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Organisation partners with Trust, aiming to integrate services and implement quality changes in care, contributing over £5 million to the Trust’s Cost Improvement Plan

Sodexo Ltd
HSJ Awards 2018/ HSJ Partnership of The Year


    • Meet operational demands whilst dealing with challenges of a high profile and politically sensitive merger
    • Deliver overnight transfer of services, facilities and assets across sites
    • Promote full involvement of employees and minimal disruption to services
    • Avoid negligence over patient care and excellence during process of merger


    • Implemented a merger/partnership to retain quality improvements in various spheres of care
    • Sodexo’s Facilities Management (FM) team delivered services like patient/visitor catering, cleaning/infection prevention, security portering etc within the trust
    • Initiated a joint purchase of equipment/technology to support innovation
    • Developed People Strategy, focused on talent management, succession planning, diversity etc.
    • Prompted employees to practice considerate treatment through My Mum test programme


    • Development/refurbishment and expansion of services improved quality of care, reducing risks to patients/visitors/staff
    • Strengthened relationships and improved communication
    • Contributed over £5 million to the Trust’s Cost Improvement Plan
    • Received CQC commendation on joint appointment of estates/facilities matron and catering dietician
    • Resulted in availability of right skills, knowledge/experience


In November 2014, the former Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust (MSFT) and University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust (UHNS) merged and became University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM). The relationship between Sodexo and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) began in 2007 and progressed to the formation of a PFI partnership in 2012 when Sodexo was the FM provider to UHNS.

Full partnership working between Sodexo and UHNM’s Estates and Facilities team began with the dissolution of the former Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and its subsequent transfer of services to UHNM on 1 November 2014. The new UHNM Trust includes The Royal Stoke Hospital (RSH) and the County Hospital (CH) and employs some 11,500 staff. Serving around three million people across Staffordshire and North Wales, UHNM is one of the largest hospital Trusts in the country with a large Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract and a complex mix of inhouse and out-sourced estates and facilities services. UHNM’s in-house estates and facilities team work in partnership with its private sector partner, Sodexo.

Sodexo is responsible for the soft FM services throughout the PFI and retained estate and hard FM services to the PFI. Sodexo’s 1,000-strong on-site team deliver the following services: Patient and visitor catering Cleaning and infection prevention Security Portering Helpdesk Reception Waste Maintenance Utilities Lifecycle management Sodexo has transformed its relationship with UHNM into a true strategic parnership. The partnership has worked hard to deliver exceptional performance while dealing with the challenges that comes from a Trust merger.

Meeting opertional demands and delivering cost savings at the same time as dealing with the challenges of a high profile and politically sensitive merger. The highest standards of patient care continued to be delivered throughout this transition period. Sodexo has been recognised for its very significant contributions to the Trust’s strategic and operational objectives and its commitment to staff engagement. The partnership between Sodexo and its client, UHNM, leads the way on collaborative working and is sharing good practice and innovation with local NHS services as well as national NHS services


The merger was probably one of the most politically sensitive and challenging changes seen in the NHS in recent years given its very public profile. The Sodexo team transformed broken down relationships and poor performance to deliver a true working partnership.

Moving from shipwreck to flagship, the PFI is now seen as one of the most successful performing contracts in the country, and has been recognised externally by the Department of Health and HM Treasury in a forthcoming case study. Throughout the merger and beyond Sodexo responded to the operational demands of one of the largest acute hospitals in the country. The highest standards of patient care continued to be delivered throughout the transition period. The partnership between Sodexo and UHNM leads the way on collaborative working and is sharing good practice and innovation with local NHS services as well as national NHS service.

The Sodexo team has been recognised for their very significant contributions to the Trust’s strategic and operational objectives and their commitment to staff engagement. Representatives from the Sodexo and UHNM partnership are influencing the national agenda through active involvement in the Lord Carter Review and through NHS Estates and Facilities. NHS Directors Learning Set and National Sodexo Forum. This work has been recognised internally and externally by the Department of Health, HM Treasury, Private Finance Unit and Local Partnerships.


A series of initiatives were put in place by Sodexo to meet the Trust’s objectives, these included:

• The overnight transfer of services, facilities and assets across two sites was successfully delivered, this involved rapid service integration, an extensive estates and FM due diligence exercise; full involvement of employees, minimal disruption to services and the integration of separate estates and FM teams.

• Patient care and excellence in service delivery has been core throughout, this is illustrated with above national average PLACE results across all indicators and CQC Inspection commendation for innovative practice with no estates and facilities issues raised.

• The ‘My Mum’ test programme which prompts employees to consider how they would want their own mum to be treated.

Partnership working continues since the merger, a recent example being the transformation of the room of a 19-year old cystic fibrosis patient who had been at the hospital for almost a year. Sodexo’s team worked with the Trust to redecorate the room with a New York theme for the patient who has always dreamt of visiting the city.

By developing shared objectives and joint work streams, such as staff engagement focus groups, relationships have strengthened, communication improved and all delivered against the Trust’s business needs and goals Significant improvements made to the quality of the care environment and reduced risks to patients, visitors and staff through development, refurbishment, and expansion of services. This includes the joint purchase of equipment and technology to support innovation and improved patient experience.


Partnership working has driven value-for-money and contributed over £5 million to the Trust’s Cost Improvement Plan. The partnership has seen the joint appointment of estates and facilities matron which has been commended as innovative practice by CQC as well as the joint appointment of catering dietitian to deliver consistent inpatient catering satisfaction. A review of management/team structures was carried out which resulted in the implementation of changes within resources available to ensure right skills, knowledge/experience were available to deliver against the challenging agenda.

Commitments articulated through strong visible leadership and partnership events with Sodexo and Trade Unions helped significantly improve performance though the delivery of a culture of trust, confidence, professionalism and respect at all levels. Sodexo also supports UHNM’s Sustainable Development Management Plan which includes increasing the Trust’s understanding of CO2 emissions related to its procurement activity, the renegotiation of the requirements for a clinical waste contractor to deliver cost savings and the use of a local transport company to reduce transport miles and emissions and bolster the local economy. Staff engagement was a key challenge facing the new Trust.

With a complex mix of in-house and outsourced estates and facilities services across a mix of new build and retained estate and a three tier workforce of over 1,000 staff delivering services across different sites with Sodexo directly employed staff, in-house staff and Retention of Employment (RoE) staff, Sodexo developed a People Strategy which focused on talent management, succession planning, diversity, reward and development of the team’s expertise.


Sodexo has delivered a safe, high quality and innovative service in the context of a very challenging and sizeable agenda, this has included a review of the management/team structures and implementation of changes within resources available to ensure right skills, knowledge/experience available to deliver the challenging agenda. Successful staff engagement has been a key driver in the Trust achieving its strategic objective of ‘delivering quality excellence for patients’. Sodexo supported this drive with a comprehensive programme which included a wide range of activities including:

• A divisional management day to develop the strategy/vision with the focus on “Creating a Service We Are Proud Of” that integrated with the Trust’s 2025 Vision and five-year people strategy. This specifically focused on linking and aligning the teams to create a service which was safe, delivered quality and value for money. All attendees left with personal and collective actions to take forward, driving integration and staff engagement.

• A staff engagement partnership day was also held to gain an increased understanding of how all parties needed to operate with the key objectives to enhance the patient experience through improved estates and facilities services, promoting a partnership with open communication where issues are resolved quickly. This event was highlighted as a huge success. Sodexo and UHNM are now in discussions to achieve the BS ISO 44001:2017 standard in collaborative business relationship management with the aim of becoming the first NHS organisation in the UK to achieve the new standard which supersedes BS1100.



Support service (non-clinical)


Key individuals

Neal Gisborne