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WCEC’s new Master progresses on a new mission

19 September 2019

As Barrie Torbett reprises his role as the Master of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners (WCEC), he champions extending chartered accreditation to a generous spectrum of the cleaning industry.

In April 2019, Barrie Torbett was officially installed as the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners. It’s not an unfamiliar role to him, as he was the Master between 2010 and 2011. This time around, committed as ever, Barrie has his sights set on overseeing the next phase in the WCEC’s development as a leading institution for the betterment of the cleaning industry.  

In 2010, the WCEC was awarded its Royal Charter. Unlike years past, it is now much harder for an organisation to attain chartered status as the Privy Council has tightened the rules and qualifications. The chartered status allows the WCEC to develop a chartered register of members, and inclusion is subject to the rules and conditions that the WCEC sees fit. This initiative, while a popular suggestion at the time, was not fully implemented and now Barrie intends to finish the job - hopefully by May 2020 before he passes the mantle to his successor.  

With the help and support of other key members including the senior warden, Gary Fage, and the junior warden, John Shonfeld, Barrie is going to focus on completing the launch of the chartered accreditation register. The rules and other conditions of inclusion have been drafted and submitted to the Privy Council for consideration.

Chartered register

The WCEC is committed to growing as an organisation dedicated to championing the highest standards throughout the cleaning industry. To help achieve this, the intention is to establish a chartered register that comprises senior members of the WCEC, to attain recognised accreditation. Members, like Barrie, who have worked consistently in or with the industry for decades with extensive experience and expertise, will be eligible.  

The best part about this chartered accreditation scheme is that it will be offered industry-wide, including, for example, to manufacturers or distributors who aren’t necessarily members of the WCEC. The chartered accreditation will stand apart from the Worshipful Company even though it has instigated it. This has required obtaining permission from the Privy Council, with very thorough legal checks on the supporting materials. 

Pilot schemes

The WCEC is now in a position to run a number of accreditation pilot schemes. The candidates will be able to upload their application online and complete their submissions. However, they will still have to attend an interview panel of their peers to fully qualify for accreditation.

Barrie says: “The final draft document that we have submitted to Privy Council has been approved; so now we need to road test, before releasing this scheme to the industry. These are exciting times, adding another level of benchmarking to harness our experts for the continued growth of the cleaning industry.  We are always keen to develop WCEC membership, but we are also striving for quality and sustainable membership for the continued improvement of the industry.”

Barrie is very keen, much like the other 110 Livery Companies, for people to learn more about the Livery movement. This also extends to members of the cleaning industry who may be under the impression that the Livery is inaccessible, or ‘an old boys’ club. 

Barrie continues: “We’d like to break that myth wide open. The foundation of our work at the WCEC has been built on activities spread far and wide. We undertake several initiatives promoting education and charity – whether within or outside the cleaning industry - whilst also supporting and collaborating with other key institutions. In addition, we still strive to become even more inclusive.”

The WCEC will be announcing their pilot scheme in due course and extending the chartered status opportunity to a test group. No doubt the cleaning industry will be watching in anticipation for the completion and full activation of the process.