The official voice of  The Cleaning Show

Speak up on behalf of your cleaning and hygiene industry

Published 2nd March, 2023 by Jim Melvin

Jim Melvin

Jim Melvin

British Cleaning Council
The British Cleaning Council

Speak up on behalf of your cleaning and hygiene industry

Jim Melvin, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, reports.

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.

About the contributor

Jim Melvin

Jim Melvin


British Cleaning Council

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