This medium sized primary school had enjoyed a good cleaning service from its three long standing cleaners over many years, however the complaints from the cleaners and the site manager about the lack of support from ‘the council’ had been steadily increasing.
The school had gone through a period when both the two longest serving cleaners had been regularly off sick, the supply of cover staff had been intermittent, and then both cleaners decided to retire. There then followed a period of unreliable and inconsistent staffing, with a high turnover of permanent cleaners and poor cover arrangements, the standards of cleaning in the school inevitably suffered.
When we made our first visit to the school we saw a buffing machine in a store cupboard with a thick layer of dust on it, the School Business manager explained that while they currently had a full complement of staff, none of them had been trained to use the buffing machine.
On day one of our contract we carried out a training needs assessment, and commenced a training plan designed to give all three cleaners the skill they needed to carry out their roles safely and effectively. We implemented our telephone/web based time and attendance monitoring system, allowing us to know, in real time, whether all staff were on site for their shift, and deploy our mobile support teams to cover if needed. The local area manager from our Education Services team carried out regular weekly visits during the cleaning shift, working with the cleaners to continue developing their skills and lifting their motivation levels. We carried out site quality audits on a weekly basis in the first month of the contract, until we were happy that the specification was being followed correctly and the desired standard of cleanliness was being achieved, it was then reduced to the normal monthly frequency.
Once the staff became used to seeing a manager on a regular basis, and recognised that he was there to support them, not just hector them, they responded well to the input and the training. We now have a stable and happy workforce, with little turnover and few absences, audit scores are regularly in the 96-97% region. The Business Manager is happy, she has a clean school, and no staffing problems so she can concentrate on more important aspects of running the school.