Soft Services Handover – Pinderfields and Pontefract Hospitals
In 2020 services including grounds and gardens, domestic services, pest control, catering (retail and patient), linen and laundry, waste services, portering, car parking and security, transitioned from the PFI project parties to the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Planning for the transition of services commenced in 2018, commenced in earnest late 2019 and were completed in mid-2020. Achieving an effective handover of the services to the Trust required cooperation between all parties, and that cooperation helped bring about a collective understanding that the practicalities of the process would be a significant exercise if disruption was to be avoided.
As the provider of management services to the PFI Project Company, Vercity were heavily involved in the service transition process. From that position we could observe what went well and where lessons can be learned for future handover of services.
One key area of success was that both the incumbent FM Contractor and the PFI Project Company deployed additional management resource who operated outside the delivery of business-as-usual services. These individuals could liaise directly to help manage the handover and agree contractual protocols (including the treatment of open helpdesk events).
Reassuring those service staff who had the option to TUPE transfer to Trust employment was a significant part of the process, and all parties collaborated to help inform the staff affected why the change was happening and what it would mean.
There were a number of other assets which would transfer to the Trust. These included leased assets that supported the service delivery, including laundry vehicles and catering equipment (fixed and mobile).
Compiling a list of the various leased assets and making arrangements to cancel or transfer these sounds like a simple exercise but was another piece of the puzzle that the team working on handover had to assemble.
Grounds & Gardens
One of the services being transferred to Trust self-delivery was the grounds maintenance. While the condition of the grounds themselves was good there was a need to agree the staff and assets transferring to the Trust (as keeping the grounds in good order needs a lot of equipment!).
There was also a need to define the interface between grounds maintenance and Hard FM responsibilities for ensuring the effective operation of external drainage.
One area that the parties needed to resolve was the valuation of the stock held in the hospitals at the date of handover. This applied not only the visible stock in the cafes and restaurants but also to the cleaning supplies, template security badges, PPE and various other critical items that had been paid for by the existing service provider but would be needed by the Trust to ensure smooth continuation of services for the hospital users.
Handing over the delivery of soft services from the PFI consortium to the NHS Trust was a significant exercise. To do this without disrupting the day-to-day delivery needed all parties to focus and collaborate. Fortunately, everyone involved was able to put the time needed to that exercise.
There were inevitably items that needed negotiation and agreement to resolve, but with everyone working together towards the same objective we could achieve the handover without impacting the hospital functions.
Karen Tate | General Manager
The lessons to be learned from this experience of a long-term project partnership feed into our work on Project Exit, led by Commercial Director Patrick Hamill.