Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



Focus on the workforce

Fiona Daly, Head of Sustainability and the Estates & Facilities (EFM) Workforce at NHS Improvement told delegates at the 2018 HEFMA Forum of plans for a formal workforce programme for the profession to be introduced later this year.


She said: "The workforce is the foundation of the NHS. I think it's had a real lack of focus in the estates and facilities arena specifically over the last few years. We spend our whole lives bending, and really trying not to break. It's time to take stock of what we actually have now and how we transition from that into a strong, resilient workforce for the future."


Daly is now working on the plan for this programme, listening to and inviting feedback from professionals in the industry. The first stage will be a data collection request because to identify what is needed, it is first necessary to establish what we have. The next stage will be to look at what is needed for the future, how to embrace the technology (such as BIM and IoT) and ensure the estates and facilities managers of the future are equipped to manage the building and services with a greater focus on data and security. The final stage is making the transition.


Four core questions


There are, said Daly, four core questions around the healthcare estates and facilities workforce to be addressed:


* How we attract people into the NHS

When did we last go out to schools and tell them what an awesome job is it to work in estates and facilities within the NHS? We don't do enough to promote it as a career path to students.


* How we retain people 

Staff retention is partly concerned with the culture of the organisation, the values it holds and recruiting around that culture and those values for the future. 


* How we develop people 

Mapping out clear career paths rather than carving a little bit here and there. This is equally applicable for new recruits coming into the system and those in the middle of their careers who want to develop further or into other areas of interest.


* How we look at succession planning 

Future-proofing to plug the gaps when people leave or retire means understanding the existing skills and talent within the teams - and within the STPs as well, so taking a more regional approach.


A final part of Daly's plan for this programme is to focus on the transition for change - looking at what tools are necessary, what training, budgets and guidance will be needed. 


Building a healthy, resilient, strong workforce for the future is the aim.