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A couple of times since the pandemic reared its ugly head, I've written in these Leaders about the fraud and corruption that took place in many parts of the world, whereby - with everyone's focus on the events that were unfolding - some of the more unscrupulous amongst us took advantage of the situation; with some companies and individuals fraudulently claiming support payments during lockdown, Government departments awarding contracts for the supply of Personal Protective Equipment and other pandemic response-related products to those who shouldn't have had them and the supply of sub-standard equipment - or failure to supply - to name just a few. I recall congratulating the ISSA on its call for those involved in the US to be held accountable. The sums involved were astonishing and it's the taxpayers all over the world who'll be footing the bill for many generations to come.
A report was published this morning by the UK's National Audit Office, headed: 'Tackling fraud and corruption against Government' and although I haven't been able to do much more than skim through it, I can see it's going to make interesting reading. And while it's a UK report, I can already see that there will be lessons to be learned from it by people and governments everywhere. I hope similar investigations are being carried out all over and that those involved in committing crimes will one day be held to account.
The report says that Government's vulnerability to fraud and corruption rose during the pandemic as a result of its response, which involved spending more on areas that are inherently vulnerable to fraud and corruption - such as buying equipment - in a time of high demand and giving grants and loans direct to individuals and businesses. It says that as Government needed to respond quickly to the unfolding pandemic, it often did so by prioritising speed when setting up these new initiatives, over reducing the risk of fraud and corruption, and diverted compliance and counter-fraud staff away from their normal roles. It also refers to previous reports that identified ways public bodies could have better managed fraud risk without impairing the emergency response - including faster transparency, better management of conflicts of interest, addressing known vulnerabilities sooner and timely financial reporting. You can read it at: https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/tackling-fraud-and-corruption-against-government-summary.pdf
Interestingly, it mentions that in the latest Transparency International survey of public and business perception of corruption, the UK, while still ranking highly for trust, fell from 8th out of 180 countries in 2017 to 18th in 2022 for the perceived level of corruption. I haven’t yet read this survey, but I’m looking forward to doing so!
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This Week's News
A new report has found that taking steps to reduce a business's carbon footprint has a direct impact on improving employee retention. The research by Carbon Commitment revealed that 57% of employees believe their employers aren't doing enough to cut their carbon footprint.
To remedy this, Britain's sustainability and money saving platform - SaveMoneyCutCarbon - has launched a 12-month Carbon Mentor programme, aimed at encouraging staff to learn, employ practical changes in their home and workplace, and reap rewards - all while providing quantifiable data for firms to report on their ESG strategies.
You can now register to attend ISSA Pulire, which is taking place from 9th to 11th May at Fiera Milano Rho, Italy and which features, for the first time, a pavilion dedicated to pest management - organised in collaboration with Sinergitech.
Aimed at all those who need professional cleaning, pest control and laundry products in their business, including dealers and wholesalers, cleaning service and facilities management companies, hospitality and food service companies, the healthcare sector, commercial and industrial laundry sector and pest control service companies, the show will feature a huge range of machinery, chemical products, equipment and components for professional cleaning and hygiene, for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
From dressing up like Spiderman during recess to advocating for a mosquito sprayer to protect children from bites, these custodians are truly top-notch.
Violence and aggression at work can have a serious impact on your workers' physical and mental health. In 2019-2020 there were 688,000 reported incidents of violence at work.
Cleaning specialist Prime Facility Services has been awarded a five-year contract with Wrekin Housing Group. The contract covers a range of sites for Wrekin, which provides affordable homes for more than 28,000 people across Shropshire, Telford, and Wrekin and Staffordshire.
"We were delighted to welcome Prime Facility Services as our new cleaning contractor,” says Anita Francis, area manager with The Wrekin Housing Group. “Its submission met all our requirements and we have been very impressed with all the work so far. The quality of the cleans is very high, the people work safely and it's fantastic to work with a local company that shares our values."
Soft services specialist Churchill has joined the Infection Prevention Society as a corporate member. The IPS is an independent charity with 2,000 members that informs, promotes and sustains evidence-based infection prevention policy and practice to create a health and care system where no person's health and wellbeing is harmed by preventable infection.
Through its membership, Churchill will have access to research and insight from various sectors across the country, access to new innovative products and software, and the chance to attend regional forums and learning events.
One of the UK's leading universities, Nottingham has around 45,500 students and 7,000 staff. The University cleaning team sought a single system to clean, virtually touch-free, all bathrooms, changing rooms and shower areas on campus.
As part of the new contract Sodexo will be introducing a number of infection prevention initiatives including SureWash hand hygiene training technology, a system that can teach and assess hand hygiene technique and deliver Infection Prevention and Control education as well as black light testing to aid in detecting hidden pathogens on surfaces such as walls, furniture and high-touch areas.
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