BCC and member columns in the news

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

To read the columns as they originally appeared, please visit https://cleaningmag.com/columnists and https://www.tomorrowscleaning.com/back-issues

A highlight of the industry’s calendar

By Jim Melvin, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council (BCC). (This article was first published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in March).

March is an important and exciting month for the cleaning and hygiene sector, featuring the highlight of the industry’s year – the Cleaning Show.

The British Cleaning Council are co-producers of the UK’s biggest and best trade show and I am proud to welcome attendees.

There will be lots to see and do at the UK’s leading event for the industry, which runs from 14-16 March at the ExCeL, London. It will be a rewarding and interesting few days.

The show features some of the industry’s leading suppliers and manufacturers, the ever-popular conference programme and an invaluable opportunity for thousands of attendees to connect and network.

Over 100 suppliers will exhibit including some of Europe’s leading and most innovative firms such as Jangro, Numatic, Makita UK, Karcher UK, Nilfisk and SC Johnson Professional. Sustainability and cleaning technology will be key themes.

I’m also looking forward to hearing some of the industry’s leading experts discuss the big issues affecting the sector as part of the conference programme.

After the event is opened by the Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Cleaning and Hygiene Industry, Nigel Mills MP, I will discuss the post-pandemic cleaning and hygiene sector, with BCC Deputy Chair Delia Cannings speaking the next day about education opportunities for the industry.

Other speakers representing BCC members include Paul Ashton of the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA), Lorcan Mekitarian of the Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA) and Neil Spencer-Cook and Denise Hanson of the British Institute for Cleaning Science (BICSc).

You’ll also be able to hear finalists in the CSSA Innovation Showcase discuss their innovations and why not visit the innovation show’s pavilion to find out more about the industry’s most innovative cleaning products, services and initiatives. Another event not to miss will be the Window Cleaning World Cup.

From our perspective, an important aspect of the show will be my appeal on behalf of the cleaning and hygiene industry for your help! During my talk, I’ll be asking you as colleagues to speak up for your industry and lobby MPs on your industry’s behalf.

The BCC and member associations are understandably frustrated by the lack of interest from MPs (with the exception of Chairman Nigel Mills MP) and all political parties in the report by the APPG for the Cleaning and Hygiene Industry, entitled Embedding Effective Hygiene for a Resilient UK.

Since the APPG inquiry was first established last autumn, the BCC has sought extensively to engage MPs and the Government about the report with little response so far. It is a very credible document and deserves to be taken seriously.

The report’s recommendations, if implemented, would put cleaning and hygiene at the heart of the national agenda and help change UK culture to make the industry more socially accepted as well as making the nation much more resilient to current common infections and also much better prepared for future public health emergencies, like the Covid-19 pandemic.

The campaign will be launched under our We Clean, We Care slogan, which aims to reflect the vital, frontline role cleaning staff perform keeping others safe, well and healthy.

So the question I’ll be asking is, we clean but do we care enough to get involved?

I hope attendees will download and adapt a pre-written letter highlighting this issue from the BCC website and send it to their MPs as well as signing our petition, both of which you can access via a QR code.

Look out for more information about this at the Cleaning Show. You can also find out more and pick up a free We Clean, We Care badge by visiting the BCC at stand number C26.

Speak up on behalf of your cleaning and hygiene industry

By Jim Melvin, Chairman, British Cleaning Council (This article was first published by Cleaning and Maintenance online).

If you believe that cleaning and hygiene should be a national priority, as I and the members of the BCC do, now is the time to speak up on its behalf.

We need and are asking for your help please as members of the cleaning and hygiene industry to make sure the sector’s voice is heard in Parliament and by Government.

I say this because I remain incredibly frustrated by the unbelievable lack of interest from MPs and political parties following the recent report by the sector’s APPG.

For months, we have sought extensively to engage MPs and Government but with little response.

At the Cleaning Show this month, we’ll be asking colleagues in our industry to contact MPs themselves about this pressing issue.

We are asking you to download a pre-written letter to send to your MP and also to sign our petition. You can use a QR code to find both of these on the BCC website.

For the avoidance of any doubt, MPs will no longer be able to claim that they weren’t informed about it.

This is because the report from the APPG for the Cleaning and Hygiene Industry, entitled Embedding Effective Hygiene for a Resilient UK, was published last December.

It included 11 key recommendations which, if implemented, would put cleaning and hygiene at the heart of the national agenda, making the nation much more resilient to current common infections and also much better prepared for future public health emergencies, like the Covid-19 pandemic.

In summary, the recommendations were:

· The establishment of a joint Government-industry preparedness team to plan for public health emergencies.

· Minimum levels of cleaning materials and equipment to be agreed and made available in readiness.

· Thought to be given to how to increase production during a public health emergency.

· Key frontline worker status must be bestowed upon cleaning operatives and staff working in supply and manufacturing if a pandemic happens.

· Urgent consideration to be given to making cleaning staff eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa scheme.

· Minimum standards for hygiene infrastructure and cleaning in diverse venues to be agreed.

· A standard qualification for cleaning to be developed within the Apprenticeship Levy.

· Training budgets for cleaning operatives should be adequate.

· Government communications around hygiene in times of pandemic should be clear, consistent, sustained, timely, relevant and specific.

· The Government should use behavioural science-based communication campaigns to promote hygienic behaviour to the public.

· The Government should support the cleaning and hygiene industry in realigning perceptions of the industry.

With flu regularly reappearing and the constant threat of a new Covid variant, we are talking here about measures that will protect people’s health and save lives.

The APPG took evidence from the BCC, the Royal Society for Public Health and a number of experts, cleaning and hygiene clients, and senior industry colleagues across the whole of the industry. Therefore, its recommendations are very credible and deserve to be taken seriously.

We and a similarly diverse expert group held an extremely productive roundtable event in January to discuss how to take the report forward, before going back to Westminster to meet the APPG and feed the contents and recommendations back.

Apart from the APPG Chairman Nigel Mills MP, the response by MPs throughout has been very disappointing. In order for Government to review and accept these proposals, we need MPs and ministers to support them.

To do that, they need to show significantly more interest, as there are arguably almost 218,000 reasons why they should collectively want to ensure that we do everything in our power to demonstrate that we have learned lessons that are reflective of a new process and culture for the future, in order that we significantly reduce the possibility of revisiting the tragic events of the pandemic.

At the Cleaning Show, we will ask the industry to help lobby MPs, under the We Clean, We Care banner. The We Clean, We Care campaign reflects the pride cleaning staff have in the vital, frontline role they perform, keeping others safe, well and healthy.

We clean but do we collectively care enough to take part? We truly need your help please or do we simply accept that this the lack of involvement from those in power is the norm and agree that this is where we seemingly sit?

I genuinely do not think that is what you believe, and hope that we can demonstrate it across our great industry by your active involvement in this campaign!

Watch out for more details both at the show, in the media and via the BCC website.

If you are attending the Cleaning Show, please visit our stand, pick up a free We Clean, We Care badge and show your support.

The biggest and best trade show for the industry is free to attend and runs from 14 – 16 March at the Excel, London. I hope you’ll register for it if you haven’t already.

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