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

Winter illnesses highlight the need for common sense action on cleaning and hygiene

By Delia Cannings, Chair of the British Cleaning Council. (This column first appeared in Tomorrow’s Cleaning magazine).

I was delighted to see my colleague Jim Melvin’s letter about hand hygiene printed in The Times recently because it helps keep the spotlight on the important issue of how improved hygiene can help protect the health of the public.

Jim, as many readers will know, is an esteemed former British Cleaning Council Chair and current Master of BCC member The Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners (WCEC).

His letter called for the Government to lead a ‘targeted hygiene’ campaign to support the owners and operators of public spaces to implement measures to help the public practise simple and effective hand hygiene.

He argued that by helping to suppress the spread of disease, this would ‘reduce pressure on health services, maintain productivity and increase the public’s still fragile confidence in using public transport and public places’.

There were examples of major events where these measures had been successfully implemented, he wrote, adding that there was a ‘moral imperative’ to quickly take ‘proven actions’.

This call seems more appropriate than ever right now as so many people seem to be sick. You hear coughing and sneezing in the street, in the supermarket, all over the place.

Illnesses such as colds and flu are much more widespread in the winter and Covid is still a major worry, so you would think taking steps to stop the spread of these illnesses is just common sense. Yet so far, the Government does not seem to think so.

Last year, the BCC and 21 industry associations endorsed a campaign for the Government to adopt the recommendations in the Embedding Effective Hygiene for a Resilient UK report.

While Jim’s letter put the focus solely on hand hygiene, the excellent and detailed report made 11 recommendations to put cleaning and hygiene at the heart of the national agenda and recognise the vital and frontline role of sector staff.

The idea was to make the UK better prepared for a future pandemic and much more resilient to current common infections, such as flu.

Flu is a killer. Excess deaths in England associated with flu infections were on average 13,500 for the five years before the Covid-19 pandemic.

As well as saving lives, the measures would cut admissions to hospitals and ease the winter pressures affecting the NHS.

I wrote last year to PM Rishi Sunak about this campaign and called on the Government to adopt the report in full.

We recently received an extremely disappointing and frustrating reply from Health Minister Maria Caulfield MP, which described the UK’s pandemic response capabilities as ‘flexible and well-tested’ and said that the departments concerned were taking further steps to plan and prepare for a range of pandemic and emerging infectious disease scenarios and a further review was underway.

What this complacent letter did not do was engage with our important campaign and give it the serious thought it deserves. Instead, the Government just dismissed what we have to say.

It is completely unacceptable for the Government to treat our industry, one of the biggest in the UK, this way.

Until the Government is prepared to take the kinds of steps our industry recommends, not only will the UK be vulnerable to a future pandemic but too many people will continue to lose their lives every year from common illnesses such as flu.

Please email your MP asking them to back the report. Anyone from the sector can download a supporting letter from the BCC’s website to adapt and send to their MP.

You can do that, and find out details of your MP, by visiting.  www.britishcleaningcouncil.org/2023/02/06/download-letter-here.

Your support is vital. Thank you.

Transforming careers: stepping stones from apprenticeship to chartership

By Lorraine Larman, Senior Warden of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners discusses the positive change to career paths as the Level 2 Cleaning Hygiene Operative Apprenticeship gains approval. (This column first appeared in Cleaning and Maintenance online).

Cleaning Hygiene Operative Apprenticeship

The recent approval of the Level 2 Cleaning Hygiene Operative Apprenticeship affords individuals a more defined path to career development in the sector. The WCEC welcomes this development, which strengthens the professional appeal of our industry.

For many, starting out in the cleaning and hygiene industry begins without a clear understanding of potential progress. However, initiatives, like the newly approved apprenticeship scheme allows employers to invest in comprehensive training for their staff, ensuring the development of essential skills and knowledge required for success in the cleaning sector. Furthermore, employers have a unique opportunity to gift up to 25 percent of their Apprenticeship Levy funds each year to other businesses, further boosted by the Government with a 10 percent top up.

Individuals participating in the apprenticeship gain hands-on experience, learn best practices, and acquire industry-specific knowledge, setting the stage for a lifelong journey of growth and development in cleaning and hygiene.

Good foundations with BICSc

So many careers in cleaning begin with training through the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) standard. The BICSc has served as a practical foundation that transcends language barriers and eliminates written tests. It’s an excellent precursor to the apprenticeship for those envisioning a long-term career in cleaning. Let’s not forget that the industry offers diverse career opportunities, with leaders who started as cleaning supervisors progressing through the ranks to achieve Chartered status, already running their own companies, and mentoring others. With drive and support, there’s such rich career potential, which must be acknowledged.

Recognising your experience and expertise

The introduction of the Chartered Practitioners Register (CPR) has been a significant development to elevate the professional standing of the cleaning industry. It recognises excellence and expertise, providing a clear pathway for professionals to ascend the ranks.

Professionals following these paths not only advance their own careers but also play a vital role in shaping the future of the industry. This is a journey with the potential for lasting impact, from the earliest days of apprenticeship to the pinnacle of chartered recognition. It must be fuelled by a commitment to and provision of continuous learning, excellence, and passion for contributing to a safer, cleaner world.

To enquire about the Chartered Practitioners Register: CPR@we-ec.com

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