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BICSc in the noughties and beyond

Anglia Way

Mike Sweeney

Stan Atkins

Premier Court

2000 – PRESENT DAY 

Having moved from George Row to Anglia Way in Northampton in 1998, the concept of the ‘Millennium Project’ was developed, this was to turn the ground floor of the building into what effectively would be a training centre, which was referred to as ‘The Bridge’.

At the time, a dedicated chairman for the fund was appointed in Brian Long, who was also greatly assisted by Colin Hasson with the finances of The Institute. The Bridge was officially opened in 2000 during the Birmingham Cleaning Show and a coach was laid on from Birmingham to Northampton for those who wished to attend the official opening. This was the beginning of a new chapter for BICSc.

As BICSc settled into the millennium, Mike Sweeney had done an excellent job of stabilising the Institute and had moved it forward.

Many of the same processes and BICSc familiarities remained, including the Cleaning Operators Proficiency Certificate (COPC) training programme, which included food premises and toilet cleaning training, all cloned from the original basic version of COPC.

The Institute enjoyed a period of stability. However, the systems remained as they were, with most of the work being carried out by volunteers, council members, or committees. It could be said that the Institute itself didn’t have a real identity. This was a time when there were more council members than staff, but things were about to change.

With the departure of Mike Sweeney, the Institute went through a further twelve months of change, under a new Chief Executive who did not come from the cleaning industry and perhaps didn’t quite understand the nuances of the sector that, at times, do require further consideration.

After his departure, long-time serving council member, Colin Hasson (RIP), took up the role of Director General to restabilise the Institute and bring it back on track. After some months of interviewing, a new Director General, Stan Atkins, took up the post in October 2007. Stan, who had spent most of his career working within contract cleaning was somewhat surprised by the systems and processes that were in place in the mid 2000s. The Institute paid everybody by cheque, which were posted out to staff and suppliers. The existence of branches and regions, which in days of old had thrived, were now waning in numbers. For the first two years in the role, Stan attended every branch meeting and noticed attendee numbers were dwindling. This wasn’t due to lack of interest from the membership, but due to the arrival of social media and the internet – why drive 50 miles to a meeting to ask questions when you can ‘ask Google’.

It was also apparent that online systems and processes back at the ranch were, perhaps, slowing things down. The staff to Council member ratio was 22:5, respectively.

 

The Institute was, at that time, run by committee’s that made decisions only when they met, which up until the 1990s was considered an acceptable way of running a business.

By the mid 2000s communications and the way of conducting business had changed. Decisions needed to be made sooner rather than later – waiting for a committee to have another meeting before a decision could be made (even if it was to purchase a computer for a staff member) became a hindrance.

It took months/years for the right team to be in place. There was churn of staff that hadn’t been seen before or since – up until 2008, no one had ever actually left. With the new team, systems and processes in place, most of the functions that council members and volunteers had kindly previously undertaken now shifted to the team within.

Moderators, who the Institute did not employ, were replaced by Verifiers who were employed directly. The verification process became an in-house operation – from a consistency point of view, this made perfect sense.

There was more change to come. More recently, 2013 saw the birth of BICSc Business Services (BBS), the commercial arm of the Institute delivering BICSc training and other industry support services. Through BBS, there was a time when Associates would provide BICSc training. Today BICSc training is only delivered by directly-employed members of staff.

2019 saw the acquisition of number 4, Premier Court in Moulton Park. This meant that the current home of BICSc, 8 and 9 Premier Court, could be converted into a training suite where BICSc could deliver face-to-face training – direct delivery allows for greater consistency across the board.

The Cleaning Professional’s Skills Suite is reviewed every 3 years, and is synonymous with BICSc. Another sure sign of progress came when the Assessor app was launched alongside version 3 in 2020.

The Cleanlogic™ brand umbrellas the Institutes specialist certificated training courses, and now includes free educational courses on colour-coding and hand hygiene as well as management and supervisor-level training such as work rates and work loading and calculating and costing.

BICSc has also penned industry related literature over the years, including publications such as ‘Best Value’ and its most recent addition ‘BICSc Standards & Best Practice’, the ‘go to’ for the commercial cleaning sector, and is also offered free to Corporate and Accredited Training Members.

The BICSc Annual Awards have been a mainstay for many years. After a hiatus in 2020, they will return in September, in a lower key daytime affair, due to the sign of the times. It is an important event that celebrates those who strive to uphold BICSc standards within their organisations, it is also a time to recognise extraordinary individuals who genuinely go the extra mile.

Today BICSc Council consists of 9 voluntary members, including the Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Individual and Corporate representatives. Separately the BBS board comprises of BICSc Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, BICSc Chairman and an advisor.

The Institute weathered the dark side of the pandemic well and is now stronger for it. During 2020 BICSc offered free advice and support around best practice and disinfection via the website. There was also recognition for a special few by way of the Thumbs Up Awards, which were presented to a selection of nominated members who had gone above and beyond at the peak of the outbreak.

For a time during 2020, there were just eight members of staff working, with other members of the team furloughed for a few months in order to protect the Institute’s funds. All staff have kept their jobs, and there is growth in Membership and training.

There are many things that make BICSc a success – a huge debt of gratitude is owed to those who have served as Council members over the years for their volunteer work and time. To the founder, Eric Hill, who had the vision to make a change. Then there is the army of BICSc members who continue to show their support through these ever-changing times. To Team BICSc who make it all happen day-to-day, all of these people have played a part in making the Institute what it is today – the market leader for industry training and education.

 

 

So, what does the future hold?

Future growth is looking strong – interest in BICSc membership and training is at an all-time high. The virtual training platform has welcomed close to 2,500 candidates since its launch earlier this year, and there is still a huge demand for face-to-face training.

Here’s to The British Institute of Cleaning Science, an established and well-respected organisation, and to the future of industry training, education, standards and, of course, protecting the operative! Happy 60th anniversary to you!

 

P.S. There is no resting on the laurels here – watch this space as 2022 has something special in store!

Key events that happened in the noughties and beyond

Apple launches the iPod

The euro enters circulation within the worlds financial markets

London’s skyline is added to with the Gherkin

Check out BICSc in the nineties

Contact Us

9 Premier Court
Boarden Close
Moulton Park
Northampton
NN3 6LF

Email: info@bics.org.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1604 678710

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