The inaugural Higher Education Estates and Facilities Awards, from the Association of University Directors and Estates (AUDE), highlight and celebrate the exceptional achievements of universities and those who work in them. Award winners are those who make a significant contribution to enhancing excellence, ensuring university estates provide best value to support the institutional mission and promote professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness.
The Facilities team consists of over 600 staff, mainly from the local area, who deliver the following services on campus for the students and the local community including a sports centre, pre-school, Lancaster Conferences, guest rooms, bars, cafes and restaurants, design, print and photography, maintenance and infrastructure, cleaning, refurbishments and new building projects, energy and carbon reduction and security.
The entry summarised how the team is striving to meet and exceed expectations by placing people and customer service at the heart of improving performance by being MAD – Making a Difference.
The key areas the team have prioritised included: a culture that focuses on values and behaviour, creating an environment that fosters success and pride with the desire to make things happen by team working; getting closer to their “customers”, understanding their priorities and challenges, developing and nurturing relationships for better collaboration and increased satisfaction; improving communications and accessibility, simplifying their systems and processes.
The team also developed an innovative training programme to reach out to staff at all levels, recognising that people have different attitudes and respond in a number of ways. A bespoke training programme developed by BIFM – British Institute of Facilities Management, delivered by Anne Lennox-Martin, an inspirational tutor, was rolled out to all managers, supervisors and customer service champions.
The judges commented that the Lancaster team has “a very comprehensive approach doing lots of things well, a focus on student experience, values and behaviour. The Making a Difference (MAD) scheme is an exemplar that is now being rolled out across Professional Services.”
The award win comes following a string of recent successes for Facilities including the Green Gown Carbon Reduction award for the 2nd year running, the Green Flag award for campus grounds for the 3rd year running, Best Halls for the 5th year running and two Gold Food for Life awards.
Mark Swindlehurst, Director of Facilities, said: “Winning this award is a fantastic achievement and testimony to the efforts of everyone in the Facilities Team at Lancaster University. We are really proud of our entire team here at Lancaster and delighted that our efforts have been recognised by AUDE at a national level.”