This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Better check there’s no horsemeat in your cleaning...

Author : Tobias Batkin

12 April 2013

No need to rub your eyes, this isn’t the usual brand of current affairs bandwagoneering you might expect from a newsletter...

Consider this—cleaning contractors and companies in the food chain are often awarded contracts on the strength of one factor; price. Iceland’s CEO reckons this is the cause of the horsemeat horror show. Yet in cleaning and FM in general, our equivalent (illegal workers, cash in hand etc) has remained mercifully rare. So, why them and not us?

The answer? Well, whisper it; it’s our FMs and Office Managers...

30 years ago, FM was just a radio frequency. Now, thanks to organisations such as BIFM, cleaning companies’ services are bought and managed by dedicated FMs.

You’d imagine that the food industry has far greater amounts of regulation than the cleaning industry. But is greater regulation always the answer? The fact that FMs procure and manage their services means the buck stops with them. It is in their interests to scrutinise quality as well as price.

This type of buying structure, removes the gaps, which unscrupulous service providers can exploit. In turn, this has forced FM suppliers to become more professional, which regulation alone cannot achieve. Those who are proactive in the cleaning industry have run with this professionalism and created a new generation of commercial cleaning enterprises.

Cleaning companies now need better management and better business practices. As a director of, I’ve found that this drives up standards, even where there is huge pressure on price. It has allowed us to commit to 2 hour response times and supervisory techniques that work; what we call Effective, Available Action.

This scandal will undoubtedly herald an era of even greater regulation. In truth, I’m sure the companies involved did follow the regulations. Sometimes though, it takes a person, like a FM, to see the horse for the cows.

* Tobias Batkin is director of

Print this page | E-mail this page


View more articles
Article image

Why the Law Says You Need a Nappy Bin Disposal Service

At home, parents are used to disposing of their babies’ used nappies the same way they do any other domestic waste - bagging it up and sticking it in the r...
Article image

Major role of outsourced services in saving Whaley Bridge homes

Last week saw prolonged national media coverage of the plight of residents of Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, due to the Toddbrook Reservoir becoming unsafe....
Article image

Appreciating the bigger picture of maintaining facilities

One of the most popular topics of discussion within meetings of the PFM Editorial Advisory Board is the applicatio...

Benchmarking maintenance

BSRIA has just published this year's operation and maintenance benchmarking report as a guide for building operators to evaluate their performance against ...
Article image

Calls for better electricity supply as Ofgem investigates National Grid

Concerns have been expressed over the National Grid and its operating policies following last week's widespread power cuts....
Article image

More, more, more. Are you ready?

Healthcare Estates 2019 is just a few short weeks away, with preparations really ramping up now for the biggest event yet; more exhibitors, more speakers, ...