February's Facilities Management Journal features the relationship founded between Mainstay, Direct Line Group and Ascot Services
The Direct Line Group (DLG) property team won the 2019 Institute of Workplace Facilities Management (IWFM) award for innovation in supplier relationships, in recognition of its successful working partnership with smaller FM providers Ascot Services (hard services) and Mainstay Group (soft services). The win marked the latest milestone in DLG’s journey of creating employee experiences that engage its people while developing sustainable and mutually beneficial supplier-client relationships. The effects are showcased at the company’s Bristol offices, where Ascot Services and Mainstay Group first took on the FM services mantle which has since been extended to the whole group.
DLG is a leading motor, home and small business insurer which boasts well-known brands such as Direct Line, Churchill, Privilege, Gren Flag and NIG Direct Line Group. The present company was formed in 2012 when the Royal Bank of Scotland Group began to divest itself of its insurance division. Mark Lennon helped set up the standalone DLG property team and was Head of Property before later moving on to become Operations Director at Ascot Services. He explains: “Our original brief was to ‘keep lights on, keep us safe and don’t get in the way of the IPO’, but we started to explore how the workplace environment could have a material impact on employee engagement.”
Working with the original suppliers ‘Carillion’ at the time was very challenging – they didn’t use data which meant they didn’t understand the customer. Mainstay was engaged to provide workplace services, delivered by a high-end customer-focused front of house and housekeeping team, while Ascot’s team of skilled engineers took charge of reactive and proactive asset management. The contract was mobilised in December 2017. But a month later, Carillion – still responsible for FM services throughout the rest of DLG’s estate threw a spanner in the works by going into liquidation. Meaning that the procurement process for the remaining 16 sites had to be speeded up. Says Lennon: “On the plan was something like a nine-month procurement process, but following Carillion’s collapse we had to condense into four weeks.”