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Enabling Positive Experiences: Celebrating World FM Day

I’m Richard McKinney, Regional Delivery Director for DIO. Today is World FM Day and to celebrate I'd like to reflect on the vital work and vast range of facilities management (FM) services that DIO, staff, suppliers and industry partners provide to our customers all overthe world. This year's theme for World FM Day is 'enabling positive experiences'.


Richard McKinney, DIO's Head Operations Development and Coherence (Crown Copyright)
Richard McKinney, Regional Delivery Director (Crown Copyright)

One of the things about Facilities Management (FM), is that you don’t tend to notice it unless it isn’t there.  It’s an almost invisible service.  Celebrating World FM day is a chance to make people take notice for once, before they go back tomorrow to burying their heads in the internet (FM service); sit in their heated or cooled offices (FM Service); use the equipment provided to them (FM provided); eat at the local unit or site facility (FM Service); get checked in by the local security or reception team (FM Service)…I could go on, but you get the point. So here’s a few areas in which FM happens and is making a difference.

What’s the most shocking image you've seen on TV this year?  I reckon it’s the sea of plastic on the Blue Planet series.  Landmarc, our Training Estate industry partner operates eight waste sorting sites where they sift military debris. Thanks to this work, the MOD recycling rate has improved from 4% in 2008 to 56% - including composting - in 2017/18, with just over 95% of waste diverted from landfill.  There’s FM making a difference.

Keeping the Defence Estate clean [Copyright Landmarc Support Services Limited, 2018]
Keeping the Defence Estate clean [Copyright Landmarc Support Services Limited, 2018]
It’s not just those kind of things we do, we support Defence in all sorts of ways, which you might not realise.  Animals for instance: we've recently been providing pasture horse services for the Defence Animal Service, and providing kennels for dogs in a number of places. In fact you name it FM is involved somewhere. Be it a jail house or rock-climbing; working to build community facilities for health and leisure to strengthening our partnerships with those around us, FM does it all in the MOD. We also work on railways, airfields and ammunition storage facilities, all of which need specialist people who understand their trade and the military requirements.  See? I’ve added in another factor here: FM is all about understanding the customer, and the stakeholder.

Stakeholder is a frequently used term, but think of it as those who if you don’t work with can make life more difficult .  Think about the groups of people, statutory and voluntary, who are interested in our ownership of over 40,000 hectares of National Park land, 70,000 hectares of nature conservation sites, 20,000 hectares of woodland, 21 million trees, 1,600 hectares of wetlands and 3,500 kilometres of tracks. Not to mention 782 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and 111 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).  All managed by the FM community.

Looking after the training estate in Sennybridge, Wales [Copyright Landmarc Support Services Limited, 2018]
Looking after the training estate in Sennybridge, Wales [Copyright Landmarc Support Services Limited, 2018]
We provide hard FM for the Army Training Units in Belize, Canada and Kenya. Unusually this is done directly, rather than through a contractor  in Belize and Kenya, and to an extent in Canada. This work is co-ordinated by Royal Engineers posted to DIO, who work with locally employed civilians to do the majority of both the pre-planned and reactive maintenance activity.

In Belize we’ve been working to bring the Army’s jungle training unit back on line following a period when use was scaled back due to troops being deployed to operational theatres in Iraq and Afghanistan and so not needing jungle training. The reactivation work is going well and is nearly complete – keep an eye on the blog for more information on this in the coming weeks. This has required lateral thought and improvisation to make the most of the funding available.

So my personal reflections on World FM day and ‘enabling positive experiences’ will be that the FM profession is still a people business – carried out by people for people occupying and working in the facilities we so diligently maintain and serve across the MOD estate.

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