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ANNOUNCES CLOSURE The board at the Building Futures Group has announced that the company has ceased trading.

This difficult decision has been made following two years in business providing comprehensive training and high quality membership services to Britain’s building maintenance, management and services sectors.

The Building Futures Group was founded in 2013 following the merger of Asset Skills and the Facilities Management Association, who came together to form a trade association and training body dedicated to fulfilling the representative needs of the facilities management and cleaning sectors; whilst also maintaining their license to operate as the Sector Skills Council for the industry.

During the last two years, The Building Futures Group has secured


AFTER BFG CLOSURE Following the surprising news that The Building Futures Group had closed this month the cleaning industry is still in the dark as to why the company folded so suddenly.

The BFG made the announcement with a brief press release on 14th January, saying it was closing after ‘two successful years’, but offered no explanation as to why the end had come now. Many within the industry are wondering why a company would close if it was doing well?

Respected voices in the industry are now demanding that the BFG gives a full and frank assessment of what went wrong, so lessons can be learned for the future, and help

6 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning February 2016

and supported 140 corporate members; launched Asset Skills Training – the training arm of the business – which has developed 160 courses and trained more than 2,750 individuals; developed projects that engaged employers and encouraged new talent into the sector – for example the Routes to Employment project. It also became the first trade body in the UK to secure contracts to deliver apprenticeships, it secured £350k of funding to provide cleaning sector apprenticeships; and launched the #secretjobs campaign, which reached out to 5 million individuals to encourage them to consider a career in facilities management or cleaning.

offered to those that have been affected by the shut-down. One such voice comes from the British Cleaning Council, who in a statement, said:

“There is no option to contact the organisation through its website, as the content from both BFG’s and Asset Skills sites has been removed. The lack of clarity surrounding its demise has raised questions about the company's probity, particularly as it’s received a substantial amount of government funding.

“There is no suggestion, at this stage, that any impropriety has taken place, but there is genuine concern that legitimate questions about the merger, and the subsequent business failure, have not been addressed.”

The Building Futures Group was formed in April 2014 from Asset Skills and the Facilities Management Association. At the time, Chief Executive, Sarah Bentley, said: “the industry lacked a consolidated, industry voice… BFG

In a statement, a spokesperson for the association said: “Since its inception, The Building Futures Group demonstrated great commitment to encouraging sustainable behaviour and promoting corporate social responsibility in the sector. Two examples include its Low Carbon Skills Challenge Project that engaged 14,000 stakeholders and leveraged £1.5million of in-kind investment and brought forward a further £1.9million investment in energy efficiency skills, as well as its chairing of the Dignity and Respect Task Group on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Committee to help raise employment and working standards for cleaners.”

will provide a platform that has been badly missing.”

But although the new company started brightly, no platform was established, and now industry professionals are left pondering some unanswered questions.

BCC Chairman, Simon Hollingbery, said: “It’s never good to hear about a company closing, but the lack of information coming from BFG about the reasons for its closure is disappointing. The BCC and the rest of the cleaning industry needs to know what exactly went wrong, so that we can all learn lessons for the future.”

Stan Atkins, CEO of BICSc and Deputy Chairman of the BCC added: “The demise of BFG leaves a number of unanswered questions. It re-enforces the view that public money used by the Government has to be allocated by the agency with a knowledge of the industry involved. We need to understand what lessons can be learned from this.”

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