Several member associations of the British Cleaning Council (BCC) have got together and have called on the government to intervene and support the cleaning sector through the coronavirus pandemic.
The request comes in a BCC statement detailing the response of its member organisations. Many have adapted rapidly, including developing product pipelines to avoid a repeat of supply chain issues experienced earlier in the year.
However, some feel more support is required to ensure buildings are cleaned to minimise the risk of infection.
The Federation of Window Cleaners called for clearer guidelines on internal cleaning, particularly in hospitals and nursing homes. Chairman Andrew Lee described the last six months as a “long, hard and frustrating period”.
“Something else that would be a clear statement, perhaps from the Health and Safety Executive, [is] that misting, fogging, spraying of disinfectant and sanitising should not be carried out without cleaning.”
Jim Melvin, director at the Cleaning and Support Services Association and BCC deputy chair, praised work undertaken by cleaning operatives, but called on industry and government to increase training and skills.
“There is an opportunity to review lessons learned during the pandemic, both good and bad, to increase skills training for operatives. After the vital work they have done during the pandemic, cleaning operatives can surely no longer be considered low-skilled.”
The Business Services Association (BSA) joined the BCC two years ago. Lauren Kyle, speaking on its behalf, said that BSA outsourced provider members had experienced a mix of reactions.
“Some of which – such as sports and leisure, transport, and retail – have seen a downturn, while others – such as schools, and hospitals – have seen heightened demand for cleaning and disinfection.
“In the longer term, FM industry insights suggest that corporate clients will look to review and rationalise property portfolios to adapt to an increase in agile working, with many employees working more from home. This indicates that there could be changes in the delivery of day-to-day cleaning at client sites in the long term as they review their use of space.”
For the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA), its member organisations are now developing facilities in the UK and Europe to avoid a repeat of the issue whereby supply lines of cleaning products from the Far East were being restricted.
The CHSA launched an accreditation scheme for manufacturers of cleaning chemicals in September. The combination of its code of practice and its accreditation schemes “guarantees its members trade ethically and work hard to maintain standards in the industry”.
In the summer, the body also predicted the “extraordinary” demand for cleaning supplies would continue for the foreseeable future.