The cleaning industry has recently expressed its shock at the sudden demise of the Building Futures Group (BFG). Details are sketchy, and we have been unable to obtain any comment from BFG personnel. The BFG website simply hosts a statement announcing the closure of the organisation. The British Cleaning Council - the voice of the UK's cleaning industry - has issued the following comment:
The sudden demise of the Building Futures Group has left people in the industry not only saddened and shocked, but also mystified, as the organisation had given no indication it was in trouble. The BFG made the announcement with a brief press release on 14 January, saying it had ceased trading after 'two successful years', but offered no explanation as to why the end had come now. The statement has led to some confusion as it gave the impression that the company was thriving when in fact the opposite was true.
The BCC is now calling for the organisation to give a full and frank assessment of what went wrong, so lessons can be learned for the future, and help offered to those that have been affected by the shut-down.
There is no option to contact the organisation through its website, as the content from both the BFG and Asset Skills sites has been removed. The lack of clarity surrounding its demise has raised many questions, particularly as it received a substantial amount of government funding.
There is no suggestion 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, was quoted as saying that the industry lacked a consolidated, industry voice and that the BFG would provide a platform that had, until then, been 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 the 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, said: “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.”
From the editor: All of us at C&M are disappointed about the demise of the BFG, and look forward to receiving some clarification as to how and why an apparently buoyant organisation collapsed so suddenly, and without warning.