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When I joined the industry in 1992, one of its biggest and most active organisations was the Cleaning & Support Services Association – and as successful as it already was, over the years it grew in size and stature, soon becoming THE association to join if you were to convince prospective clients that yours was a professional company and not one of the many ‘cowboy’ organisations that damage the industry’s reputation.
I was sad to see it announced in May 2013 that it was to become part of the Building Futures Group along with the British Institute of Facilities Management, Asset Skills and the Facilities Management Association but realised that with so many different associations representing our industry, this might help us present a united front and thus be taken more seriously by those that doubt the importance of cleaning.
In September that year, the BIFM announced its withdrawal, leaving the others to go ahead and launch the BFG in the Spring of 2014. In December, the CSSA also announced its withdrawal.
My personal view is that the cleaning part of the group – rather than growing in stature because it had become part of a larger body, became ‘swallowed up’ in the mix. Whereas prior to the merger I would receive press statements heralding the industry’s successes and fighting its corner when it was slated for being useless, things suddenly went very quiet.
Cleaning is often referred to as the ‘Cinderella industry’ and while I wouldn’t refer to the other groups involved in the merger as the ‘ugly sisters’ of pantomime fame, you can probably see where I’m going with this, can’t you?
Anyway, over the past year, there have been ever louder and more insistent rumblings about the BFG’s alleged failure to embrace the CSSA membership, which has resulted in many CSSA members becoming disillusioned and simply drifting away.
Today, a meeting is taking place in the City of London to gauge support for a relaunch of the CSSA with a view to re-establishing the importance of the contract cleaning industry as a large employer of people, a significant taxpayer and contributor to this nation's wealth and health.
As it’s ‘press day’ John and I can’t attend, but we will be there in spirit and are hoping that we’ll soon be able to announce that Cinderella has returned to the ball…
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26th November 2015