Supporting a national priority

23 August 2023

THE BRITISH Cleaning Council (BCC) has embarked on a crucial campaign to elevate cleaning and hygiene to a national priority in the UK.

With over 450 industry members already endorsing this campaign, the call for action has gained momentum. The campaign's significance is underscored by the release of the National Risk Register, which highlights the looming threat of future pandemics, emphasising the urgency of the measures advocated by the campaign.

The recently published National Risk Register assesses the probability of a future 'catastrophic' pandemic at up to 25%. This alarming assessment lends a heightened sense of importance to the campaign's objectives. The campaign, guided by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Cleaning and Hygiene Industry's report titled "Embedding Effective Hygiene for a Resilient UK," seeks the full acceptance of its 11 recommendations by the Government.

By embracing these recommendations, the UK can bolster its resilience against existing common infections like flu and establish better preparedness for potential public health crises, such as the future pandemic spotlighted by the National Risk Register. BCC's chair, Delia Cannings, aptly underscores the gravity of the situation, stating, "It is literally a matter of life and death."

The backing of the cleaning and hygiene sector is essential in amplifying the voice that advocates for these much-needed reforms. Cleaning and hygiene operatives serve as the guardians of cleanliness standards, particularly critical in public spaces. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, these professionals have proven themselves on the frontline of safeguarding public health, a role that remains indispensable as the risk of future pandemics looms.

The campaign's core message is for the Government to heed the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, placing cleaning and hygiene at the forefront of its priorities. The We Clean, We Care campaign by the British Cleaning Council encapsulates the sense of pride and dedication displayed by skilled cleaning staff as they play a vital, frontline role in upholding hygiene standards.

The recommendations put forth by the Embedding Effective Hygiene for a Resilient UK report are comprehensive and impactful:

  1. Joint Preparedness Team: Establish a collaborative Government-industry team to strategize for public health emergencies.

  2. Readiness Supplies: Agree upon minimum levels of cleaning materials and equipment and ensure their availability.

  3. Production Scaling: Develop strategies to ramp up production during public health emergencies.

  4. Key Worker Status: Bestow key frontline worker status on cleaning operatives and personnel in supply and manufacturing during pandemics.

  5. Skilled Worker Visa: Consider making cleaning staff eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa scheme.

  6. Hygiene Standards: Set minimum hygiene infrastructure and cleaning standards across diverse venues.

  7. Standard Qualification: Create a standard qualification for cleaning within the Apprenticeship Levy framework.

  8. Adequate Training Budgets: Ensure sufficient training budgets for cleaning operatives.

  9. Effective Communications: Disseminate clear, consistent, sustained, timely, relevant, and specific government communications about hygiene during pandemics.

  10. Behavioral Science Campaigns: Utilize behavioral science-based campaigns to encourage hygienic behavior among the public.

  11. Industry Perception: Support efforts to reshape perceptions of the cleaning and hygiene industry.

The British Cleaning Council's campaign isn't merely about advocating for industry interests; it's about safeguarding public health and national resilience. The support garnered so far is commendable, but the campaign calls on every member of the industry and concerned citizens to join in. It's a call to collectively stand for a safer and more prepared future. The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the vital role of cleanliness and hygiene, and this campaign seeks to ensure that this crucial aspect remains at the forefront of national priorities.

To those who have already lent their support, the campaign extends gratitude. For those who haven't, it's an invitation to take a few minutes to contribute to a cause that can have far-reaching and life-saving implications. The cleaning and hygiene sector's resilience can become the cornerstone of a stronger, healthier, and safer UK. Let's echo the call for change and champion the cause of cleaner, safer environments for all. Together, we can elevate cleaning and hygiene to the national priority it deserves.