The British Institute of Cleaning Science Founded 1961 with over 10,000 members Largest independent body within the cleaning industry

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Minutes of BICS committee (N. Ireland Region) AGM 2014

Mon 19 May 2014 12:00:00 AM EEST

Minutes of BICS committee (N. Ireland Region) AGM 2014

In attendance:-

Peter Hirthe, Mervyn Perry, Johnny Drake, Keith Halliday,  Stephen Wood,  William Carey, Donna McAuley, Damien Martin, Bernard Bogues, Ann Hawthorne, Maria Cunningham, Crawford McIlwaine, Anna McCusker, Pearse Armstrong, Gillian Smyth, Geraldine Smyth, Maureen Totten, Michael Henderson, Eilish Docerty, Paula Cahoon, Breige Larkin, Elsa Witherspoon, John Geraghty.


Ann Hamilton, Susan Orr, Gary Keenan, Colm McGrath.


Current Chairman , Peter Hirthe welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted a very healthy turnout.

Minutes of previous AGM

Current secretary, Keith Halliday read out the minutes of the previous AGM and Mervyn Perry proposed that they were a true record, seconded by Jonny Drake.

Apologies were then taken and noted as above

Chairman’s report

See Below

Secretary’s report

See Below

Treasurer’s report

Members were furnished with this on the day.

Matters arising

Michael Henderson (MH) gave a short presentation on Global Harmonisation. John Geraghty and Jonny Drake asked for the head office proposal that each centre should in future complete 50 assessments per year, be reduced to 20. MH also informed the floor that negotiations were ongoing between BICS BBS and 2 companies in our region regarding the license for an external training centre, as at present we have none. This is because BELBclean have not taken up the offer of sub contracting the work from the mainland BICS BBS.

Election of officers

At this point our current treasure invited Donna McAuley from BELBclean to take the chair and preside over the A.G.M. Donna gladly accepted and the meeting commenced

As per the constitution, a new chairman is only required every second year and as the current chair, Peter Hirthe, is happy to continue then no nominations were necessary.

Keith Halliday proposed John Geraghty as vice Chairman and Peter Hirthe seconded this. Jonny Drake proposed Gary Keenan as Treasurer and Stephen Woods seconded this.

Mervyn Perry proposed Keith Halliday as secretary and Michael Henderson seconded. Elsa Witherspoon proposed Michael Henderson as PR officer and Ann Hamilton seconded this. No other nominations were put forward for office bearers.

Once the above office bearers were in place Keith Halliday proposed that the others in the outgoing committee were re-elected en masse this was seconded by Mervyn Perry.  There were no objections.

At this stage, the Chairman, and secretary addressed the floor to encourage new, additional committee members to come on board and assist with committee business. At this stage it was proposed by Eilish Docerty that Paula Cahoon replace Susan Orr on Committee sice Susan is now based in Dublin. This was seconded by Keith Halliday. Michael Henderson then proposed that Elsa Witherspoon on Committee replace Ann Hamilton since Ann has now retired and Elsa has taken her job role within the trust. This was seconded by John Gerraghty.

The Committee for 2014 are as follows.

Chairman                                           Peter Hirthe

Vice Chairman                                  John Geraghty

Treasurer                                           Gary Keenan

Secretary                                            Keith Halliday

Public Relations Officer                 Michael Henderson

Other Committee members          Colm McGrath, Paula Cahoon, Eilish Doherty, Elsa Witherspoon, Jonny Drake, Mervyn Perry.

Cleaning awards 2014

Peter Hirthe presented the new posters and informed the floor that the entry forms were available to take away or online. This year’s entry is free.

He encouraged everyone to take literature away or down load it from the webpage in order to maximise the number of entries. Keith informed the floor that Belfast City Hall was confirmed as the venue for this year and the date was confirmed as 17th September.


There was no other business at this time

Date of next meeting

This was to be agreed via email from Keith Halliday to the new committee.

All in attendance then retired for a very nice buffet lunch in the foyer. 

Chairman’s Report 2013/14

I would like to welcome everyone to our regions AGM here at La Mon House; I would like to thank you all for your attendance today. Well that is the first year of my chairmanship over and it has been a very successful year for our region. We had two successful winners this year at the annual AGM Gala Dinner, Krystian Witowski from the Belfast Education and library Board, who won the outstanding student of the year award, and Colm McGrath from Aramark, who won the outstanding assessor award, and also well done to one of our committee members Mervyn Perry for his triumph at the Gala golf tournament. "Keep it Up Mervyn"

The Cleaner of the year awards are upon us once again, and they are going to be held at the Belfast City Hall again this year, I would like to thank all those involved with last year’s awards which went very well and I hope the same will apply to this year’s awards, for this reason I would like to ask everyone who can to participate, to do so as much as they can to make this year even better.

I would also like to thank all our sponsors for their contributions, as without them, these awards would not be possible, and we need to promote and commend the hard working staff in all the organisations throughout Belfast and the whole of Northern Ireland.

I am very much looking forward to the next year and hope it is as successful as this this has been.

"Thank you all"


Peter Hirthe MBICsc 

N. Ireland Region BICSc Secretaries Report 2014

Welcome everyone

Thank you all for your attendance today. As another year passes the changes to BICSc organisational structure continues BBS (Bics Business Services) continues to expand, as does BICS International with more members now in the Far East.

At national level our region continues to win awards, can I also add my congratulations to ARAMARK, I know Colm and his team worked very hard and continues to do so to promote the BICSc ethos in his company. 

As for our region, we now have a total of Eleven Certified training centres providing education and certification to their staff. As I have mentioned before this commitment by companies and organisations to raise the standards and motivation within their organisation makes them more attractive to potential employees and to potential customers. I make no excuses for taking this opportunity to commend them for their commitment to their staff and our industry.

They are currently:- The four Health Trusts in Southern, South Eastern, Western and Northern regions of the country. Queens University Belfast, The Royal Victoria Hospital, Aramark, Graham FM, Resource and Robinsons Services. BELBclean still hold a license via BBS to train their own staff.

The companies I have mentioned continue to be committed to their employees (which number in the thousands) and this can only be good for our cleaning standards and recognition of the cleaning industry within the region and country. What it also does is ‘up the ante’ to the other companies trying to grow their business because this is not just a certificate they now have but a commitment to train which they can show at every tender opportunity

It is a shame in my opinion that this year has seen a significant drop in their BICSc training business which appears to be as a direct coincidence to the new pricing structure and co-ordination forced onto them by BICSc headquarters. Currently we have no external training organisation but it is hoped this will be rectified shortly. However I am confident that others will be interested in applying for an external training license so that the good work of making our regions cleaners as professional as possible will still be open to smaller companies.

Individual Membership is still pushing forward and now stands at 73 members. Corporate membership remains strong, although with a lot of National and multinational companies now trading in N. Ireland, it actually can be seen as growing. From our own regional analysis there is at least 31 separate companies now represented within our individual membership.

The move to the new CPSS units is now well established but, as suspected, too many organisations are committing only to the 3 core safety tasks to enable a pass card and the actual basic cleaning tasks are being ignored.

As you are probably aware, our region uses the BICS website to keep all our members and interested parties up to date. I urge you to use this facility for yourself and your companies benefit. You can contact the Northern Ireland region directly through our website . It is also important to note that this year’s entry forms and posters are already upp on this website for you to download and ENTER FREE for the first time in many years, please take this opportunity to nominate any exceptional cleaners that you know will appreciate the recognition for their professionalism.

Finally, and most importantly, the hard working cleaners who we recognise every year here in N. Ireland as providing outstanding service to their employers and customers was again a very successful event. We received nominations from public and private sector companies from all areas of the industry and all regions of the province.

It is my pleasure to again recognise and congratulate the winners in our six categories:-

Declan Smith, Education Category Winner, UUJ

Gerard Darcy, Health Category Winner, Western Health trust

Maria Carser, Retail Category Winner, Robinsons

Ann Mack, Office Category Winner, Aramark

Stephanie Grundon, Hospitality and Leisure Category Winner, Translin

Sebastian Wilchelmi, Manufacturing Category Winner, Resource

The judges had another hard decision to make in crowning the overall winner for Northern Ireland. This year your committee spend a condierable time revamping the questions and judging criteria in order to mke it more relevant to each category and give our judges a more significant role. After much deliberation, Sebastian Wilchelmi, Manufacturing Category, from Resource was named the overall Northern Ireland Cleaner of the Year 2013

As you have heard your committee has been working on revamping the awards and we have already secured The City Hall in Belfast on the morning of September 17th 2014 for our award venue. Please make a date in your diary for this.

I must finish with a special thanks to the committee and any co-opted members who assisted in judging and organising this event.