Inquiry Into Role of Cleaning Sector During COVID Pandemic Imminent
30 August 2022 | Updated 27 September 2022
MPs will shortly begin a significant inquiry into the role of cleaning and hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The remaining two sessions of the All-Party Parliamentary Group were postponed following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but new dates are now planned on 11 October and 18 October.
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The review, “Embedding Effective Hygiene for a Resilient UK” will critically examine the national approach to cleaning during the pandemic.
Recommendations will be taken forward to increase disease resilience to current common infections and help inform the UK’s response to any similar future public health emergency.
The three sessions will take evidence from public health experts and many industry firms and associations. The report is expected to be followed by a roundtable event within the industry which will consider how to take forward the findings:
6 September: A public health expert in hygiene promotion and a Director of Public Health who has led on the local implementation of public health measures
13 September: Contractors who delivered cleaning services at the time, alongside suppliers and manufacturers of cleaning and hygiene products which were very much in demand during the pandemic
20 September : Owners and landlords of a variety of buildings who had to deliver high standards of cleaning and hygiene during the pandemic, in order to protect the public.
All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Cleaning and Hygiene Industry
Throughout the pandemic, the group fought for cleaning and hygiene workers’ right to be recognised as key workers.
APPG Chair Nigel Mills MP said: “We would all like to believe that COVID has gone away and there’s no risk left but that’s not the case.
“None of us want to see any restrictions return, so it is key going forward to put in place measures that can improve hygiene levels, slow down the spread of infectious diseases while letting us get on with our normal lives.
“The aim of this enquiry is to look at what those sensible measures could be, who should implement them and what, if any, regulatory changes are required.”
“The industry and its professional, skilled staff played a vital and frontline role in helping fight COVID-19 that should have been recognised by government. Nevertheless, nationwide there were a great number of issues that hampered the UK’s response to the pandemic, ranging from the shortage of resource to the lack of supplies in materials and PPE which resulted in a variety of concerns amongst which were pop-up suppliers offering the public unquantifiable cleaning and hygiene products."
– Jim Melvin
Chair, British Cleaning Council
BCC Chair Jim Melvin added: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, by definition, there was a national focus on cleaning and hygiene and its essential role keeping key workers and the public healthy, safe and well.
“The industry and its professional, skilled staff played a vital and frontline role in helping fight COVID-19 that should have been recognised by government.
“Nevertheless, nationwide there were a great number of issues that hampered the UK’s response to the pandemic, ranging from the shortage of resource to the lack of supplies in materials and PPE which resulted in a variety of concerns amongst which were pop-up suppliers offering the public unquantifiable cleaning and hygiene products.
“Going forward, the nation cannot lose its focus on hygienic cleanliness and the importance of the industry – which is one of the ten biggest in the UK - simply has to be recognised.
“The UK has to learn the lessons of the past two or three years and change our national culture to embrace hygiene in a manner that ensures high standards, along with correct procedures and techniques, are understood and adopted throughout.
“Hygiene has to be embedded as a top priority for this country in the future and cleaning technicians must be recognised as being skilled professionals performing an essential role that is critical to public health and wellbeing.
“In this way, the UK will be better prepared for when a new variant or new pandemic inevitably occurs.
“The expert advice and opinions of the cleaning and hygiene industry, alongside our very valued colleagues in the supply chain and the Royal Society for Public Health, delivered via this inquiry, will be hugely important to helping the UK and the government develop a proactive and effective plan for the future and in doing so give the public a hygienic confidence.”
The review begins on 6 September, with the aim of producing a report with policy recommendations which will feed into the national UK COVID-19 Inquiry.
Anyone interested in watching any of the three Zoom sessions during September is invited to email email@example.com by 6pm on the day before the session they want to attend.
Picture: a photograph of a cleaning operative in a retail space using a mop. Rails on clothing can also be seen. Image Credit: British Cleaning Council
Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 August 2022