the new team. Proposals were also validated as they developed with BBC stakeholders in order to get their buy-in for the process. This rigorous process helped each side to get right 'under the skin' of the other and thus accurately define true
The service solution that emerged did so with complete buy-in from the BBC and BBW, and it satisfied the BBC’s internal financial governance requirements. It encompassed:
● Risk-based maintenance
● Agreed trade union terms for transfer of 80 BBC employees
● Investment in year one to help release savings through the contract life
● Equitable approach to the placement of any residual risks
● Guaranteed savings on service
● Guaranteed energy savings
● Maximum cost guarantees.
The most significant change was undoubtedly the development of a new culture within the combined team, built to provide ownership, responsibility, service and customer focus across all areas.
The critical stage of implementation was managed in a similar fashion to the two previous stages via strict governance terms, joint working teams, scheduled steering group meetings, regular reporting, and weekly reviews were carried out to monitor
progress and to jointly identify any risks to the timely delivery of the the target
‘go live’ date.
Up to July 2008, BBW employed 130 staff on the BBC account undertaking planned preventative and reactive maintenance for building fabric and M&E systems, as well as recycling, security, porters and mail with catering, cleaning and landscaping delivered by speciailist providers. From July 2008 the services requirements brought an increase of circa £3m per annum for BBW. BBW became the sole provider of all services on the English Regions estate providing management, compliance and complete helpdesk support. Some 80 BBCe mployees TUPE transferred to BBW increasing its dedicated client team to 210 with about 70 fulltime equivalents from the supply partners and group companies. There has been a net increase in self-delivery with catering, cleaning and security now directly provided by BBW in some locations.
The critical factors here were not just changes in service requirements and technology; the real challenge focused on people – building a single unified team focused on meeting the Corporation's needs going forward. The new team has delivered on training and mobilisation without service interruption. It has rolled-out of an industry-standard management information package improving productivity and compliance, reducing headcount by 10 management positions and five operatives through technology and structural changes. Other innovations included a bespoke maintenance regime for assets, a change to the BBW centralised Alarm Response Centre, and the introduction of self-funding catering services. The team has also delivered an agreed savings plan with a value of circa £1m covering catering, energy, engineering services, security and efficiency.
Technological improvements include electronic record-keeping via wireless pens to all mobile engineers, a web-based permit to work system remote monitoring of domestic hot water system water quality and a Maximo-based solution The shared ambition in the FM team is to enable the BBC to meet its aspirations of the thin client model by demonstrating that the team can provide a service culture and service standard that gives confidence in the FM sector's ability to move up the service value chain with all the control and ownership of an in-house team but with the backing and expertise that an external specialist can bring. This leaves the BBC Workplace team the freedom to perform their core role in supporting and enabling creativity within the BBC as a whole.
"The judges were impressed by how the small BBC team relies on Balfour Beatty Workplace to run the services throughout the region which they do very successfully."
"The judges said that what set this partnership apart from the others is the impressive enthusiasm demonstrated by both sides and how the BBC has relinquished the operational management of their buildings which is a major achievement in partnering."

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