Search Results for: government

Restricted access to washroom facilities leaves staff with nowhere to go

Crossed legsWashrooms, as facilities managers are only too aware can often be the cause of some contention within the workplace, particularly amongst female staff, who frequently complain of having to queue to use the facilities. However, that inconvenience pales into insignificance compared to the plight of many council workers and call centre staff, who, according to trade union Unison are either not able to access public conveniences or are restricted as to when they can take toilet breaks. The unions says cuts to council funding, which has led to the widespread closure of public facilities are adversely affecting those workers who spend their working day out on the road, while in a previous Unison study of call centre workers, around 28 per cent reported that access to a toilet was a problem. More →

CBI raises growth forecasts, but cautious on sustainable recovery

CBI raises growth forecasts but cautious on sustainable recovery

A pick-up in confidence across a broad range of sectors, including services and construction and a better than expected second quarter has led the CBI to raise its growth forecasts, with GDP growth of 1.2 per cent predicted in 2013, up from 1.0 per cent in the May forecast. In 2014, the business group expects the economy to gather pace, forecasting 2.3 per cent GDP growth, up from 2.0 per cent in May. However, unemployment rates look set to stick at around 7.8 per cent. John Cridland, CBI Director-General said: “The economy has started to gain momentum and confidence is picking up, but it’s still early days. We need to see a full-blown rebalancing of our economy, with stronger business investment and trade before we can call a sustainable recovery.” More →

UKIP quip that women not competitive enough for business obscures real debate

UKIP comment on women not competitive enough for business obscures real debate

The comment by UKIP treasurer Stuart Wheeler that women are not competitive enough to merit a place in the boardroom grabbed all of the headlines from an important debate on the introduction of gender quotas on City boards. The news broke on the same day that employment body the CIPD issued a warning that businesses will continue to lose talented female workers if they don’t offer them a better work-life balance.  With research showing that around half of female managers choose not to return to work following maternity leave, how far should employers be going to retain female talent and encourage workplace diversity, and does gender equality really require a legislative stick? More →

CBI survey gives suppliers chance to have say on UK public sector procurement

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is offering private sector firms the chance to take part in a survey detailing their experience of working with UK public sector. It follows a largely damning 2012 report from the same organisation which found that only 7 per cent of firms believed the public sector procurement function was effective. However the same report did find that around 80 percent of respondents were in favour of the UK Government reform programme and so the latest survey is a chance to see whether recent initiatives such as the recent Public Administration Committee report into procurement failings  and the setting up of the Crown Commercial Service have had any impact on private sector confidence in the way the UK public sector goes about its business.

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Rise in number of temporary jobs as employment rates show modest increase

Rise in temporary jobs as employment rates show modest increase

The latest employment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that unemployment fell by just 4,000 in the three months to June. At 7.8 per cent, the overall rate remains unchanged since the previous quarter. The figures don’t reveal how many people are working on temporary, rather than full time contracts. According to TUC data, UK workers are increasingly taking involuntary temporary jobs, with almost half of the rise in employment since 2010 being in temporary work. Today’s ONS figures also show that wages grew by 1.1 per cent over the past year, which, when bonuses are included meant wages grew by 2.1 per cent,  the highest annual growth since June 2011. But UK wages still lag behind those of EU workers. More →

UK construction and manufacturing buoyant but mixed picture in global property market

Construction savingsThere are signs that the UK’s faltering economy is on the road to recovery.  Construction activity in the UK jumped sharply in July to hit its highest level in over three years, according to the latest Markit/CIPS  survey of purchasing managers. This may have been driven primarily by a surge in house building, but even the recently moribund commercial construction sector saw an increase in activity. However a new report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has highlighted that while the UK may have reason to smile, the picture of global commercial property markets is very patchy.

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Fewer London firms plan to expand within the capital reports CBI

Fewer London firms plan to expand within the capital reports CBI

As we’ve reported previously London is enjoying a booming office rental market, but according to the latest CBI/KPMG London Business Survey, high operating costs are making the capital less of an attractive prospect. While more of London’s businesses plan to expand during the next year, fewer are planning to do so in the capital, with high operating costs and housing shortages cited as the biggest concerns. London’s firms also plan to spend relatively more on recruitment and training; product and process innovation; and IT plant and machinery, but less on land and buildings. More →

RICS reports most positive construction sector activity for six years

 RICS reports most positive construction sector figures for six years

The UK construction sector finally seems to be turning a corner with new projects beginning to rise in almost every part of the country, according to the latest RICS construction market survey. During the second quarter of this year a net balance of 21 per cent more surveyors reported rises in workloads, the most positive reading in over six years. While consistently falling activity has meant that projects are still generally speaking thin on the ground, this upturn suggests that the worst could now be over for the sector. More →

Green Building Council Awards recognise European environmental leadership

Awards open for European Green leadership initiatives

The UK Green Building Council is accepting nominations for the first-ever European Regional Leadership Awards, part of the World Green Building Council Leadership Awards 2013, which recognise international best practice in city-level government policy for green building initiatives. The regional awards are for best practice in green building initiatives, projects, and policies that are supporting healthier and more sustainable communities within the European Region. “The awards promote leadership and inspire governments to replicate best practices in green building policy,” said the WorldGBC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Henley. “Buildings represent an unrivalled opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and cities play an increasingly critical role in seizing this opportunity.”

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Design Museum sale paves way for resurrection of Commonwealth Institute

Commonwealth InstituteDeskheads of a certain vintage may have viewed the news that Zaha Hadid had bought the Design Museum’s London home for £10 million in a somewhat different light to much of the media that reported the sale. While journalists succumbed to the apparently irresistible pull of architectural headline magnet Zaha, to some of us the interesting part of the story was that the sale finally freed the Design Museum to move to the long empty Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington. The building is one of the most architecturally important modern buildings in London and has a long association not only with The Commonwealth Institute educational charity but as a venue for cultural events and exhibitions of design, not least the now defunct Prima and Spectrum exhibitions which did so much to promote commercial interior design in the UK.

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New study to investigate effectiveness of UK carbon reduction policies

carbon-dioxide-molecule-Deloitte has been commissioned by the Green Construction Board and the Green Property Alliance to carry out a study into the effectiveness of the UK Government’s policies for carbon reduction as the it seeks to meet its commitment  to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Inevitably buildings, which reportedly are the largest source of CO2 including some 17 percent from non-domestic property, have been targeted to make significant contributions. With the much vaunted Green Deal in the news for all the wrong reasons – either because of its low take-up as well as new fears that it could lead to homes overheating –  the survey will gauge how policies aimed specifically at commercial property such as Energy Performance Certificates and the Carbon Reduction Commitment have fared in spite of their own difficult gestations.

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BIFM partnership with DWP may prove an ill-advised and short-lived union

Las Vegas WeddingRather like someone who collects friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter with the obsessiveness of the avid lepidopterist completist, news reaches us from the British Institute of Facilities Management concerning yet another partnership. Not content with the recently announced merger with Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association and the Cleaning and Support Services Association, this time it’s the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) that is the object of BIFM’s affections. Not that BIFM are considering moving in to Caxton House and a run for Parliament in 2015 (at least not that we are aware of). But while BIFM are, understandably, trumpeting the signing of this joint agreement, the DWP are not. In fact, if one searches on using the search terms “BIFM” or “British Institute of Facilities Management” no results are returned.

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