THREE "GOOD NEWS STORIES" FROM
BSA MEMBER COMPANIES
Our first example demonstrates that staff are
treated fairly and consistently even under the current TUPE guidelines
if all parties work together in harmony. WS Atkins transferred
80 estates staff from South Manchester University Hospital Trust
in April 1999. The employees comprised various groups including
tradespersons, helpdesk operators, managers and administrative
grades. Communication with staff commenced some two and half years
before transfer when the WS Atkins Management Team was invited
to join the Trusts JNC. From those early stages, all employment
issues were discussed openly and areas of concern were addressed
effectively. A sub group was formed to deal specifically with
transfer issues, with information regularly fed back to the main
JNC. The recognised unions were UNISON, UCATT and AEEU and representatives
were drawn from local, area and national level.
One of the most positive outcomes was the production
of a Staff Transfer Agreement. This document outlined the transfer
process and contained numerous undertakings regarding the approach
to staff and employment issues. As a "Statement of Intent"
signed by the Trust, the company and trade unions it confirmed
to the transferring employees that those issues which concerned
them would be dealt with in an honest and professional manner.
The document also served to underpin the transferring Recognition
Agreement which would continue to be effective into the future.
On later PFIs the AEEU publicised the Staff Transfer Agreement
from South Manchester as a "best practice" document
for future transfers.
WS Atkins are now into their third year of service
delivery and continue to consult and negotiate with the trade
unions on all matters affecting employees. Regular Joint Working
Party meetings deal with issues from operational to strategic
and include senior management from the company and shop stewards
and area officials from the staff side. Terms and conditions of
employment for new employees have been agreed with the unions
and for transferred staff new allowances have been introduced
(eg Authorised Person) at no detriment to other terms and conditions.
Staff development has been a key focus issue and the transferred
employees have received training in a number of areas including;
Health and Safety, Change Management, Customer Care, Technical
and Attitudinal Development. The local and area trade union representatives
have excellent relationships with the company's management team
and whilst at times there may be healthy debate there has always
been meaningful consultation and negotiation.
The new University Hospital of North Durham
opened on 2 April 2001 replacing the Dryburn Hospital, which shared
the same site. It was funded, designed and constructed as a first
wave, 27-year PFI project operated by Consort Healthcare (Durham)
Ltd; a concession with joint shareholding between Balfour Beatty
and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Services are provided by Haden
Building Management (HBML), part of the Balfour Beatty Group.
The majority of the almost 200 staff employed
by HBML were transferred from the Trust as part of a TUPE arrangement.
Much effort was invested into the preparation for the transfer
and this was rewarded with a virtually seamless change from NHS
to private sector. Indeed many staff have recognised the benefit
of sitting within the core business of their employer and prefer
the current arrangement.
As a first wave PFI, Durham benefits from having
both hard and soft services provided via the concession. This
gives the service provider the opportunity to exercise a more
flexible management approach to wider delivery of FM services.
Issues such as controls assurance can be more easily identified,
as the responsibilities are generally much clearer. This is despite
the fact that the North Durham Trust retains some soft FM services
in house. As a patient focussed care organisation, the Trust has
ward cleaning and some portering duties incorporated as part of
the ward based team. This concept can give rise to ambiguity and
the Haden team are frequently called upon to assist the ward teams
in their role. This they are able to do from the range of labour
and skills within their workforce.
The most significant change to the soft FM services
in particular has been the move towards a more flexible delivery
of services, albeit strictly measured to demonstrate compliance
to over 500 key performance indicators (KPIs). Staff are focussed
towards the achievement of KPIs but encouraged to interact with
the service users to ensure service delivery goes beyond the rhetoric
of a contract. Investment into helpful technologies (for example
specialised hospital-compatible radios for porters) increases
the efficiency of the work force. Clear worksheets for domestics
have helped maintain the hospital facilities in pristine conditions
of cleanliness. A robust regime of training for Security Guards
allied to an employment structure not typical in this industry
ensures a good level of security support commensurate to the special
requirements for working within hospital environment.
Last but not least, the ultimate change in service
that occurred in conjunction with the new hospital was the move
away from a conventional patient catering system to a cook freeze
system. This move was not popular with everybody during the lead
up to service commencement, but is now extremely popular with
those who really count, the patients of North Durham.
The Durham Team are just four months into this
lengthy contract. Changes from what went before are generally
evident although the on-going challenge will be ensuring that
the raft of services provided continue to improve and realign
as the business of the Trust changes over time.
Glasgow Royal Infirmary is a large teaching
hospital with more than 3,000 staff. Sodexho has been running
the catering there for the past 10 years. After retendering and
winning the contract for all the hospital's services, Sodexho
is introducing new ideas and investment. Built over 200 years
ago, it suffers from a common hospital catering problemlong
journeys for hot food from the kitchen to the wards. As a solution,
Sodexho took the production of meals out of the hospital's kitchens
and into the high-quality production kitchens of Tillery Valley
Meals are delivered twice a week from the production
kitchen to the hospital's new distribution centre. The meals are
drawn out of the store as they are ordered. Patients can make
a daily choice via a specially designed software system, using
the Trust's own computers. The present hospital kitchen facility
has been converted to provide space for the necessary chiller
and freezer units. The ward kitchens will also be refurbished
and re-equipped with regeneration ovens and other equipment. The
new system is flexible enough to cope with the expected increase
in the demand by the opening of the new maternity hospital and
plastic surgery and burns unit in the next few years. Before the
system was finalised, Sodexho did a one-month trial on two wards.
Patients were also surveyed about the acceptability of the menu
and food quality. Both found widespread favour with patients and
An equally important aim of the new arrangements
was to integrate all the hospital's hotel servicescatering,
domestic portering, transport and securityinto one management
team in order to bring increased efficiency through speeding up
management communication within the hospital.
A key element in the integration is a new grading
system for staff, introduced in conjunction with GMB Union, which
now offers greater rewards for higher skills, encouraging people
to move up the career ladder. The division won Investor in People
Although the need for on-site cooks and chefs
at the hospital has been reduced, there have been no redundancies
among the 530 hotel services staff. Redeployment and retraining
has led to the introduction of multi-skilled employees, capable
of performing a variety of jobs. Two Sodexho trainers, dedicated
to the hospital, train those staff to gain new skills and competencies,
especially in the area of customer care.