In the meeting titled, The Cleaning and Hygiene’s Role in Restoring the Public’s Confidence Post-COVID in Using Work and Public Spaces, The All-Party Parliamentary Group are looking at the role cleaning has played during the pandemic and where improvements can be made
The purpose is of the session on Tuesday 20th April………
We believe that cleaning and hygiene needs to continue to be prioritised and highly-visible, and also delivered by professional staff in a sustainable way in our work and public spaces order to restore confidence. But this is not just about what we do during the pandemic. We think this presents an outstanding and much-needed opportunity to change the UK’s culture for good in order that health and wellbeing are always at the top of the agenda and there is recognition of the important role of the cleaning and hygiene sector in achieving that.BCC
We are pleased to see that the role cleaning plays in the recovery of the UK is being given high priority and we too feel that it is important to address the general approach of the cleaning industry. We would support better standardisation and regulation as this would raise the level of service and improve effectiveness of EVERY clean. It is vitally important that cleaning makes a real difference to the user as this will provide confidence in facilities and safety.
We feel it would be prudent to cover 6 keys areas within the sector:-
- Training & Universal Standards
- Professional Products
- Recycling and Disposal
- The approach to tenders
- Appropriate recognition
1. Higher standards of cleaning should be both expected and delivered. There is no point in hiring a cleaning team if the methods used to clean are not of the necessary standard in order ensure the removal of bacteria, viruses, dirt and debris. As there is no regulatory requirement to hold training or accreditation within the industry – anyone can do it which means many businesses are not adequately training their employees in the basics such as colour coding and correct use of chemicals etc. It is imperative that anyone undertaking the tasks meets rigorous standards and will allow themselves to be quality controlled and checked to ensure a consistent standard and service is provided.
2. We would like to see the use of professional cleaning products across the board. Unfortunately, there have been far too many occasions where people and untrained cleaners have used ‘supermarket’ cleaning products in commercial settings which has then caused problems. People believe that because products are readily available in the ‘supermarket’ they are safe to use everywhere, however our experience has shown that in many cases significant damage and injury has been caused by these products. In a worst-case scenario a cleaner was given the advice of mixing of these chemicals which caused quite potent gases and led to the evacuation of a workplace. Professional products will always carry appropriate data sheets which provide full instruction of both the use and the safety measures that are required. There should be a minimum requirement for this across the industry, as well as compulsory training requirements on how these products should be used.
3. Insurance that the meets the needs of both the end user and the industry. Without the correct levels of insurance in place, both the clients and the cleaners could be left with a hefty bill when things go wrong. Many times, we see companies trading without adequate insurance and there have been reports of issues where insurance is not in place at all. It should be a legal requirement to hold Public Liability as well as Employers Liability.
4. There is an urgent need for enhanced recycling options. As a responsible cleaning service provider, we ensure that we recycle and reuse as much of our waste as possible, but the availability of recycling and disposal options varies across the UK. Difficulties in getting access to recycling centres and options leads to increases in illegal collections and a rise in fly tipping. If this is done with cleaning chemicals, it can cause devasting impacts on wildlife and the environment.
5. The Government and Local Authorities need to stop making tender opportunities driven purely by price. Encouraging the lowest possible price only leads to companies having to cut corners in order to be able to deliver any level of service at all. Tenders for cleaning companies should focus on the abilities to provide a high level of cleaning service. Ensuring that all tasks are completed and that the cleans are making a difference to the end user should be the core focus of all cleans. When costs are drastically cut, businesses are forced to rush and reduce the frequency of cleans, which leads to poor standards and substandard practices.
Over the last decade the cleaning of public facilities has been cut back to such an extent that it often feels like they are not cleaned at all. The general public do not want to use these facilities as they are often in an undesirable state and have opted to use private hospitality provisions instead. Whilst these have been shut during the lockdown people have not had the option. The cleaning of public facilities should have become an increased priority to ensure availability and to help reduce viruses and germs being spread.
6. Cleaners contribute to keeping businesses and society going and to keeping us all safe, but unfortunately, they remain largely undervalued. Only during the second lockdown where they identified as key workers’ and the attitude towards cleaners generally needs to be addressed. Their public health contribution should not only be recognised but also rewarded. Without professional cleaning, the pandemic would be considerably worse, and many places would not be able to run effectively without the cleaning teams that work tirelessly in the background.
We welcome tomorrow’s session, and we hope that the outcome for industry and the people, is that the sector sees a greater level of investment and also recognition going forward. For further information about our background please get in touch