Readers of PFM frequently ask about how to formulate their entries and the advice below is provided to assist with the most important areas of preparation.

There are numerous messages received throughout the year enquiring about the various aspects of the PFM Partnership Awards and each one is reassured that the awards continue to uphold the highest levels of integrity to provide each entry with the same chance of winning their chosen category.

In order to provide more assistance with the preparation and submission of entries, we provide the following advice for those seeking to achieve recognition for their efforts within the industry’s favourite awards.

Support from partners

The first place to start should always be in gaining the support and understanding of the requirements involved in entering the PFM Awards from all those included. Another important decision is then to identify which site best reflects the successful outcomes, particularly when multiple locations are included.

Each partner needs to agree with the initial 1,500-word submission that describes all the successes achieved by the partnership, with particular emphasis on the various innovations introduced, especially those that were not listed within the initial contract. These details will be especially appreciated by our independent judges, as they are frequently presented with high quality entries and have the difficult task of deciding which is the best.

The partnership should have been in place for a minimum of one year, as the judges will look to see how the relationship has become established and continued to evolve. However, with the inclusion of Partners in Relocation and Partners in Renovation, these two categories extend the options to recognise the success of individual projects where applicable and which may have been completed in recent months.

When the submission has been prepared and the entry form has been downloaded from www.pfmawards.co.uk/categories and completed, these will need to be submitted to PFM on or before 15 May 2019*. Entries should also include a 250-word summary, the company logo of each partner and three or four good quality images of the site.

All Partnership entries will be assessed in the weeks following the deadline and entrants will be informed of their progress once the list of finalists has been confirmed. Each category has a shortlist of three finalists and this is usually confirmed around the middle of June.

Team Member nominations

Once their success has been confirmed, each finalist will then have the opportunity of nominating a non-managerial member of staff for the Team Member category. This is only open to Partnership finalists and the candidate will be interviewed on the same day of the judges’ visit.

Those included on the shortlist should then prepare for the most important and second phase of the process, including arranging the best time for the judges to visit the site in question. All judging visits need to be completed before the end of September, to allow the judging team to meet in early October to discuss each entry and decide the winners.

It is essential that the partners included on the entry form are represented during the visit by the PFM Awards judges, as this is the best of way for them to observe the level of partnership working achieved by those involved. Where possible, more than one representative should be available from each partner, to allow for instances of illness, etc, and avoid potential negative outcomes.

Once the date and time of the visit has been agreed with the judges, finalists will then have the opportunity of making the necessary arrangements. For example, in addition to ensuring that the relevant partners are in attendance, the judging visits often include tours of the facilities involved.

Q&A sessions

All the PFM Awards judges have considerable industry experience and several have judged the awards for a number of years. Their long experience has provided them with an intricate understanding of the workings of the FM sector and they will often have a number of questions to help them gain a clear idea of the successful partnership, so another important aspect to include is sufficient time to answer these.

The purpose of the judges’ visit is to determine the quality and sustainability of the partnership in question, so finalists should prepare for this by ensuring that the necessary facts and figures are available in evidence of all the successes achieved and listed within the initial submission. It should also be explained to those who have not experienced this type of judging visit that the PFM Awards judging is often described as a pleasurable experience by finalists, rather than the daunting prospect that can initially be imagined.

Once the judges have visited the site of the Partnership entry, there is little more for finalists to complete other than booking their table at the presentation ceremony in November, which can be completed through clicking on www.pfmawards/event

The final meeting of the judges in early October will include discussions on all Partnership categories, Team Member and Overall Winner.

The only category to receive correspondence prior to the awards ceremony will be the contact that nominated the winning Team Member entry. This is to ensure that the person is present on the night to receive their trophy and also to allow their employer to decide on whether to inform them in advance or not.

Maintaining standards

It should be further explained that the PFM Awards remain committed to the high standards established over the previous 25 years, particularly through the independent judging process. This has been designed to ensure that each entrant has the same chance of winning and is based on the quality of the partnership concerned, regardless of the size of the companies or the type of contract involved.

No additional information is shared with the judges other than the entry form and 1,500-word submission to ensure that each is treated on the individual merits of the partnership and its achievements. For example, although PFM Awards sponsors are not allowed to enter the category sponsored, they are encouraged to enter any of the others in the knowledge that they will be assessed on the same basis as all other entrants.

No guarantees are provided to entrants, other than that they will be all treated with the same degree of impartiality and the judges’ decision is therefore final. All finalists will be contacted after the awards ceremony with feedback from the judges, which can be used for promotional purposes or to assist in preparing entries in future.

While the advice above is intended to provide entrants with an overview of the requirements that they need to complete to provide each one with an equal chance of gaining recognition as a finalist and potentially winning their category, the PFM team is happy to answer any questions arising.

*NB: While all Partnership entries have a deadline of 15 May, submissions for the categories for individuals – Account Director of the Year, Young Leader of the Year and the Peter Middup Lifetime Achievement in FM categories – have later deadlines. See www.pfmawards.co.uk/categories for the dates these are required.