Neath Port Talbot Council’s school cleaning team picks up national award

Neath Port Talbot Council’s school cleaning team has won a prestigious Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) Building Cleaning Innovation Award for its new green approach.

The Innovation Awards celebrate outstanding UK councils that use innovative ideas and solutions to tackle the current challenges facing frontline facilities management services which include cleaning and catering.

Under the Neath Port Talbot Council cleaning team’s “clean green” approach, the service has implemented a number of changes including the use of biodegradable cleaning chemicals, the purchase of electric vehicles and using vacuum cleaners made from up to 75% of high quality recycled materials with high efficiency motors to cut costs.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Access Managed Services Operations Manager (Education), Shirley Freeguard said: “I am delighted that our hard working team of around 300 cleaners working on 70 sites has been recognised for delivering quality services while helping the environment by going green.

“As well as carrying out its day to day cleaning, the team is on call 24 hours a day to respond, if needed, to flooding, fires and other emergencies.

“During the Covid pandemic of course, the cleaners were absolutely essential and they can if needed be called on to deal with other outbreaks such as Norovirus.

“They thoroughly deserve this national recognition for the vital work they do and the way they have adapted to the new clean green approach.”

The award was presented to the council on January 25th, 2024 at the annual APSE Facilities, Catering and Cleaning Management Seminar at Oulton Hall Hotel, Leeds, by Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food.

The cleaning service employs a dedicated Training and Development Officer who ensures all staff undertake mandatory training including nutrition, first aid and safety and allergen awareness with training also delivered to other council employees and external businesses.

Picture shows

Shirley Freeguard, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Access Managed Services Operations Manager (Education) receiving the award from Vicky Horsfield (left) of public sector purchasing specialists YPO.