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A year of transformation at the WCEC: the Master's retrospective

Published 22nd March, 2024 by Neil Nixon

A year of transformation at the WCEC: the Master's retrospective

Jim Melvin reflects on his year as Master of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners (WCEC) since undertaking the role in 2023, before he makes way for his successor.

As the WCEC Master, I’ve had the honour of standing at the helm of a livery that has begun a programme of significant transformation in the past year. Our internal projects have been marked by a focused effort to contemporise our processes and appeal to a younger demographic. This includes the introduction of a new livery management system and a complete overhaul of our membership portal. We are not just adapting to change; we are embracing it.

Central to our internal transformation is the review of key documents and procedural resources. Our aim is to not only modernise them whilst maintaining important traditions, but also make them more accessible, ensuring that every member can easily understand and navigate the tools available. This includes streamlining information about the new route to Chartership and guidance on membership. In addition to these structural changes, we have had a new communications strategy and strategic management teams put in place. Drawing on insights from other liveries, we’ve embraced innovative ways to enhance our communications and outreach which has started to result in a notable increase in new members over the past year.

As WCEC Master I’ve been privileged to attend unique events and all of which were very rewarding and memorable experiences. The interaction with professionals, families, and young people during these events has been particularly heartening. From gatherings at Mansion House and other livery halls, our Military Awards, welcoming new Chartered cleaners and taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Show - these external engagements have been enriching and strengthened industry bonds along the way.

I reiterate that this tenure is not about an individual and yet I’m encouraged by our progress during my stint as Master. This is poignant as I acknowledge the outstanding support and assistance that I have had from Past Master Gary Fage, Senior Warden Lorraine Larman, and Junior Warden Darren Marston. I hope that some of our efforts have helped to pave the way for the next Master, ensuring they inherit a better path towards achieving our collective goals. I’m confident that new strategies and plans, especially regarding membership and communications, will guide the livery towards continued success.

My most memorable highlight of this entire journey was undoubtedly my installation ceremony at Mansion House. I have to admit that the anticipation made me quite nervous, as my entire family, including in-laws and friends, gathered in the Egyptian Room to witness my installation. Despite the apprehension, it was a great day, with the WCEC Clerk Mike Jenkins efficiently managing the proceedings. The Lord Mayor's show was another highlight, characterised by superb organisation, genuine fun, and families coming together for a shared positive experience.

Beyond these celebratory occasions, I had also the privilege of meeting judges at the Old Bailey, where their experiences in dealing with the most challenging aspects of their work left a lasting impact on me. The conversations were thought-provoking and emotive, providing me with valuable insights into the depth of their responsibilities.

The past year has been a journey of growth, transformation, and community building for the livery. Internal changes will position us as a more contemporary and accessible organisation, while external engagements have enriched and strengthened our ties with the wider community and other liveries. Additionally, we collaborate with Beam, a charity that champions the homeless; I am also proud of the livery’s reaction to our passion and desire to assist in The Square Mile Hygiene Bank which seeks to eradicate child hygiene poverty. Both projects are close to my heart.

As I step aside, I am confident that our progress in the last year will propel the livery towards continued success over the coming year, embracing change, whilst staying true to our core values and tradition. I am confident that our new Master, Lorraine Larman, will be an outstanding success and I hereby offer the new Master my continued support.

If you are interested in joining the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners, or becoming a Chartered Environmental Cleaner through the Chartered Practitioners Register, please visit:

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