Annual State of the NHSScotland Assets and Facilities Report for 2012

A review of asset and facilities management performance in NHSScotland, identifying the current state of the estate and facilities management, highlighting areas of best practice and areas for improvement.

Annex H

Strategic Review of Soft Facilities Management Services

Facilities management is the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities. Facilities management encompasses multi-disciplinary activities within the built environment and the management of their impact upon people and the workplace.

Effective facilities management, combining resources and activities, is vital to the success of any organisation. At a corporate level, it contributes to the delivery of strategic and operational objectives. On a day-to-day level, effective facilities management provides a safe and efficient working environment, which is essential to the performance of any business - whatever its size and scope.

Within NHSScotland Soft FM is a distinct (but allied) set of services to Estates and are delivered across all NHSScotland sites and have a significant impact on the patient environment. Many of these services are linked directly with Estates services, often through the use of assets such as buildings, infrastructure and equipment.

Looking to the future

In recent years, a heightened awareness of the facilities management sector has been evident, driven by a number of factors including:

  • Interest in outsourcing as a 'hot' management topic
  • Heavy media coverage of PFI/PPP initiatives and
  • Increasing attention being paid to the sector by the financial community

Facilities management is a vital strategic discipline because it translates the high-level, strategic change required by senior decision makers into day-to-day reality for people in their work or living space. Excellent facilities management can, amongst other things:

  • Deliver effective management of an organisation's assets
  • Enhance the skills of people within the facilities management sector and provide identifiable and meaningful career options
  • Enable new working styles and processes - vital in this technology-driven age
  • Enhance and project an organisation's identity and image
  • Help the integration processes associated with change, post-merger or acquisition
  • Deliver business continuity and workforce protection in an era of heightened security threats

Within NHSScotland significant change has taken place in Soft FM services as a result of Scottish Government initiatives such as the HAI Taskforce and Nutritional Improvement Programme. However, what has not been undertaken is a full and comprehensive NHSScotland wide strategic review of the basic systems and processes within Soft FM to ensure further quality improvement and that they remain effective and efficient. In particular, there is a need to draw on 'best practice' models from around the world to identify new practices and methodologies, to assess the potential for utilising relevant technological innovations to improve service effectiveness and efficiency and improve the overall patient experience. The full strategic review of Soft FM includes:

  • Catering Services
  • Linen and Laundry Services
  • Domestic Services
  • Portering Services
  • Security
  • Transport
  • Retail

The review will be undertaken by Health Facilities Scotland with temporary support from external consultants during a number of the phases of the project. The outcomes of the review will be detailed within an options document provided to the Shared Services Board in 2013. This options paper will outline short, medium and long term options across the full range of facilities services and provide a fully researched 'shopping list' with financial modelling.

Over the past 12 months Health Facilities Scotland has been working with a systems design company to develop and implement an IT based data capture system to provide Facilities management benchmarking analysis across a range of FM services. This system is now providing benchmarking reports to Boards on a quarterly basis. As part of the benchmarking exercise, four high level KPIs are being developed for use in future reports. These KPIs will fall under the service headings of;

  • Catering Services
  • Domestic Services
  • Estates
  • Laundry

Successful organisations in future will approach FM as an integral part of their strategic plan. Those organisations that treat FM as a 'commodity overhead' will be at a significant strategic disadvantage.


Email: James H White

Back to top