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Some 18 months after joining the cleaning industry I attended my first British Institute of Cleaning Science Annual Dinner. I think it was in 1993/94 and Dame Shirley Porter was the after dinner speaker (I believe in her capacity as President of the Institute - although Colin Hasson and other industry stalwarts might correct me on both counts).
The main gist of Shirley's talk was that if the industry wanted to be taken seriously by the general public and the establishment, it needed to be less fragmented. She reeled off a list of the various industry associations and said that they should work more closely together, as despite their various differences; they had a common interest - the need to ensure that our buildings and open spaces are kept clean, safe and hygienic.
Some years later the idea of having one secretariat rather than each association running its own was put to me and I could see it made sense - just think of all the money it would save! Indeed as general secretary of the Association of Building Cleaning Direct Service Providers some years later, like the proverbial turkey voting for Christmas, I recommended it to the National Executive Committee.
The ABCD still has its own very able General Secretary but other associations have gone down the route of using a joint secretariat and this is being handled very professionally by Andrew Large and his team at the Cleaning & Support Services Association. This week I received a press release announcing that the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association, which for years has been ably run by Graham Fletcher, was to join them. "We're heading in the right direction," was my first thought.
The release is below and you will also see a response to it from past CHSA Chairman John Balshaw. John feels that the various industry associations can experience some issues if there is an umbrella organisation handling their administration... if for example, a contractor damages a floor whilst cleaning it, he or she could look to the equipment or chemicals supplier for compensation because, perhaps, what had been supplied wasn't right for the job. As John said, each would normally ask their particular association's legal help line - paid for as part of association membership - to deal with the dispute. His question: "How will that type of situation be handled if one secretariat's dealing with everything?" made me ponder a bit.
As you will see from John's email, he has other concerns that he is voicing and as Cleanzine wasn't party to the negotiations or decisions I cannot comment on that side of things. However, I still feel that there is a case for having just one secretariat and such is the immediacy of Cleanzine that we are able to bring you both sides of the argument in the same issue. And just as Shirley Porter did all those years ago I'm throwing it open for discussion.
What do you think?
29th November 2012