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What is TUPE and why is it relevant to me changing my cleaning supplier or outsourcing my commercial cleaning arrangements?

TUPE stands for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. Where TUPE applies, this means that an employee has the right to transfer from their current employer to the new employer under their existing employment terms. It also means that they retain their continuity of service.

When choosing a (new) commercial / office cleaning contractor, they should be able to provide you with confidence that they can manage the TUPE process itself and also effectively manage any staff members that were cleaning your premises that transfer to their employment under TUPE. This is particularly important if standards of cleaning are currently poor or inconsistent or if you are experiencing disruptions in service due to planned or unforeseen absences of cleaning operatives.

This link provides a detailed guide to the handling of TUPE transfers – https://www.acas.org.uk/acas-guide-to-handling-tupe-transfers
SOURCE: Acas

The following five considerations are crucial when appointing a new cleaning contractor and where TUPE is applicable.

1.   Induction

Your new cleaning contractor should ensure that any cleaning operatives who transfer to their employment under TUPE are taken through a comprehensive induction process. This will provide employees with a full understanding of the company’s values, expected behaviours to underpin these values and what is required to deliver great service. It is also an opportunity to identify specific training requirements any new employee may have.

2.   Training and Development

Cleaning operatives transferring under TUPE should be provided with initial and ongoing training to ensure they can perform their roles well. This will preferably include accredited, industry recognised training such as training supplied by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc).

“BICSc is the largest independent, professional and educational body within the cleaning industry, with over 45,000 Individual and Corporate Members.”
SOURCE: https://www.bics.org.uk/what-we-do/

Accredited BICSc training can be delivered directly by BICSc Business Services. Alternatively, some cleaning contractors are themselves BICSc accredited training centres.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ’s) are also available in cleaning and support services.

3.   Supervision / Performance Management

As well as providing comprehensive training, it is important that your new office cleaning contractor has provisions in place to monitor the performance of any cleaning operatives transferring under TUPE. This especially applies where any cleaning operative has underperformed with their previous employer (either the previous commercial cleaning contractor you used or your organisation if you previously directly employed cleaning operatives).

Ideally your new office cleaning contractor will employ a team of field supervisors. One element of a supervisor’s role should be to regularly visit your premises to monitor service levels on an ongoing basis. You should also be able to easily contact your supervisor and / or your contractor’s office team to report any issues with the service you receive if or when they arise.

Where issues are identified, these can then be addressed quickly and effectively, either via the identification of additional training requirements or appropriate disciplinary measures.

4.   Managed absence cover

Consistency of service is key. Your new commercial cleaning contractor should have provisions in place to ensure you receive the same quality service in the event of any planned or unplanned absences of cleaning operatives. Your cleaning contractor will preferably employ a team of mobile cleaning operatives to cover for any absences. They should have ready access to your cleaning specification so that they can ensure that your premises are cleaned to the agreed requirements.

5.   Correct materials and equipment

If you have previously experienced poor cleaning standards in your premises, this could have been the result of poor-quality equipment or cleaning materials being used rather than any underperformance of the cleaning operatives themselves. Your new contractor should provide operatives with the correct materials and equipment to clean to the agreed high standards. They should quickly replace any equipment that becomes defective and have stock inventory processes in place to ensure that operatives do not run out of cleaning materials.