The region covers several hundred buildings in 14 countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, China, Philippines, Thailand and India.

The project is particularly challenging due to the security and resilience requirements arising from the nature of the FCO’s international operations and the types of buildings covered, including for example High Commissions and UK embassies. The facilities management services to be provided include property portfolio management, day to day property management, performance management and reporting, disaster recovery and contingency management, building services, catering, reception, security services, cleaning and laundry.

COMPETITIVE DIALOGUE WITH A TWIST

The FCO is using the competitive dialogue procedure under the UK Public Contracts Regulations 2006 to procure the contract. The dialogue has been streamlined, largely taking place in Singapore. Although it has been challenging to work through a dialogue with three bidders who have never experienced it before, the process serves as an example of how competitive dialogue can be run quickly and efficiently.

UK STANDARDS – OUTSIDE OF THE UK

The contract is an English law contract governed by English law and subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts. As a UK public body, the FCO must ensure that the standards which apply in its buildings across the world are appropriate and set a standard which can act as good practice. It has therefore been necessary to require the service provider to comply with UK standards in certain areas, such as UK health and safety accreditation.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

The performance regime operates around a balanced scorecard containing four different quadrants of performance. Critical performance factors are built into the scorecard, relating to failures which are particularly serious or catastrophic (including for example disaster recovery failures). The service provider is incentivised to perform not only through key performance indicators and deductions, but also through financial incentives for innovative or cost-saving ideas.

STAFF AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES - IN 14 JURISDICTIONS

In a non-TUPE environment, the staff and employment issues are particularly complex. With 14 different jurisdictions and 14 different legal regimes, it has been necessary to develop general principles around the circumstances in which the service provider will take staff on, covering costs and liabilities, ensuring continued services, and so on.