Abbas Cabins

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Abbas Cabins's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Abbas Cabins is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director
Pauline Hardwick
Service vehicle
Based in Dorset, Abbas Cabins Limited are a supplier of
portable toilets to the south of England with a fleet of
19 vehicles. Starting in the early 90s, they soon decided
they could perform these services at scale. Fast forward the
better part of three decades, and their turnover is seven digits,
employing more than 20 full-time staff and two part-time. They
report that the core of their success was a willingness to go the
extra mile – often literally – for their customers. Along the way,
however, there have been considerable challenges. Managing
Director Pauline Hardwick tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the company, its history, its manner of operating and the
challenges it faces.
We are a family-run business which was established in 1991. Since then, we
have been supplying portable toilets, portable buildings, showers and fencing
to construction sites within approximately a 50-mile radius of our Bournemouth
Depot. Apart from supplying to the construction trade, we also have a separate
fleet of more comprehensive units for events.
The evolution of our business
We pride ourselves particularly on our strong commitment to making sure that
every one of our customers receives a first-class service with guaranteed next-day
delivery. Indeed, if customers are in an area local to us, we can perform same-day
deliveries without any extra cost.
»Managing Directors: Pauline
Hardwick and Richard Kendall
»Founded in 1991
»Located in Bournemouth,
»Services: Portable toilets and
»No. of employees: 23
»First company to introduce
and supply outdoor gas
showers to the UK market
Abbas Cabins Limited
Highlighting best practice
The history of our business began
with a secondhand three-and-a-
half-tonne truck and 15 secondhand
portable toilets, performing as
much work as we could. I would
concentrate on gaining new business
and deal with the administration
from my conservatory at home,
while Richard would concentrate
on deliveries and maintenance to
both the vehicle and toilets from a
small yard in Bournemouth. As time
progressed, we began to realise
that this had potential to become
a profitable full-time business into
which we could invest. We moved
to a larger site to accommodate our
stock and purchased a secondhand
portable office so that we could both
operate from one central location.
Very quickly we found ourselves
moving from strength tostrength.
Roughly 15 years later, our turnover is
now seven figures and we employ 23
full-time local staff and two part-time
staff. The site from which we operate
is just under two acres, and from this
site we have 19 vehicles in operation.
Our stock of 15 toilets has grown to
over 2,000.
All of this growth has been achieved
without the need for an overdraft or
any form of loan. As we progressed
as a business, we also diversified into
new areas such as portable buildings,
showers and fencing – indeed, we now
have over 500 such items. We also
have around 800 gas-powered and
electric showers. We continue to grow
steadily, between five and ten per cent
per year.
As a business, we have a family feel,
meaning we all take responsibility and
never pass the buck. We’re always
seeking, wherever possible, to go the
extra mile for our clients. We’re proud
of the staff that work for us – we
reward them and put profit back into
the company.
One of the ways in which we ensure a
long-term future for our business is to
focus on client retention. By providing
our all-encompassing, top-quality
service, we can rely on our customers
to recommend and refer us to others.
Virtually without fail, when you ask
our customers how they found our
services, you’ll hear positive feedback.
This is a characteristic feature of our
company, and it’s something we
as a team are all highly conscious
We began to realise that this had
potential to become a profitable
full-time business into which we
could invest
Disabled unit
The need for the civil service
to work with businesses
As far as politics is concerned, we
believe that bureaucracy doesn’t take
sufficient account of exceptional
circumstances. For example, we
purchased a 7,000-gallon stainless
steel tank to site in our yard into which
we would dispose human waste;
this helped our business to continue
working outside of the hours operated
by local sewage treatmentworks.
It is evolutions such as these that have
allowed the business to go the extra mile
and gained us the reputation we have
today; however, this was complicated
by the requirement to exchange our
permit for a bespoke one at considerable
time and cost to our company. The new
permit demands a continuing two-yearly
Wamitab Operator Competence Test,
which consists of many questions
totally irrelevant to our business, such
as litter extraction.
It would surely be reasonable, given
we’re having to pay an annual fee
to hold this bespoke permit, for the
exam questions to be relevant to
our operation – otherwise it is hard
to see how this requirement can
possibly be of benefit to our company,
the environment or indeed the
Working through challenges
for a bright future
Another challenge we face as a
business is at the recruitment stage.
Often, we’ll use online job boards,
which although seemingly successful
at first, turn out to be a waste of time.
We might, for instance, book a slot
in which to conduct an interview,
only to find that the person doesn’t
turn up. There should, therefore, be
a better mechanism in place to stop
individuals who arrange an interview,
with no intention of turning up, purely
so they are able to continue claiming
jobseeker’s allowance, or perhaps
what’s required above all is a shift
These challenges, however, are
only slight. As a company, we have
routinely moved from strength
to strength as a result of our
determination to supply market
demand – and doing so in such a way
that we meet the highest possible
standards. Furthermore, our tightknit
and passionate team will always be
a cornerstone of our success. I’m
confident that, for as long as we
maintain these high standards, yet
more growth and success will come
our way.
We believe
doesn’t take
account of
Event hire

This article was sponsored by Abbas Cabins. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster