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A Winning Channel

15 January 2006

Telewest Broadband's open plan office at the Mailbox in Birmingham

The formation of a new organisation to deliver facilities services to a diverse national property portfolio has won Carillion Services and Telewest top honours at the PFM Awards 2005

The approach to providing facilities management services to broadband communications and media group, Telewest, was to establish a new service team ‘brand’ operating with a true partnering approach. This partnership won the Facilities Management category in the PFM Awards 2005 awarded last November, and the judges also proclaimed it the Overall Winner.

The PFM Awards judges observed, “The creation of one team under a new banner has worked very well and Telewest seemed very pleased with the quality of service. The speed of achieving a successful partnership was remarkable and we attribute this to the very professional and thorough approach implemented from day one.”

Telewest decided in 2002 to outsource its FM services. Carillion’s innovative proposal was to create the partnership model with Telewest called Service Channel to meet their brief and to enable Carillion to share the commercial risk with its partner in a collaborative partnership operated under a ‘one team’ approach.

Telewest, the broadband communications and media group, provides multi-channel television, telephone and internet services to 1.8 million residential customers. Its business division, Telewest Business, supplies broadband communications to the public and private sector markets while its content division, Flextech, owns six entertainment channels plus their time shifted varients and transactional channels. Flextech Television is also the BBC's partner in UKTV. Together they are the largest suppliers of basic channels to the UK pay television market.

The Telewest property portfolio supports this diverse business and encompasses a total of 170,000sq m of offices, warehouse, technical storage, car parks and other space including critical control centres. Service Channel has a five-year contract to provide a complete range of FM services for 148 Telewest locations stretching from Dundee to Plymouth. Some 370 staff transferred from Telewest to Carillion Services under TUPE to provide a full range of services including: desk
.....mailroom and vending
.....building security
.....waste management
.....building maintenance
.....pest control
.....internal plants
.....move management
.....refurbishment supplies
.....grounds maintenance & safety

From the outset the contract envisaged an ongoing development of services and establishing a consistently high level of service delivery maintained through a set of robust service level agreements. Cost reduction and control is also a key issue for Telewest and this is achieved through efficient service delivery, high levels of contract management and the simplification of working practices. A National Contact Centre for reporting building infrastructure problems and faults is provided via a centralised webinterfaced reporting and tracking system.

Key to Service Channel’s success in delivering first class FM services has been the collaborative partnership environment created. By creating a seamless Service Channel team as a single entity, it has enabled everyone within the Service Channel to be aware of problems and challenges and become involved in their resolution. Providing specialist knowledge and expertise in support are Carillion’s ‘product champions’ and ‘Centres of Excellence’ that also help in reviews and evaluations, procurement and delivery of services as well as ongoing training and delivery assessments.

Commenting on the success of Service Channel in the PFM Awards 2005, customer business director, Tom Robinson, said, “We are delighted to have won this Award which is a real recognition of the groundbreaking partnership we have with Telewest. The key to Service Channel’s success delivering premier FM services is the collaborative partnership environment created. The traditional client/contractor relationship has been replaced by one seamless team. This single entity means that teamwork must prevail with everyone aware of problems and challenges, and involved in their resolution. This is further assisted by risks being shared and subsequent savings achieved also being shared.”

Jason Peckmore, Telewest’s Director of Property and Facilities Management said, “This is a fantastic achievement and real recognition of the hard work put in by the team across the last 21/2 years.”

Relationship building
Another significant contributor to the success of Service Channel has been building relationships with customers – stakeholders and staff - at each Telewest location. This has been achieved through:

.....Structured matrix management - all premises have a single point of contact for overall management of FM services with backup from ‘product champions’ and ‘Centres and Excellence’

.....Stakeholder meetings with key staff at individual buildings to review FM services and delivery

.....Forum meetings - an opportunity for Telewest Broadband staff to have direct feedback on catering facilities, for example

.....Perception audits - regular studies with the end-users to gauge perception of Service Channel and its services, benchmarked against an audit undertaken before the contract started

.....Intranet - web-based OneCall service desk portal and automated workflow notifications through Outlook for tracking of reported requests and giving an opportunity for feedback.

The judges observed: “Service Channel has been instrumental in bringing a whole new professionalism to the delivery of facilities services at Telewest such as providing building by building data and health & safety compliance at all sites. The use of ‘product champions’ and ‘centres of excellence’ has helped to significantly improve the delivery of quality services. We were very impressed with the level of communication in all parts of Service Channel starting with an excellent intranet site, stakeholder meetings, perception audits and the use of a single point of contact for each building.”

Service Channel created an operational structure that is consistent across all the operating regions and which clearly identified key accountabilities and responsibilities within the different levels of management.

Several service improvements have been achieved so far:

Cleaning: Audits of standards have increased from an average 62 per cent at contract start to 92 per cent (October 2004), and annual cost savings of £180,000 achieved. Key improvements are the introduction of a standard delivery process using new staffing schedules and task cards; productivity rates increased up to 40 per cent.

Catering: introduction of new café, breakfast, grab-and-go ad deli menus, a new hospitality menu range, Weight Watchers food points campaign, chef ‘on stage’ and comment boxes for customer feedback.

Health & safety: Statutory compliance on all sites with relevant health & safety regulations resulting in Service Channel receiving an international Safety Awards 2004 from the British Safety Council.

Call centre: Carillion’s National Contact Centre is used for Telewest’s Facilities Help Desk and this has supported development of more formal task escalation, classification and closure processes coupled with improved recording of online task status information. The combination of technology and trained operatives enabled the team as a whole to move to a proactive rather than reactive role resulting in improved efficiency. The overdue task total was reduced significantly over the first six months of the contract.

Courier and delivery services: following a review, resulted in re-procurement that extended not only across Telewest Broadband but also Carillion itself.

To conclude, the PFM Awards judges said: “The new business model brings the two companies together under a new banner and this has contributed significantly to the success of this partnership as well as producing predictability and transparency in service levels and costs. This is quite an achievement as Telewest was going through its own restructuring at the time to bring 16 cable companies into one. When a facilities partnership grows into a larger collaborative business partnership where the two companies jointly bid for new work covering the built environment and technology, they have certainly succeeded.”

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