The Glass and Glazing Federation since its very foundations has always aspired to be the voice to Government for the industry. This has been proven time and again over the last four decades, as the GGF worked with Government departments on Building Regulations, formed certification schemes at the Government’s request and through to lobbying for greater energy efficiency initiatives.

Having witnessed and played my part in Government talks when the GGF was asked to help regulate the installation sector and set up FENSA, the industry’s original and main competent person scheme, it comes as no surprise that the Government has granted the GGF £50k to prepare the industry for the impact of Brexit.

It is easy for some trade bodies to claim to be “the voice of the industry”. However, to have a justifiable claim to that title involves not just having a substantial number of member companies, but more importantly, such an organisation must have the scope and breadth of member companies and long term commitment from those companies to develop political campaigns.

The GGF, fortunately has such quality and, additionally,  the loyalty of the best companies throughout the entire supply chain. It’s an enviable but earned position.

At present, I am a member of the GGF’s Political Strategy Committee. It’s made up of elected Members from the following sectors; manufacturing, processing, home improvement and installation. Being on that Committee, I see first-hand all the political work the GGF undertakes and the challenges we face. Not just GGF members but the entire industry.

The GGF’s political activity includes, meeting and engaging with Government departments, taking part in debates in parliament, engaging with MPs, attending All Party Parliamentary Groups (on Fire Safety, Energy Efficiency, Training, Skills and much more) and responding to Government consultations. It’s a considerable output, requiring expert knowledge, great energy, drive and passion.
For many years, the GGF has also built a strong network in the political arena. This has resulted in productive relationships and alliances with like-minded trade organisations such as The British Energy Efficiency Federation (BEEF), National Home Improvement Council (NHIC), Construction Products Association CPA), Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and many more.

The GGF political work is also very well channelled. For over 20 years they have worked with Dods – the leading political monitoring and communications company. In the last 10 years, the GGF has also employed GK Strategy, a political advisory and strategic political communications firm with far reaching and in-depth knowledge of the political world. Working with these expert companies has proved fruitful raising the profile, coverage and awareness of the GGF brand.

With Brexit on the horizon, the GGF is clearly putting the Government funding to good use. An impressive new GGF Brexit Hub has been created – a micro-site housing latest news, key information, updates and guidance on areas such as technical standards, policy and legislation changes, freedom of movement of people and goods. The GGF has also issued special online newsletters, created web advertising and implemented social media and search engine marketing to complement the campaign. In addition, I understand that the GGF has mailed thousands of companies a 16 page guidance brochure on Brexit.

With all this activity, combined with the GGF’s political planning and long standing reputation representing the industry, the Government’s recent confidence in the GGF, only highlights the Federation’s position as the voice of the industry to Government.

I’m delighted to be helping to write that story.

Greg O’Donoghue

 

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