At the end of April the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the UK Cleaning and Hygiene industry, inaugurated early this year, held its first official meeting in Parliament and has, resultantly, been hailed a ‘great success.’
The first official meeting provided the opportunity for prominent figures from the cleaning and hygiene sector to brief MPs and Peers about how to restore people’s confidence in using work and public spaces following the COVID-19 pandemic, and to answer any questions they had.
Key industry figures on the panel included Paul Thrupp, Chairman of the British Cleaning Council, Delia Cannings, British Cleaning Council Director and National Lead for Education and Training, the Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals (achp), and Kim Phillips, British Cleaning Council Director and Chair of the Association of Building Cleaning Direct Service Providers (ABCD).
The video conference was opened by the Chair of the APPG, Nigel Mills MP, and the discussion was facilitated by Stephen Kerr, MP.
This was the first major public meeting for the APPG since its formation earlier this year and it was a vital step in helping to raise the profile of the cleaning and hygiene industry in the eyes of the government, and the public.
The discussion covered the key role that the cleaning and hygiene sector will have, and is currently having, in helping the UK recover from the pandemic and into the future. The public session was also observed by invited guests from the cleaning and hygiene industry and had around 60 attendees in total.
The debate covered a variety of topics with the all-encompassing theme of restoring the public’s confidence in using work and public spaces post pandemic. Topics included:
- the importance of communication in restoring confidence post-pandemic
- the need for improved labelling so that members of the public can differentiate between ‘effective’ hand gels and those being manufactured by untrustworthy companies that don’t actually provide any protection from dangerous pathogens
- the requirement for the public to behave responsibly as restrictions ease with regards to personal hygiene and social distancing in order to help reassure others that public buildings and places are safe and to prevent future COVID-19 case surges
- how the cleaning industry is still absolutely central in preventing the spread of the virus, even with cases at a much lower rate
- the importance of the role played by the cleaning and hygiene industry and its workforce during the pandemic and what we learnt for that, and how everyone working in that industry deserves to be fully recognised and thanked, recognising them as key workers
- the need for further education and training for cleaning and hygiene personnel to continue to ensure the safety of work and public spaces
- the role of innovation and technology in developing products that help to meet the demands of higher cleaning standards
The meeting took place via Zoom, and a full recording of the discussion is available on the British Cleaning Council website here.
As a sector that is annually worth over £54 billion to the economy and employs over 1.6 million people, as well as having a workforce that has been absolutely central to this country’s fight against COVID-19, the APPG also has vital aims of raising wider public interest issues surrounding the sector.
This includes the impact of new immigration rules on the industry, the importance of committing to the real living wage and recognising the workforce and operatives within the industry that have worked tirelessly to keep us all safe for the past year as key workers.