Updated: Jan 9, 2019
Acuity, Axis Group’s five-star front-of-house division, is providing a combined security and professional reception services contract to the British Medical Association’s (BMA) headquarters in central London.
The BMA sought a front-of-house service that maintains a secure working environment, while also ensuring all who enter the premises receive a five-star, hotel-style welcome. The contract includes one front-of-house manager, one senior receptionist, three receptionists, one security supervisor and six security officers providing 24/7 cover. Site-trained support officers provide cover for holiday and sickness.
The contract is the first of its kind for Acuity, where security services – provided by Axis Security, are delivered utilising a front-of-house management structure. The contract was tailored to the specific needs of the BMA to manage its diverse and multi-faceted security and front-of-house requirements.
The BMA headquarters is home to: BMA members, providing doctors and students with access to its conferences rooms, library and lounges; a commercial venue that facilitates corporate and social events as well as weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs; over 30 tenant organisations currently including Camden Council; the British Medical Journal editorial team; and BMA employees.
The BMA receives over 1,500 visitors every day through three main entrances, from couples getting married at the Camden Council to journalists and corporate clients. Ciaran Barry, Risk Management Consultant for the BMA, and brought in by Linx International Group, says this volume means it requires a co-ordinated, well-trained and highly-skilled front-of-house and security delivery:
“Historically the BMA’s front-of-house was managed by its venue team, but there were efficiencies to be made with access control and working hours by bringing together security and front-of-house in a ‘one team approach’. This approach has become the backbone of Acuity’s service delivery.”
Acuity was chosen in a competitive tender including a total of six suppliers. Key to its success was its ability to build a contract around the one team approach, breaking down the traditional barriers between security and reception.
“A new front-of-house manager position was implemented by Acuity, and Nazra Poli, who fulfilled the position, has been instrumental in the contract’s success,” Ciaran explains. “Her role is to have an oversight that enables her to create solutions that meet the needs of all the BMA’s stakeholders, their visitors, and the security and front-of-house teams.”
Chiara Di Rienzo, Acuity’s Director, conducted a thorough audit over three sessions to determine the ‘one team’ vision and goals, outlining objectives, an implementation plan and a service level agreement. It has been important to cross skill employees so they can perform both roles when the need arises. It also performed a full training needs analysis (TNA) for the front-of-house manager role to support implementation.
“Training and continuous development are paramount,” says Ciaran. “We have a fantastic team and it is important we enable them to develop professionally.”
A bespoke training plan has been designed for the BMA and includes leadership skills, change management, customer service, public speaking, grooming and communication.
Facilitating events is another important aspect of the contract where seamless access control and professional greeting is key. In order to add value and ensure guests’ first point of contact is positive, Nazra communicates daily with the venue team.
Chiara says they are extremely pleased to be partnering with the BMA: “We have been working very closely with Ciaran and his team to ensure we integrate both sides of security and reception under one umbrella, and to improve training and standards in-line with the BMA’s culture and values.”
“The one team approach has been extremely successful,” Ciaran concludes. “Acuity has impressed with its understanding of our vision, ability to adapt to our requirements and by embracing the open, helpful and communicative culture of the BMA. The feedback we have received so far from BMA tenants particularly has been very positive.
“It was clear from the outset that senior management at Acuity genuinely cared, and in mobilising the contract they have gone the extra mile to ensure an excellent service in what is a complex and challenging environment.”
The BMA was founded in 1832 by Sir Charles Hastings, a doctor in Worcester with the intention of creating a ‘friendly and scientific’ forum where doctors could advance and exchange medical knowledge. During both world wars, the BMA organised medical services for military forces and civilian populations. In 1925 the BMA moved to its current headquarters, BMA House in Tavistock Square, London. The opening ceremony was attended by George V and Queen Mary.