Respect and recognition for cleaning sector through APPG

6th of April 2021 Article by Lynn Webster
Respect and recognition for cleaning sector through APPG

In the UK, an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the cleaning and hygiene industry has been inaugurated. Lynn Webster reports for ECJ.

The pandemic has brought significant opportunities for the cleaning industry, not least recognition of the value of cleaning operatives on the frontline, and the perception of our sector. Cleaning and hygiene have been, and continue to be pivotal to many operations, from healthcare, public services and transportation to food retail and manufacturing - providing safe environments, protecting the wellbeing of employees and the general public.

It is therefore a significant step forward that through the work of the British Cleaning Council (BCC) an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has formally been inaugurated. With the support of Stephen Kerr, previously of Kimberly-Clark and now MP for Stirling, a total of 53 MP’s from six parliamentary parties along with three members of the House of Lords joined the Group. They are the Rt Hon The Lord Lamont of Lerwick and the former ceo of Mitie, the Baroness McGregor-Smith along with the Baroness Greengross, OBE, who will become joint chairman with Nigel Mills, MP for Amber Valley.

The APPG will represent the interests of the cleaning and hygiene sector in Parliament and influence MPs, ministers and government, ensuring policy-makers are aware of the vital work of the sector and that our voice is heard in decisions that affect it.

The cleaning industry represents some 1.6 million people and provides €62.5 billion towards the UK economy, featuring as one of the top 10 industries. There will be some key areas to be addressed which were explained by Paul Thrupp, BCC chairman, including; approval of the status of cleaning operatives as key and essential workers; providing a recognised cleaning training organisation; a fair living wage; promoting of wellbeing and health awareness; addressing modern slavery; accelerating sustainability and waste to zero targets; removal of unregulated providers and unsubstantiated product claims.

The first of these will inevitably surround the role of cleaning in tackling the pandemic. This included providing the reassurance and confidence in returning to the workplace and to visiting of other venues and public spaces.

Other topics included the impact of effective hand hygiene. Whereas there is regular promotion of the need to wash hands regularly and effectively, the “when” is often lost. The International Scientific Forum for Home Hygiene (IFH) has issued its “moments” when harmful microbes are most likely to be spread:

• Entering and leaving a public space
• During food handling
• Whilst eating, especially using fingers
• After using the toilet and when changing a nappy
• When coughing, sneezing and nose blowing
• Touching surfaces frequently touched by other people
• Leaving a work station
• Handling and laundering ‘dirty’ clothing and household linens
• Caring for domestic animals
• Waste handling and disposing of refuse
• Caring for an infected family member.

Baroness McGregor-Smith was keen to consider a profession accreditation and licensing regime and another development toward self-supply for products and services.

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