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Everyone’s a winner

Author : Tim Fryer

11 April 2012

Now entering my second cycle of the PFM Awards, I remain hugely impressed at what they achieve. Here, with the help of the expert judges, I explain some of the reasons why.

Unlike other awards, the PFM Awards are not about winning. Winning helps of course, but the taking part in the process has real value for every participant, whether they be entrant, judge or sponsor. Even the magazine and its readers gain hugely. Reporting on the entries makes great copy that often demonstrates best practice.

So while many are thinking of preparing their entries (closing date is 31st May, click here for full entry details) I thought it timely to catch up with the judges to get their thoughts about the Awards and how to put together a winning entry!

Maybe the best starting point is to establish what role the PFM Partnership Awards play in the FM sector.

Long-term PFM Awards judge Les Gorman commented: “The awards highlight partnerships which actually deliver innovative and effective FM services in a wide range of industry and commercial sectors, private and public. Innovative and successful solutions should be showcased and celebrated and the Awards provide an outlet to do this, highlighting best practice to wider UK industry. The follow up case study articles in P&FM magazine allow others to learn from the winning entries. The positive publicity is used by Award winners to spread the gospel, to embed these innovative solutions to other parts of their business and drives their competitors to strive to catch up.”

Les Pyle, Chief Executive of PSL, has seen a fundamental shift in the quality of entries: “In my 10 years as a judge I have seen a steady improvement in the quality of the submissions that I have been involved with. With three submissions to judge for each category, what started out with one good one, one average one and one waste of time has now become increasingly difficult to differentiate between three submissions of an equally high standard. This is in part a credit to the PFM process which has raised FM provider’s awareness of the impact on their business of success in the PFM awards process causing them to focus on the key judging criteria.”

All the judges regarded the initial awards entry as important for the short-listing process, Simon Grinter describes a good entry as a ‘concise application which addresses all the judging criteria in a systematic way. Joanna Lloyd Davis was more specific: “Clear information, detailing parties including customers, reasons for the service – why the clients need it, the engagement process, why the party was chosen i.e. their USP, the results to date, planned progression and goals etc – all clear without any anomalies. All parties must be part of the entry.”

However, the real proof of the pudding came in the judges visits. So what makes a good one? “The judges enjoy being able to see the partnership in practice and not just a power point presentation by chatting to many of the persons who are at the sharp end both receiving and giving a service,” said Alistair Edie. “The judges can identify where stooges have been planted!”

“This process allows the judges to explore behind the façade and ask searching questions of both parties to the submission – client and provider,” added Les Pyle. “This distinguishes the PFM process from other approaches based on written submissions where there is a danger of it being style over substance. Hence the preferred approach is to establish a relaxed interactive discussion where the formal presentation is merely the framework allowing the judges to roam wherever the issues dictate. In my experience the more people and the more levels of each hierarchy met from both client and provider the better the insight into the real business position.”

Equally there are times when the judges visit goes badly. “Sadly, last year there was an outstanding entry but the client didn’t turn up on the day of the interview – the location of the interview was also changed at the last minute from the client’s venue to a hotel nearby,” commented Joanna Lloyd-Davies. “It was a waste of time. All parties must buy-in fully to these entries. We were not able to progress the entry.”

David Tinkler pointed out that it is important throughout the awards process to keep individuality and that the Awards would lose their appeal and value if they were reduced to a ‘tick box process’, so any guidance list should be open to customisation. However, here are a few pointers:

? Partnership and innovation are both overused words – make sure you can demonstrate both
? Innovation should show ‘positive change’ in second/third generation outsourcing
? Make sure there are as many people from all aspects of the ‘partnership’ available to talk to the judges
? Avoid the ‘sales pitch’
? Put forward, and make available to the judges, at least one candidate for the ‘Team Member Award’
? Novel and use of technology/delivery of service which achieves high levels of customer satisfaction and/or commercial return
? A cup of tea for the judges!

Expert Judges in 2011

Stephen Harrup, FM Governance Ltd

Phil Rickett, F&P Solutions

Les Pyle, PSL (Partnership Sourcing Limited)

Alistair Edie, Metropolitan Police

John de Lucy, Senior Facilities Consultant

David Tinkler, Consultant

Paul Roche, Grosvenor Britain and Ireland

Joanna Lloyd-Davies FBIFM, JLD Consultants Limited -

Les O’Gorman, UCB

Simon Grinter, Greater London Authority

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