BSA/Polar Insight procurement survey published

In Summer 2020, the BSA and Polar Insight partnered on a survey of members to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector and to explore key factors relating to procurement across the private and public sectors.

Download the survey report here:

https://www.polarinsight.com/bsaprocurementsurvey

Or click here.

BSA proposal for a temporary relaxation of apprenticeship rules in response to the Covid-19 health and economic crisis

In response to Covid-19, and for a temporary period, the Business Services Association’s Apprenticeships, Skills and Training Group proposes that Levy funds should be able to be spent on courses that are shorter than 12 months.

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Keynote speech – Seminar on Business Values: Learning from Lockdown

Adapted from a keynote speech delivered by Sean Haley, Regional Chairman, Sodexo UK & Ireland, at the BSA’s seminar on Business Values: Learning from Lock Down, 24 July 2020

This year, the world has been thrown into turmoil, but it has also shone a light onto what really matters to people.  As governments, businesses and households start to emerge from the crisis phase of the pandemic, we start to build an economic recovery.

At this time, it has never been more important for companies to show leadership and take action on societal issues. They need to show that they are interested in more than just short-term financial gain and recognise their profound impact on the people they employ and work for, the places they operate and the environment they impact.

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Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020

BSA Member CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP has produced the following briefing note – setting out the key implications of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.

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Key workers need more than applause

Since the Covid-19 lockdown was introduced, we have witnessed an incredible industry-wide response, writes Sean Haley, Sodexo Regional Chair.

FM and food providers have repeatedly demonstrated the value of our sector by collectively responding quickly and efficiently.  Sodexo and its competitors have played a vital role to set up and operate Covid-19 testing centres and Nightingale hospitals around the country.  It has been a Herculean effort that no one foresaw would be needed, but one which was achieved through partnerships that formed within just days.

We have been able to do this because we are an agile, flexible, diverse, caring industry with experts in catering, cleaning through to fire safety, energy, event management and much more. We have shown that we are more than just service providers. We are strategic partners who can adapt, innovate and work in partnership to get things done.

Our people have met the challenge of providing core services safely into hospitals, barracks, schools, factories, test centres and prisons, to name a few.  They are often working in extremely difficult conditions, on the front line, adapting to meet new demands and challenges – and they are laying the foundations for our national recovery from this crisis.

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Apprenticeship Levy Best Practice

4 examples from BSA Member Corndel of Apprenticeship Levy best practice:

Adecco have started 30 of their furloughed staff on apprenticeship training programmes to prepare them for their return to work post-Covid-19. These apprenticeship programmes have been specifically adapted and personalised to support furloughed Adecco staff at this difficult time. [Read More].

80 apprentices from 36 organisations attended the online webinar last week: Building Connectivity and Trust in a Virtual World. This webinar had been built specifically to help apprentices to adapt to the new circumstances that learners find themselves in. Apprentices were able to submit questions which were answered live by an expert panel. The next webinar in the series has already had 120 apprentices sign up. [Read More]

All UK employers and apprentices are now able to access a dedicated bank of resources on home working, remote management, workplace well-being and resilience. They are available publicly here.

Employers and apprentices are now able to undertake the new Dev Ops Apprenticeships remotely. Dev Ops will be a critical skill set in the post-Corona economy. Corndel has adapted our Dev Ops apprenticeship so that it can be entirely delivered remotely during this health crisis. [Read More]

Crisis management in uncertain times

Mike Penrose, Founder and Chief Executive of the Sustainability Group, draws on his extensive experience in this blog on crisis management. 

During periods of uncertainty and crisis it is all too easy to focus on the immediate needs of your organisation and its employees. To deal with the overwhelming amount of work that comes with the necessity to rapid adapt your ways of working, the sheer volume of day to day stuff that needs doing, and most importantly staff welfare and support.

Clients push back work, cashflow gets squeezed and order books get thinner. Some of the measures announced by the chancellor will help organisations through this difficult period, it is an unprecedented bail out, proportionate to these difficult times, and to be widely applauded (unless you are self-employed, but that is another article).

For organisations adept at crisis management, or who are well supported in dealing with a crisis or an emergency, these periods also offer an unparalleled chance to evolve and adapt.

They develop new, more effective ways of working, modernise communications and remote working infrastructure (that is arguably far more adapted to our globalized world), and focus on upskilling staff, increasing productivity and efficiency. Which is perhaps the biggest long-term challenge that post Brexit Britain faces, our appalling levels of productivity.

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Putting social value into action

 

Adapted from a keynote speech delivered by Sean Haley, Regional Chairman, Sodexo UK & Ireland, at the National Social Value Conference 2020

In November last year, the British Academy set out the changes they believe companies need to make to become “purposeful businesses” – changes that they say lie “at the heart of the future of capitalism, the future of humanity and the future of our planet”.

This is not new to Sodexo. We were one of the first few companies in the world to place social value at the core of its mission when it was founded in France in 1966 – and we have always sought to do good business in a good way.

Ten years ago, we published our global corporate responsibility roadmap – Better Tomorrow 2025.

We have plans in place across our business to reduce our impact on climate change, to cut waste, to recruit people from marginalised groups like ex-offenders, to cut plastic from our supply chain, to spend more money with local suppliers and SMEs and promote more women into leadership roles.

This is all well and good but we know that this isn’t enough to meet the challenges we face, because it is not over-dramatic to say that we are living in a time of crisis.

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Business, social enterprises & charities must find new ways of working with Boris’ government

Boris Johnson’s huge General Election victory is good news for the political stability and support business needs to succeed. Government will now continue to be a strong support for innovation and enterprise. The principles of the free market and free flowing trade will be re-affirmed in the corridors of power across Whitehall. The fundamental threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, with the crushing threat to jobs and wealth creation that it represented, has been resoundingly seen off. For those running and employed by businesses of all shapes and sizes – which is the vast majority of us – the Conservative victory is very welcome indeed.

Not only businesses of course compete in the market place. Social enterprises and, although they frequently bridle at the suggestion, so do charities. Charities compete for donations, for public sector contracts to deliver government services at home and overseas, and for our attention and support.

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Guest post from Martin Traynor OBE, Small Business Crown Representative

Martin Traynor OBE was appointed Small Business Crown Representative at the start of 2019. In this blog he explains what he has discovered in his first six months in the role and his priorities for the future.

What is the role of the Small Business Crown Representative?

In my role as Small Business Crown Representative I have been asked to lead on the overall relationship between the government and small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), advise ministers on the government’s engagement with them, and to identify the barriers they face when working with government.

The UK government buys a wide range of goods and services from businesses right across the country. This ranges from major rail and road projects, through to fresh food and specialised services to help people find work. Of course it is a big buyer of many of the services that BSA members provide.

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BSA investigates the Future of Pensions

John Hanratty, Head of Pensions North at CMS CMNO, and Chair of the BSA Pensions Group facilitated an insightful and constructive roundtable on the Future of Pensions in July 2019.

The BSA invited two guest speakers, Fiona Frobisher, Head of Policy, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and Richard Giles, Head of Strategic Partnerships, The Pensions Trust (TPT) to provide more detail on the obligations of pension schemes for independent providers.

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Digital in Defence: The age of Iron Man technology and sci-fi becoming reality

From Star Trek’s ray guns and Princess Leia’s hologram messages to AI character HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, not to mention video calling, mobile phones, smart watches and tablets, there are numerous examples of sci-fi technologies becoming reality. Defence has long been at the forefront of digital and technological transformation – a driving force for innovation behind everything from the Internet to GPS, inspired by the imagination and ingenuity of science fiction. (more…)

How do we fix the public-private partnership?

By Asif Ghafoor, MD Investments, Amey

In last year’s Autumn Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced the official death of PFI. He said that the UK government would abolish the use of PFI (along with its successor PF2) for future projects, noting that “I have never signed off a PFI contract as Chancellor and I can confirm today that I never will”.

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Living wills are coming in FM – embrace them now to get ahead of the game

Until a couple of years ago, the facilities management (FM) industry appeared to be steering a fairly steady course. True, the rising maturity of the FM outsourcing market was starting to create pressure on providers’ growth and costs. But they could count on a ready supply of existing and new customers—both public and private sector—who felt they could buy their services with confidence.

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Negotiating for success in public sector negotiations

John Clements,  Management Consultant at The Gap Partnership, details the importance of  preparation and planning in the negotiation process for successful tender bids.

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Platform co-creation of public services

By Philip Craig, Government Sector Strategy Director at Sopra Steria

One of the often-quoted benefits of digital transformation is the improvement in the way departments interact with citizens and business by sharing systems and data to streamline services. But the reality often falls short of expectations.

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Trends shaping the future of the workplace

Written by Sylvia Metayer, CEO, Worldwide Corporate Services segment, Sodexo

Today is World FM Day, a chance for the FM industry to raise awareness of how we can help our clients ‘enable positive experiences’. (more…)

Universities must commercialise to thrive after Brexit

Since the increase in tuition fees in 2010, universities have had to adapt to a rapidly changing funding environment. Greater reliance on fees, which account for over two-thirds of total income at 42% of universities, has left their finances vulnerable to sudden changes in student numbers. Concerns over value for money, along with long-term spending commitments on pensions and infrastructure, also weigh heavily.

To be sustainable after Brexit, universities must prioritise the student experience whilst also finding new ways to maximise efficiencies and diversify revenue. (more…)

What’s ahead for the digital wallet?

By Rob Price, Chief Operating Officer, Worldline (Atos e-payment Services), UK and Ireland

When I drive to my local railway station, the station car park recognises my arrival through number plate recognition. I drive straight in, with digital signage telling me how many spaces are free. I walk through the station and get straight on the train. When I return, the car park transaction is quick and easy – contactless card or mobile wallet payment at the kiosk, and the exit barrier lifts as it recognises my number plate.

I like this digitalised experience because it makes things quicker and easier for me.

This is a common theme of the global digital inclusion survey we’ve just completed, which revealed how people feel about digital technologies – including how they pay for things. It’s clear that where the consumer is motivated or incentivised through personal benefit, then there is better adoption. Other than cost savings, the two benefits that stand out for consumers are time saved and improvements to their health. (more…)

Light at the end of the financial tunnel?

By Philip Craig, Government Sector Strategy Director at Sopra Steria

In March 2018 the government reached a significant economic milestone. It eliminated the deficit on its day-to-day budget. Tax revenues will exceed public spending. Public sector net debt will fall for the first time since 2001-02. It took eight years rather than five. But the primary target set by government in 2010, as the UK struggled to recover from the financial crisis, had finally been met. (more…)

AI and Digital Public Services

Often debated in terms of the ‘rise of the robots’ or ‘march of the machines’, the public discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) has largely focused on the impact it may have on the workforce. Less attention has been paid to the possibilities for transforming public services.

Appropriately delivered, AI has the potential to revolutionise how public services are delivered and, in turn, how citizens interact with government.

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BSA Event: The path to digitising healthcare

As part of a series of events and publications on digital public services, the BSA held a Digital Healthcare seminar in partnership with Associate Member Pinsent Masons LLP.  With thanks to our speakers:

  • James Hawkins, Director of Programmes, NHS Digital
  • Rachael Hunter, Health Economist, UCL
  • Matthew Godfrey-Faussett, Partner, Pinsent Masons

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Britain’s Energy Future

Last month the Business Secretary Greg Clark announced £246 million of pubic investment into battery technology. Known as the ‘Faraday Challenge’, this 4 year investment aims to update British energy generation and provide an alternative way of generating and delivering energy. The challenge aims to produce new, more efficient battery technology that will make energy easier to store.

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The workforce of the future: robots and roadmaps

Transformation is the business buzzword of this generation. Preface it with digital, leadership, cultural or service and you’ll find a slew of articles, comment pieces and case studies on how it’s been done and why everyone should try it. In reality, it boils down to change. We live, as they say, in “interesting times” and one of the striking features of this age is the pace of development.

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The Importance of Transparency

Blog by Kevin Craven, Chief Executive, UK Central Government Division, Serco

As an ex-employee of Sodexo, I was pleased but not surprised to see the launch of their Transparency Charter recently. I applaud their leadership and congratulations to them. As the CEO of Serco’s Central Government division, I am of course frustrated that they got there before us. But I suspect we will look back in a more transparent future and not worry about who got there first, because consensus is building around the need for greater transparency in the delivery of public services and the momentum seems unstoppable. There are of course those that oppose it vehemently but they are now firmly in the minority.

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