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Published:  13 November, 2007

Shopping centres across the UK are reaping the benefits of transferring to an integrated services provider.

Interserve's MacLellan Retail Services has been awarded a further contract with CBRE to provide an integrated retail services solution to CrownGate shopping centre, Worcester.

CrownGate, owned by The Crown Estate, covers an 8-acre site and boasts a third of the city's retail offering, including a House of Fraser department store. The scope of services provided by MacLellan will include security, cleaning and waste management.

MacLellan has implemented its market-leading OPTIMA service model, designed specifically for the destination market. It brings together all key aspects of cultural development, service development, innovation and technology.

"Consumers are now far more demanding and there's tremendous competitive pressure on retail destinations to respond to this," says Rob Cattell, managing director, MacLellan Retail Services. "OPTIMA will drive a renewed focus on customer service at all levels to create the ultimate shopping experience for visitors to CrownGate."

Carolyn Mantle, centre manager at CrownGate, adds: "The decision to select MacLellan was reached after lengthy and careful consideration. It's important to us that we work with partners who share our philosophy of excellence and achievement."

This is the second contract awarded by CBRE to MacLellan this year. MacLellan also provides an integrated service solution for the £350m Silverburn shopping centre, located in the south side of Glasgow. The scheme accommodates 95 shops, 13 cafés, restaurants and bars as well as entertainment facilities.

MacLellan is responsible for many of the 'back of house' and 'front of house' facilities management services. This includes work not often seen by shoppers, such as maintaining heating & ventilation systems, waste management, recycling and cleaning. It also involves customer-facing roles such as managing information desks, guest safety, car parks and the Shopmobility service.

MacLellan has been working with Equip to ensure local people are aware of the positions available, and have received all the help they need in submitting their job applications. As a result the company has been engaging with the centre since February, despite it only opening on October 25.

Cattell says: "We have been connecting with people in the local community and with all the stakeholders from CBRE and Retail Property Holdings. We played a key role in the scheme opening on time. Mobilisation is about bringing all the services together in a connected way and hitting the target opening date. Then we go through a period which can last up to six months prior to reaching the ultimate full operating potential."

Cattell has seen an increase in integrated service provision at shopping centres. "The trend of moving away from single services provision and towards full integrated provision has probably increased in momentum over the last two years, but there's still a reluctance to place all the control in the hands of a partner supplier because some people see it as losing control, when in essence they're actually gaining control. They're able to concentrate on their business and not be distracted by the non-core aspects."

OCS Integrated Services has won customer praise by helping bring awards and accolades to one of Britain's top shopping centres - the Eastgate Centre in Inverness, again managed by CBRE. In the last year, the centre has picked up a tranche of awards which would be the envy of most professional retail operations, including a CBRE European Health and Safety Award, a ROSPA Health and Safety Award, the ISO 14001 standard in Environmental Management, an OCS Star Team of the Year Award and a Purple Pip at the British Council of Shopping Centres Purple Apple Marketing Awards.

According to CBRE, the backing from OCS Integrated Services, which provides everything from cleaning and security to car park control and engineering expertise, has been a vital part of the centre's success.

CBRE's director of procurement and facilities management, Keith West, says: "Integrated services is definitely the way forward. Staff are all on the same payroll and conditions, they wear the same brand on their uniform and share the same restrooms. This creates one big family feel and the service it delivers is vastly superior to trying to work with many providers."

OCS Integrated Services is a natural development of the OCS philosophy of offering expertise across many disciplines. By bringing such services together under one delivery arrangement, the integrated approach dovetails perfectly with the company's commitment to customer service excellence. It is a concept which combines the vast portfolio of professional support and experience provided by the OCS group into a fully integrated resource, tailored to the client's needs and managed under a single procurement contract.

Most importantly, the concept works for the customer, for OCS and for the front-line delivery team.