Steven Proudfoot, interim chief executive of the Cleaning and Support Services Association, reports.
The boards of the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA), Asset Skills, and the Facilities Management Association (FMA) have approved plans for the three organisations to merge. This paves the way for the creation of a new body that will provide effective trade body representation with a membership structure made up of businesses (large and small) and service users across the cleaning and support services industry.
Consultation with industry is ongoing based on plans which fall into the following core areas: industry skills education and development, supported by the delivery of training, and a membership offering, delivered by a trade body. A review of activities has identified strong synergies between the three organisations (membership, structures, networks, and policy, alongside other areas of overlap). By merging, they will be able to represent businesses in a powerful, cohesive and less fragmented manner.
The proposed new body will provide a bespoke and cost-effective industry-defined training offer, with learning programmes from entry level one to degree level built on the occupational standards developed by Asset Skills in its role as a sector skills council. It will also offer a cohesive approach to lobbying with the ability to influence policy and will communicate, engage and provide members with the resources they need to develop their business and staff. It will offer the smartest ways to create partnerships so members get the best deal. It will provide a visible, proactive, networking programme that will bring together service providers, supply chains, manufacturers and distributors for mutual benefit. There will also be the resource to respond to changing business models by bringing together experts from the sector and beyond, to work in partnership with academics to develop and deliver innovative solutions that will support members and generate new business opportunities.
The governance structure of the merged organisation has been developed to ensure fair representation across the sector and is able to facilitate additional bodies joining should that be required. The proposed merger can therefore be seen as a stepping stone to a united sector that is recognised by stakeholders for the value it adds to the UK. Plans will be finalised in November following approval of a special resolution by members.