Councils can manage cleaning in a variety of different ways:
There are no hard and fast rules about the management of cleaning toilets. However, there are two areas which need particular consideration.
The first involves a similar issue to the locking/unlocking procedure. Staff in vans driving between toilets is often easier to manage, but is essentially expensive and will give you less value for money than a locally based cleaner. Time and again we see cleaners driving round and round, making cursory visits to the toilet because the contract says ‘three visits per day’.
We would recommend that effort is made to source a local cleaner who will take ownership of the toilet and treat it as a prized establishment. Smarter operation means cleaning the toilet when it needs it, not X times per day. In summer this may be six times, while in winter this may be once.
The second is that the more ‘traditional’ the style of toilet, ie the more nooks and crannies there are in the lobby and cubicles, the more difficult the toilet is to keep clean. You will often see complaints in the local paper about the ‘disgusting state’ of the local public toilets, with the Council being blamed. It is often the nature of the toilet block, rather than the cleaner and Council themselves, which will make it revolting. Bacteria infested tiling, worn and old sanitary ware and peeling walls are all results of low investment. There is often nothing a cleaner can do apart from try and keep the show on the road.
A lick of paint and a new toilet roll holder simply will not suffice if the toilet has any long term ambitions. Either the layout of the toilet must be reconsidered in terms of eradicating the nooks and crannies, or the Council must consider Direct Access. In both cases, we believe that £1 spent today will save £2 or more further down the line.
Cleaners should have a clear and defined regime, have full training and understand the health and safety issues associated with the chemicals and systems they are using. There is useful information available via the Association of Building Cleaning Direct Service Providers.