The campaign is well under way now and, as predicted, facilities management hasn’t featured in any of the discussions so far. Given that the economy is supposed to be the primary battleground for Election 2010 it is sad that the discussions revolve around where and when to make cuts in public spending rather than exploring how we can increase productivity through better management of work and the workplace.
Millions of working days are lost each year through workplace health and safety issues at an enormous cost to business and the government. Facilities Managers are the nations’ most important weapon in the war against this massive waste of resources but rather than supporting our efforts the only reference I have seen made to Health and Safety so far are some promises by David (call me Dave) Cameron) to cut back on Health and Safety bureaucracy. Such comments are, of course, merely designed to appeal to the populist view that elf-n-safety are a bunch of mindless killjoys.
Climate Change is the single most important issue facing mankind and those of us in the FM arena are directly responsible for 90% of the whole energy consumption, carbon footprint, sustainability and environment agenda. However apart from a few lip service paying lines in the manifestos, neither of the two main parties have made any real commitments to change or promises to assist us in any substantial way. It looks like the enviro-cynics are writing the speeches, scared of being labelled as overly green.
Plans for increased privatisation, which are among the promises of all three leading parties, and massive cuts in public spending will have an enormous, and mostly negative impact on the FM sector. Outsourcing with the sole aim of cost reduction will result in drastic reductions in service levels; Investment in the workplace will be postponed or cancelled; Training budgets will disappear; Industrial relations disputes will break out everywhere; The reputation of facilities managers and margins for FM service providers will be damaged.
As you will have gathered I am thoroughly frustrated by this election and by the bland policies of our “leading” politicians. The UK needs a realistic plan for recovery based around the elimination of genuine waste and proactive investment in jobs and productivity. The FM sector should be at the heart of that renewal process but few people seem to recognise the importance of the facilities management paradigm.