Durham County Council appointed APM in 2019 to clean six extra care sites distributed across County Durham. Each of these sites contains up to 35 flats, with a total of 210 to be cleaned on a weekly basis by APM’s clean teams.
With an existing ten staff who transferred from the outgoing provider, we supplemented the team with existing employees and assigned a team of two, including a supervisor to each of the Durham County Council contracted sites. Each of these staff have completed not only the council’s required training but APM’s in-house training, covering Safeguarding and Dementia Awareness, as well as our Code of Conduct which covers all work we undertake, involving vulnerable people.
During the mobilisation period, supervisors visited the sites to introduce APM and the team, to the residents, and establish their preferences regarding cleaning of their homes; following which, schedules were agreed with all of the tenants, determining which day of the week the flat is cleaned and the order of cleaning.
Flexibility is always required within this area and if APM attend and the time isn’t convenient for a resident, we shall move on, returning when it is more suited. The mobilisation was treated particularly sensitively, due to the incumbent having worked closely with these people for many years and a new trust had to be developed with the APM teams.
The nature of the accommodation type poses some specific challenges to our cleaning routines which we have overcome. For example, permission has not been authorised to store any cleaning equipment or products on site, so our teams use large, portable, lockable boxes on wheels, stocked with everything the team needs on a weekly basis, which can be replenished daily and transported to site, with ease of movement resulting in a lower manual handling risk.
To date, APM has significantly increased standards across all sites; also increasing pay rates of the transferred staff in line with APM’s pre-existing staff. We are delighted to report that the transferred staff rate APM ‘highly satisfactory’ as an employer.
Our contract with Durham County Council continues until 2024, with both parties very satisfied with the execution.