Interesting discussions with some London SBMs threw up the difficulty schools in affluent areas can have in finding and retaining cleaning staff.

One SBM arranges a bus from a town some 20 miles away to bring cleaners in each afternoon: local people simply aren’t interested in doing the job for the wages she can pay.

Another SBM hires recently arrived immigrants: carrying out the necessary checks for staff with no employment history in the UK. Once they’ve six months’ experience under their belts, they move on to other things, meaning the school is caught in a never-ending cycle of recruitment, training and reference writing. Again, local people just don’t apply for the cleaning jobs the school advertises.

We’ve also heard complaints from schools who’ve outsourced cleaning: different staff arrive each day, and aren’t always briefed on exactly what needs doing, or how. Worse: four cleaners arrive instead of six. Building users are quick to flag up poor service, but what’s the busy SBM to do in such a circumstance? Pick up the mop herself??!

Every supports SBMs looking to improve all aspects of premises management:

  • Use our online guidance to read tips on what a cleaning contract should cover.
  • Get hints and tips from other SBMs on our forums.
  • Use our suppliers module to find what other local SBMs are saying about cleaning companies: who’s recommended, and who to stay clear of!
  • Use our contracts module to store your cleaning contract. Log renewal dates, so you don’t let a bad contract rollover.
  • Log SLA reviews in our activities module, so you never miss the opportunity to.
  • Set your cleaning company up as a supplier on our suppliers module and you can notify them instantly by email whenever you, or any of your building users, raises an issue. You’ll have a built in audit trail…very handy when it comes to SLA review time!
  • Run an instant report of all cleaning-related issues in your school…helps your team give a better service when they know what the most common gripes are; helps you drive a better deal at contract renewal time.

An innovative solution to the problem of finding cleaning staff comes from one school in the (fairly well off!) Cotswolds…

Sixth formers are employed as school cleaners, each working two hours once a week at the end of the school day. Everyone seems to win: the school is kept much cleaner when pupils know the person cleaning the toilets or picking up litter will be their big sister. Sixth formers get valuable work experience, as well as extra pocket money. The school is clean, and the SBM can concentrate her efforts elsewhere!