A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Imagile'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 Imagile 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

Highlighting best practice
Stephen Hornby, Non-Executive
Contingency planning – Imagile’s
business improvement team
Founded in 2005, Imagile is a pro-active and considered
asset management company based in Bristol. Imagile deliver
consistent returns for their clients in a constantly changing
and challenging environment. Non-Executive Director Stephen
Hornby and CEO Alan Birch discuss their unique approach,
which combines imagination and agility, and explains how this
innovative method has allowed them to manage £7 billion in
infrastructure assets.
We recognised that the transfer of assets from contractors to large Private Finance
Initiative companies would require access to infrastructure management services,
and we have grown within this market to become one of the UK’s leading
infrastructure asset managers in the PFI
We operate in the United Kingdom
and Ireland, employing 275 staff and managing 130 PFI projects, involving
infrastructure assets with a value of £7 billion.
From our inception, we understood that providing a high standard of service for
our public-sector customers would ultimately benefit our clients, largely pension
fund investors, the majority of whom are within the public sector. It is the delivery
of operational performance to the public sector that ensures a consistency of
returns: these two goals are aligned and not in conflict.
PFI companies typically have an obligation to operate and maintain a public-
sector asset to a set standard for 25 to 30 years, before handing the building
back to the public sector in full operational condition. To achieve these exacting
performance obligations, the PFI company establishes a special-purpose entity,
which in turn subcontracts maintenance to a facilities management company and
»CEO: Alan Birch
»Non-Executive Director:
Stephen Hornby
»Established in 2005
»Based in Bristol, Warrington,
London and Glasgow, plus
numerous site operations
»No. of employees: 275
»130 individual PFI projects
under management involving
ȣ7 billion in infrastructure
contract and life-cycle management to
an asset management company, such
as Imagile.
A number of factors help us to achieve
these high standards of service:
Proactive culture
Our culture is important to us. Staff
at every level are expected to take
a proactive approach and to resolve
issues as they arise, whether big
or small. The key is not to allow
numerous small issues to remain
unresolved, issues that may themselves
develop into bigger problems.
Capacity building
Our teams of operations managers and
technical specialists work alongside our
finance teams. This combined resource
provides the capability and capacity
to resolve a wide range of issues
directly, and with minimal impact
on our public-sector customers and
The first real test of our strategy was
in 2010 with the demise of Jarvis, who
were not only a building contractor but
also provided facilities management
across ten separate PFI contracts.
Within four weeks we took control
of these contracts, a process that
included the establishment of our own
facilities management business and the
transfer of 450 staff into it.
This action secured the companies’
staff, but also the continuity of service,
so there was no impact on the pupils
or patients using the facilities serviced
by these contracts. The contracts
were transferred to an alternative
service provider after a period of 12
months, during which time they had
been stabilised. The transition was so
successful that we received requests
from the public sector to continue
providing the services directly.
We have been successful in retaining
our senior management team and
the core group of operational and
specialist staff who managed the
substantial Jarvis failure. This expertise
and stability has proved fundamental
to our ability to work with all parties
throughout the recent, and much
larger, failure of Carillion. Again, we
managed the transfer of contracts to
a new provider, with no impact on
patients using these hospitals, or loss
of return for our clients.
Lifecycle Plan
to FM
Capacity building –
project management
and technical specialists
From our
inception, we
understood that
providing a high
standard of
service for our
public sector
would ultimately
benefit our
clients, largely
pension fund
Highlighting best practice
Learning lessons
During the storms of 2016, the
gable end wall at Oxgangs School in
Edinburgh collapsed, thankfully without
injury to staff, pupils or the public. We
immediately decided that we would
carry out intrusive surveys of all brick-
built cavity wall structures. This work
involved inserting borescopes and
opening up some areas of the external
walls to provide visibility within the
cavities. We were clear that this level of
intrusive investigation was required to
provide the assurance needed by us and
all our stakeholders. Similar levels of
investigation were undertaken following
the tragic events at GrenfellTower.
Continuous performance
PFI companies have an obligation to
maintain their property portfolios to a set
standard for over 20 years, so we created
a systematic review for continuous
compliance monitoring. We have put in
place a three-tier management process
that monitors facilities management
contractors’ own planning and
assurance processes, which comprises
a monthly manager review, a bi-annual
director’s inspection on site and a three-
year independent audit. This process
is integrated within our ISO-accredited
operating systems – ISO 9001, ISO
22301, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001.
Contingency planning
We have put in place detailed
contingency planning across the
portfolio, but with a focus on projects
where we see the potential for FM
contractor failure. This model is now
frequently utilised across the industry
and provides the level of assurance that
public-sector stakeholders require. The
plans are comprehensive andinclude:
»An implementation plan:
responsibilities and actions in the
first 48 hours and 14-day periods
»Schedules of directly employed staff
and all project-based staff with roles
and contact details
»Schedule of key contractors and
suppliers, with roles and contact
»Critical IT systems and suppliers used
across the contract
»Proposed implementation and
emergency response teams with
roles and contact details
A continuity plan, and the three-tier
management process, are in place
across our portfolio, which we believe
provides the comprehensive assurance
process required by our customers and
clients alike.
Our goal
Our goal is to continue to enhance
the wider level of contingency
planning, taking the sector with us and
increasing the level of assurance for
all stakeholders. This, in turn, is crucial
in providing the consistency of returns
for our investors and the consistency
of service for the public sector where
Our goal is to
continue to
enhance the
wider level of
taking the
sector with us
and increasing
the level of
assurance for
Director Safety
Monthly Scheduled
Manager Reviews
Full SHE Audit
Our three-tier
management process

This article was sponsored by Imagile. 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy