Winner: University of Greenwich IFM Mobilisation, Sodexo, The University of Greenwich and Gardiner & Theobald LLP
What they did
In February of this year, just weeks before the imposition of lockdown, the University of Greenwich supported by consultants Gardiner & Theobald (G&T) awarded an integrated facilities management (IFM) contract to Sodexo.
The contract was to involve a fundamental change to the way FM is delivered across the University’s estate, involving more than 150 suppliers.
Only five weeks into a three-month mobilisation programme, COVID-19 forced the university into lockdown.
The IFM contract was due to go-live on 18 May 2020, requiring the mobilisation of more than 10 service lines and the transferring of almost 300 staff while maintaining essential services across three campuses without access to site. The perceived value that this new contract was set to unlock for staff, students and local communities meant a concerted effort was required by all parties to continue towards this deadline despite the challenges and unknowns ahead.
How they did it
The University, Sodexo and G&T worked collaboratively and flexibly to establish new ways of working to facilitate key mobilisation milestones without any template or prototype to rely on.
Activities involved included creating a mobilisation continuity plan that ran alongside the University’s business continuity plan; developing an interim IFM service scope to enable go-live under lockdown, prioritising the safety and wellbeing of FM staff and students while maintaining the security of the estate; establishing a phased re-commissioning plan in line with the government’s recovery strategy; and moving to virtual TUPE consultation, recruitment and training programmes to ensure that people were informed, engaged and welcomed to Sodexo.
As originally planned, the IFM contract went live on 18 May with all services and people transferring to Sodexo. A core onsite staff team worked over the final weekend to oversee the transition and the commencement of essential service delivery. 280 staff were transferred, 16 new starters commenced work, 4,000 risk assessments were completed and 800 helpdesk jobs logged.
As the government has gradually eased lockdown, a phased recommissioning of services and buildings has begun with operational FM staff returning from furlough in line with the University’s and Sodexo’s COVID-safe reopening plan. At the time of this submission, the team was continuing to work in partnership towards full services commencement in September to enable the safe return to campus for staff and students.
It was the more than 100 staff from the University, Sodexo and G&T, led by a core joint mobilisation team that made the impossible possible.
It shows how FM is more than a ‘support’ function, stepping out from the shadows to demonstrate its criticality in adding value to the University and workplace experience.