Several member associations of the British Cleaning Council (BCC) have urged the government to intervene to support the cleaning industry through the coronavirus pandemic.
The call comes in a BCC statement detailing how many of its member organisations have been responding. Many have adapted rapidly to the changes to their operations, including developing facilities in the UK and Europe to avoid a repeat of supply chain issues experienced earlier in the year.
But some feel that further support is required to ensure that buildings are being cleaned correctly to minimise the risk of infection.
The Federation of Window Cleaners (FWC) called for clearer guidelines on internal cleaning, particularly within hospitals and nursing home environments. Its 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, a director at the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA), who is also the BCC’s deputy chair, praised the work undertaken by cleaning operatives but called on the industry and government to increase training and skills in the sector.
“We believe there is an opportunity to review the lessons learned during the pandemic, both good and bad, to collectively increase skills training for operatives. After the vital work they have done during the pandemic, cleaning operatives can surely no longer be considered to be low-skilled.”
The Business Services Association (BSA) joined the BCC two years ago. Lauren Kyle, speaking on the BSA’s 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.