Playle & Partners LLP

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Playle & Partners LLP'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 Playle & Partners LLP 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
Managing Partner John Farrow
The Textile Building –
Aitch Group
Playle & Partners LLP is a multidisciplinary property
construction consultancy based in Sidcup. Established in
1954, the practice originally started out as a chartered
quantity surveyors and now offers extended services including
architecture, building surveying, contract management, party
wall advice, access consultancy, principal designer and CDM
consultancy and expert witness, providing an all-encompassing
service across a range of projects. Managing Partner John
Farrow tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about the scope of
their projects and Playle & Partners LLP’s manner of operating.
A balancing act
As construction and property consultants, we recognise that every project depends
upon a delicate set of balances, that is, understanding and meeting our client’s
aims while maintaining accurate and tight cost controls. It also means reacting to
the needs of the moment, but still being able to stand back and provide proactive
advice that’s both impartial and genuinely innovative. Also crucial to this effort is the
management of relationships with the client team, architects, other consultants and
contractors while encouraging a drive for continuous improvement. Last and not least,
it’s necessary to balance the needs of today while being alert to futuresustainability.
Managing these balances, though, needs experience, which is why every project
is led by a partner who provides a consistent point of contact, and is personally
responsible for the successful completion of the client’s work. In this environment,
all our teams are expected to deliver high-quality solutions effectively and efficiently.
»Managing Partner: John Farrow
»Partners: Paul Turner, Jon
Badcock, Claire Kennedy and
Luke Turner
»Established in 1954
»Based in Sidcup, with offices
in Ipswich and Redhill
»Services: Construction and
property consultants
»No. of employees: 35
Playle & Partners LLP
We are trusted to bring service,
experience and added value to every
construction project that we are
involved with.
Nurturing talent
As an SME providing multidisciplinary
property construction consultancy
services, we have to compete with
large-scale multinational companies for
talent. This is a real challenge, one that
many SMEs face. Striving especially
hard to be successful is necessary if
they are to gain the competitive edge.
In this spirit, our team has had to come
up with innovative ways of attracting
and retaining the best people, which
we continue to do through offering
a number of tailor-made training and
development programmes.
We also encourage young talent at
school-leaving age by attending careers
fairs and providing STEM ambassador
services. The practice targeted
universities and attended 12 fairs in
2017. In addition to attracting new
talent, we have continued to invest in
the employees that we already have.
Our team does a fantastic job at
recruiting and retaining high-calibre
staff. It is difficult to offer the types of
training and development programmes
that we do, so we have to remain
vigilant of our budgets and ensure the
correct balance between work, studying
and mentoring availability. Ultimately
testifying to this are our employees,
whom we have recruited from a variety
of backgrounds, as well as our raising
of prospects for young local people
through work experience, permanent
positions and by covering the cost of
formal qualification. The success of this
is reflected in our high staff retention
rate and reported satisfaction levels.
In 2018 our commitment to staff
development and talent has been
widely recognised, to which the
following list provides testament:
»We achieved an Investors in People
Gold Accreditation
»We were winners at the
Constructing Excellence South East
& London – People Development
Award, in addition to being a finalist
in the Best SME category
»Bexley Business Excellence Awards,
in which we were shortlisted for
two awards, Best SME and Business
Commitment to Education & Skills
Our Investors in People Gold
Accreditation was achieved following our
first assessment, contrary to the usual
pattern of gaining it only after having
achieved either accreditation or silver. Marcus Garvey Library
– London Borough of
All our teams
are expected to
deliver high-
quality solutions
effectively and
efficiently. We
are trusted to
bring service,
experience and
added value to
project that we
are involved
Highlighting best practice
The executive summary stated:
Playle & Partners has a strong
track record in “growing their
own”, with a huge investment in
degrees, professional qualifications,
chartered membership and
ongoing continuous professional
development (CPD). Most of the
partners, associates and senior
staff have been developed by the
business and this commitment
continues with work experience,
placements, internships and degree
apprenticeships. All staff take part
in the school, college and university
careers fairs and milkrounds.
[The] partners have devolved
leadership responsibilities and all
staff have grown their roles and
take accountability for the success
of the business.
[They are] clearly a values-driven
business focusing on service
delivery. Staff clearly live these
values and enjoy working as part
of the one-team culture.
A word for political ears
We are on a number of public sector
frameworks for professional services.
As a practice of our size, this – as with
recruitment – means competing with
large multinational companies, often
with significantly higher budgets at their
disposal. Additionally, where services
are tendered on an “open basis”, we
are up against smaller practices with
significantly lower overheads, and
in a lot of cases without the same
level of accreditations, management
systems (including quality management
systems to ISO 9001:2015) and level of
professional indemnity insurance.
The government’s target for small and
medium-size companies is for them to
win 33 per cent of public work by 2022,
albeit last year this figure was 22.5 per
cent, compared with 24 per cent in
2014. SMEs such as Playle & Partners can
provide good value for money compared
with the multinationals, as well as an
exceptionally professional service.
Compliance with OJEU regulations must
be client-driven, and detailed feedback
is required for tenders we submit, but
this is not always the case. Furthermore,
a number of public sector clients are
circumventing the regulations. SMEs
need to be supported in this respect to
ensure that the government targets are
achieved together with best value.
A values-driven future
We have been through the second-
generation transition in terms of
partners, and are preparing for yet
another third-generation transition. Our
future growth and sustainability starts
with the recruitment of good-quality
staff, and to this end we expend a great
deal of time and effort in their training.
We cannot entirely shape the future
within which we will operate, but
what we can control is our strong
commitment to the following values:
»Respect for others in all of their work
and dealings within the industry
»Openness, honesty and fairness
when making important decisions on
behalf of a client
»Reviewing any work and learning
lessons from all experiences
»Being proactive in the approach to
our services.
Playle &
Partners can
provide good
value for
with the
as well as an
Oasis Arena Academy
– London Borough of

This article was sponsored by Playle & Partners LLP. 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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister