Latest BCC columns in the news

The British Cleaning Council and members write monthly columns for both Cleaning and Maintenance and Tomorrow’s Cleaning magazines. You can read the latest columns below.

To read the columns as they originally appeared, please visit and

Awards put the spotlight on excellence

By British Cleaning Council Chairman, Paul Thrupp

(This article was first published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in January)

It has been a busy time for the cleaning and hygiene sector in terms of awards with British Cleaning Council (BCC) members being nominated for prestigious accolades while other BCC members have been presenting well-deserved awards to people and organisations in our sector.

Both activities shine a spotlight on the quality, excellence and innovation which exists within the UK cleaning and hygiene industry.

Our sector was already changing rapidly as we adapted to the green agenda and new technologies when a huge new challenge emerged last year in the shape of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It would have been easy for our industry to crumble under the unprecedented demands of the pandemic but instead the cleaning and hygiene sector has risen to the challenge admirably, developing new ways of delivering services and going above and beyond to protect the health and safety of others.

Across the industry, we can see this kind of excellence and recent awards activity reflects that.

For example, BCC member the British Toilet Association (BTA)’s work with regards to public toilets during the pandemic has been recognised with an award from the British Standards Institution (BSI).

Last year, the BTA developed guidance that contributed to the BSI guide on Covid-19 measures, responded to numerous calls from the media and gave advice to local authorities from all over the UK about public toilet standards in the face of Coronavirus.

The BSI award is well-deserved recognition for this important contribution.

Meanwhile, our colleagues at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) have also had a huge amount of recognition lately.

The CIWM was a finalist in six categories of the Association Awards UK – the prestigious awards that recognise excellence among trade associations and membership bodies.

As well as being in the running for Individual Member Association of the Year, CIWM’s CEO Sarah Poulter was finalist for Executive Director of the Year, while two colleagues were also in contention for awards.

CIWM’s news and magazine site, Circular Online, and its interactive webinar series were also finalists.

By the time you read this, the results will have been announced and I am hoping that the CIWM have taken home some first prizes.

It was also fantastic to hear that the Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC) had been nominated by one of its members for a prestigious National Association Award.

The FWC was praised for the good value and significant benefits its members enjoyed and for the quality of its website and the customer service it provided.

Winners are expected to be announced on 22 April and again I will be keeping my fingers crossed that they take the first prize.

While these awards are all recognition of the excellence of BCC members, our members have also themselves been supporting high standards in our sector.

Last year, cleaning teams at both Rochdale Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council received well-deserved recognition from BCC member the Association of Building Cleaning Direct Service Providers (ABCD).

The ABCD’s Initiatives Competition fosters and rewards good practice in local authority cleaning services.

Rochdale’s Facilities Management cleaning service won the ABCD’s national competition for its partnership with a local secondary school to provide an intern with a cleaning work placement, while Nottinghamshire was runner up for its innovative Mansfield Bus Station project.

Looking ahead, our colleagues at the Cleaning Support Services Association (CSSA) continue to champion excellence in the cleaning and hygiene sector via their Innovation Showcase.

With the support of fellow BCC member, the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA), the event celebrates the cleaning industry’s most innovative products, services, and initiatives.

Entries are being reviewed during January with the final event taking place later this year.

This year, like every other, I am looking forward to seeing further recognition of the excellence and commitment of everyone within the cleaning and hygiene sector.

What you don’t know about livery companies

By Barrie Torbett, Deputy Master, Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners

(This article was first published in Cleaning and Maintenance in January)

Having twice served as Master of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners (WCEC), it was often suggested that the Livery Companies of the City of London were nothing more that an old boys’ dining club and, unfortunately, that is a perception held by many.

What many people don’t know about is the £70 million per year raised by the City of London Livery Companies in order to support charitable and educational causes.

One such cause is “No Going Back”, which focuses on integrating mainly young offenders back into society.

I would like to ask you to take a few moments to consider what you would do if you had found yourself in this position in your earlier life.

You are 16 and without a job. You get mixed up with the wrong sort of people and find yourself sent to a young offenders institute or prison. Your family disown you. Eventually you are released but have no job, nowhere to live and £42 in your pocket, which is the sum HM Prison Service gives you on release.

In the absence of anywhere else to go, you go back to the group who got you into this position in the first place and before you know it, you are back inside but at least you have a bed and three meals per day.

The current cost to the tax payer for reoffenders is £18 billion with 60 percent of short sentenced prisoners reoffending within the same period.

Along with a number of fellow Livery Companies, the WCEC believes we can make a difference to young people who find themselves in the situation above. The three key issues we need to address are:

  • somewhere to live, even short-term
  • a job
  • a mentor


These are very challenging times with high levels of unemployment due to the Covid crisis and the impact of Brexit still to come, which may see large numbers of the immigrant workforce leaving the UK, creating a shortage of the kind of cleaning and support service sector staff who are already trained and have the skills to carry out roles that, due to the Covid crisis, have gained much needed recognition as an essential service.

I know that a criminal record in our sector is not ideal but maybe somewhere in your organisation there are roles that can be filled by a previous young offender who will have received sector specific training prior to release and as part of No Going Back, Bounce Back, a charity funded by the Livery with long experience, which will be supporting and advising them and you.

In conjunction with the Prison Service, we are developing a bespoke suite of training packages to meet most, if not all, cleaning and maintenance skills.

Or maybe you or some of your senior management could spare some time to mentor these young people who just need to know that they have someone they can talk to who won’t judge them but offer them mental support and advice.

For too many years now the cleaning and hygiene industry has been thought of as something you can do in order to earn a little extra money or a job you take because there is nothing else available.

It is time for our major employers and industry bodies to come together and get the message out that the cleaning industry offers a fantastic career opportunity and is totally inclusive.

There is no doubt that we all face some challenging times ahead but I genuinely believe that we need to take this opportunity to reinforce the importance of cleaning and hygiene in the workplace and that our industry offers a sustainable career.

If you would like to know more about No Going Back please email me in the first instance and I will connect you with our leadership team.

Cleaning and hygiene is crucial to defeating Covid-19

By British Cleaning Council Chairman, Paul Thrupp

(This article was first published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in February)

Lockdowns in England and Scotland following stay-at-home orders in Wales and Northern Ireland, meant 2020 started last month with a repeat of the disruption we experienced in 2019.

The resurgence of the Covid-19 virus in recent months and the latest lockdown has again emphasised the important role of the cleaning and hygiene industry and the bravery of the many operatives who have worked to protect the health and safety of others, often at risk to themselves, throughout the pandemic.

While many members of the public can work from home in a safer environment, many cleaning and hygiene operatives are going to work on the frontline in the fight against Coronavirus.

Our colleagues are helping keep key industries like hospitals and health centres, food production and retail, transport and essential public services going.

Without cleaning and hygiene operatives keeping workplaces free of Coronavirus, people would get sick and these essential industries would grind to a halt.

I’ve said this before, but I can’t praise cleaning and hygiene operatives enough.

The toll on some has have been huge though. For example, members of the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (ahcp) are directly involved in managing and delivering cleaning and hygiene services in most hospitals, primary care and GP clinics and surgeries, nursing, care home and other residential care.

My fellow BCC Director Delia Cannings, also of the ahcp, has described how her colleagues across the country have never relented in their dedication to contain the virus, with many going above and beyond to take on take on extra responsibilities, new standards and practices and set up the Nightingale Hospitals.

She has written about how months of the pandemic have left some colleagues stretched and fatigued and driven rising mental health issues, anxiety, and depression.

So, given the role that cleaning and hygiene operatives are playing in keeping the country going and protecting others and the risks, it is hugely annoying that, ten months on from the start of the pandemic, some of our people are still not classed as key or essential workers.

The BCC has repeatedly called for all our people to be given key worker status. I also want cleaning and hygiene operatives to be prioritised for vaccination, given their role and the dangers.  I trust that our newly formed APPG will be able to drive through a radical change in Government thinking and that workers in the cleaning and hygiene industry will get ‘key or essential’ status, no matter which sector they work in.

Our industry is also helping design and deliver the improved cleaning regimes which will help restore the public’s confidence in public spaces and support our recovery from the pandemic.

It is very relevant here to again highlight the guide to cleaning and hygiene terms that we published last year.

It was designed to clear up any confusion from those outside the industry about what is needed in terms of cleaning and disinfecting to tackle Coronavirus, by providing an industry-agreed source of reliable, evidence-based information to ensure people stay safe and well.

I commend it to anyone without industry experience who is designing a cleaning regime or seeking to ensure a building is safe to use. You can find it on our website at

But the public themselves have a vital role to play in turning the tide against this terrible pandemic.

I urge everyone to respect the lockdown rules to protect yourselves and others and help the country to recover.

Please only leave home for essential reasons. And when you are around other people, ‘Hands. Face. Space’ is more important than ever.

Keeping socially distanced from other people, keeping your face covered and washing hands properly and regularly are vital. High personal standards of hygiene and cleanliness are a key weapon in the war against Covid-19.

Good training is key to good standards of cleaning

By WAMITAB Director of Qualifications and Standards, Katie Cockburn

(This article was first published in Cleaning and Maintenance in February)

Never has cleaning been more important. Keeping surfaces clean is one of the key lines of defence in the fight against the coronavirus. Cleaning teams are frontline workers, making sure that public places like hospitals, shops, offices, factories and warehouses are kept hygienically clean.

It is often assumed that there is little skill in cleaning – we all do it, right? Those who work in the industrial and commercial cleaning industry know this is far from the truth; good training is at the heart of keeping our building interiors (and exteriors) clean. A well-trained team works efficiently and effectively delivering a timely service and keeps on budget. Knowing how to carry out cleaning tasks in the right way, using the right equipment and materials maintains buildings, and in these COVID-19 days helps to stop the spread of germs.

WAMITAB offers a range of qualifications providing knowledge, skills and understanding of specific cleaning tasks as well as supervisory skills. The “on-the-job” assessments mean those skills are gained and applied in a workplace setting. A good starting point is the WAMITAB Level 1 Award in Practical Cleaning Skills, which covers 32 specialisms making it a suitable qualification in a variety of workplace settings – and as the name implies, provides real practical skills.

Underpinning knowledge has its place too in developing staff, and WAMITAB offers a range of taught and tested programmes to address the theory of cleaning. A recent addition to this suite has been the WAMITAB Level 1 Award in the Principles of Infection Prevention and Control, which is a valuable way to equip staff with the basics of keeping places hygienically clean.

In healthcare settings, hygiene is fundamental and the launch this year of the Level 2 apprenticeship for healthcare cleaning operatives has been welcomed, especially as this has been a long-stranding gap in apprenticeship provision. To support its delivery WAMITAB has developed a companion qualification, the Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Healthcare Cleaning, which is available to non-apprentices too.

You can see the benefits of good training at HMP Hindley, which has been working with WAMITAB for over 15 years delivering both cleaning and waste qualifications.

WAMITAB has an exclusive contract as the awarding organisation for cleaning, facilities management and waste/recycling qualification in the prisons in England and Wales.

Understandably, over the last few months the focus has primarily been on cleaning, especially the bodily fluids, spillages and hazardous items (biohazard) specialism. This is a popular programme in a prison setting, and its delivery has aided in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

At HMP Hindley all cleaning is done by specially trained, six-man working parties and individuals are keen to achieve the qualification as cleaning is an attractive job in prison, and upon release the biohazard specialism can open up opportunities for jobs roles with housing associations or for trauma scene cleaning, voids, etc.

Clearly, the BioCleaning Team has a real sense of pride in contributing to the safety of staff, fellow prisoners and visitors. One of the learners who recently achieved the qualification said it had been ‘a good feeling helping during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it was only bio cleaning, it was still a worthy contribution’.

Donna Parkinson, the instructional officer at Hindley, notes that: “The BioCleaning Team has been concentrating on rigorous deep-cleaning of the prison itself, and the prison has remained COVID-19 free. The prison’s Health and Safety Manager has been recognised nationally and awarded the MBE, reflecting the team’s success.”

If you are interested in any of these qualifications or would like to know more about other cleaning qualifications that are available, then please visit where you will find more detail together with information about the training providers who deliver them. Information about becoming an approved WAMITAB centre can also be found on the website.

Scroll to Top