Discussion papers

01 July 2016

Outsourcing across borders

Outsourcing across borders can drive down costs, implement group risk-management strat...

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01 December 2014

Future of public procurement

The government is the biggest spender on FM service contracts in the UK managing an an...

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01 February 2014

Building successful outsourcing relationships

Within the FM sector, outsourcing is second nature for many organisations and with a t...

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Good practice guides

01 August 2018

Procuring and running catering contracts

This guide provides the knowledge you need to buy and subsequently manage catering con...

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01 November 2017

Facilities management procurement

This is an essential guide for procurement professionals that purchase products or ser...

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Guidance notes

01 April 2018

Supplier and contractor handover

This Guidance Note outlines how a new contract arrangement providing goods/ services/w...

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01 December 2017

Introduction to service level agreements

A Service Level Agreement or SLA is an excellent tool for managing discrete packages o...

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01 October 2017

Statutory compliance in FM procurement

The purpose of this Guidance Note is to highlight some of the key points that should b...

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05 February 2021

Procurement: new NEC4 Facilities Management Contract now available

As announced last month, NEC - supported by IWFM - has launched its new suite of contr...

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01 February 2021

Covid delivers mixed lessons to FM supply chains

The pandemic has severely impacted organisations’ ability to procure sustainably, had ...

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14 January 2021

Public procurement: Green Paper and consultation set to transform government spending framework

The Cabinet Office has published a Green Paper with proposals for the most significant...

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Quick start guides

01 February 2018

Choosing an FM operating model

Thirty years ago, facilities management was a largely inhouse affair. Organisations di...

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Sharing best practice

Procurement and supply chain management are essential aspects of delivering workplace and facilities management, whether in the sourcing of specialist services and products, or managing the best contract on behalf of organisations and clients. 

The deeper challenges that our profession faces - perception of low wages, narrow margins, lack of value (on many levels) - can often be traced back to the procurement process and subsequent contract management. The collapse of Carillion and others has brought much of this into sharper focus and highlighted the need for a change in culture. Our recommendations for achieving better practice include:

  • Focusing on a values-driven, collaborative approach delivering for all parties
  • Enabling realistic margins
  • Professionalising/upskilling
  • Advocating consistent prompt payment 
  • Minimum standards in an updated code of conduct
  • Promoting transparency and an open book policy. 

In addition to the knowledge-based approach in our guidance and training, our procurement workstreams focus on:

New NEC4 Facilities Management Contract
We have partnered with NEC to develop a new suite of contracts designed specifically for the procurement of FM. The NEC4 Facilities Management Contract is intended to provide more integrated and consistent procurement strategies, adding value to the supply chain and developing stronger, more collaborative relationships and ways of working. The contract has been launched in a pre-publication version with the full versions and guidance due for release in June 2021.  

Social value: National TOMs Facilities Management Plug In
We have also partnered with the Social Value Portal and National Social Value Taskforce to develop a new measurement framework for social value, designed specifically for the workplace and FM profession. The Plug In aims to unlock social value measurement and management in the FM sector, helping organisations to measure and maximise the social value they create through the delivery of their services, as well as to allow organisations to report value created as a financial contribution to society.

Government policy and legislation
Through our engagement with Government consultations, inquiries and reports, we put forward our views - and those of key stakeholders within our profession - on best practice in procurement. Our responses and submissions help to articulate the value that the workplace and FM sector can add to both the public and private sectors through service delivery.

Most recently, IWFM submitted this response to the Cabinet Office Green Paper on Transforming Public Procurement, welcoming many of the framework principles, but also stressing the need to embed social value and prompt payment within the core of any new regulatory framework.

Other IWFM responses to Government consultations and inquiries:

House of Commons Public Accounts Committee Strategic Suppliers inquiry, June 2018 (submitted as BIFM)

House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee inquiry, Feb 2018 (submitted as BIFM)


If you have any comments or would like further information on this topic, please email policy@iwfm.org.uk


What does social value mean for FM?

Increasingly, today’s business leaders look beyond an organisation’s financial bottom line, demanding greater scrutiny and transparency of its approach to social value. FM providers are more frequently being asked by clients, in both public and private sectors, to deliver social value as part of their contractual performance and impact. Equally, they have their own genuine desire to operate as modern, socially responsible businesses.

These trends are backed by our own annual sustainability surveys which have identified a growing move away from the tick-box culture towards the importance of longer-term environmental and social impacts. Indeed, the 2018 sustainability survey highlights the re-defining of a new sustainability agenda, comprising not just environmental concerns, but also embracing economic and social measures such as pay, diversity, modern slavery and wellbeing. It is worth noting that social value and sustainability are often interchangeable terms, which can give rise to confusion about what is being discussed. 

There is also a growing call within the workplace and facilities management profession for a commonly-agreed industry definition of social value and a standardised framework of financial and non-financial metrics. This would help the profession to define what our broader impact and relationship with society is in terms of the jobs that we create, the environmental improvements we make and the technological solutions we can deliver.

Our profession needs to drive momentum in this debate, proposing solutions to clients rather than responding to their queries. Supported by our Sustainability SIG and a Leaders Forum Discussion Paper on Social Value in FM (see link below), IWFM is taking a lead role in working with partners towards the creation of social value metrics in FM so that the profession can demonstrate its added value through the use of minimum reporting standards.

This is particularly important at a time when Government is looking to implement a social value framework. In August 2018 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published its new Civil Society Strategy, Building A Future That Works For Everyone, a comprehensive vision for how Government will work with businesses and communities to create a fairer, stronger society. 

IWFM welcomes many of the initiatives outlined in the strategy, particularly the Government’s aim of making greater use of social value in its supply chain and of designing a framework for better measuring social value. We were pleased to see that many of the recommendations we submitted to the Civil Society consultation were taken on board and we look forward to working with Government and social enterprise platforms to develop these initiatives.


Leader Forum Discussion Paper on Social Value in FM   
DCMS consultation on the Civil Society Strategy