Uncertainty and confusion for UK cleaning industry?

19th of September 2014
Uncertainty and confusion for UK cleaning industry?

The cleaning industry in the UK needs a clear voice and true leadership, says ECJ’s reporter.

The cleaning industry press deserves  far more credit than it receives for one simple quality. Despite often producing what is not earth shattering copy, especially if one is not involved in cleaning, it tells the truth.

Unlike the popular press it does not involve itself in rumour, unconfirmed reports and innuendo. It largely evaluates the value of an item on its knowledge, imparting value rather than the desire to increase or maintain readership and assessing the matter of ‘public interest’.

This leads to consideration of the ‘story’ value and we find that massive amounts of newsprint or as much as two thirds of a news bulletin are being devoted to inaccurate reports and rumours.

So we can stand smugly proud of the veracity of our press and the organisations which purport to lead the industry. Or can we?

Lately we have seen the growth of politics amongst organisations. After some years of beneficent rule by the British Cleaning Council (BCC) during which peace reigned, suddenly all is change and confusion.


Though the BCC did not achieve all the original founders hoped, nevertheless it helped to  blend the various bodies representing particular sectors and tidied up the exhibition jungle where almost every month there would be a show - each claiming to require essential attendance. BCC backed The Cleaning Show as offering all things to the industry and though it did not quite achieve this, it produced a strong show and raised money for various  projects nominated by BCC members for funding.

Lately however, connected to an extent by the economic situation, both partition and attendance have fallen away considerably. The decision to move the show  to London has been taken and it will be interesting to see if this produces the effect the organisers and the industry need.

But a more significant change has taken place in the corporate structure. It would not be unfair to say the BCC’s influence has diminished a trifle. This is partly due to the growth of FM companies becoming the actual clients of the cleaning contractors and wielding considerable power over them, and other suppliers.

This has also been complicated by the arrival of a new kid on the block in the shape of the amalgamation of the initially Government-backed Asset Skills, the Facilities Management Association (FMA) and the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA) - the Building Futures Group (BFG).

BFG has announced itself as “the only organisation collectively representing the housing, property, cleaning, parking and facilities management sectors in the UK”. Other cleaning industry bodies are said to feel they were slighted or ignored during its formation.

All of this shows that elaborate promises, uncertainty and confusion in governance are not what the cleaning industry needs or wants. To act decisively in establishing the importance of the industry there is a need for clear command and cooperation between various associations to present a united body representing the industry to the Government and the general public at large.

We currently do not have that and it is looking as if we may be drifting further from it.


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