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We caught up with Stephen Harrison and Mike Stubbs of the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA) to talk about the organisation’s ambitions for the future, and how they plan on improving standards in the cleaning sector.

“Our aim is to drive up standards in the industry,” said Stephen Harrison, Chairman of the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA) and Managing Director of Harrison Wipes. “We’re run by our members for our members and it’s their determination which is behind this focus.

“Some purchasers buy on price but the evidence we have shows this is a false economy. On many occasions we’ve found soft tissue products to be significantly deficient in length or width and plastic sacks and cotton mops that don’t meet the specifications on the box. Our mission is to stamp this out.”

The CHSA is achieving this objective in two steps.

Step one has been to make sure membership of the CHSA itself, and its Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes are a marque of quality and recognised throughout the industry as such.

During the past two years the CHSA has invested heavily in increasing the rigour of Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes for Soft Tissue, Plastic Refuse Sacks and Industrial Cotton Mops.

Chairman of the Accreditation Schemes, Mike Stubbs, explained: “The robustness of the audit process is the back bone of the Schemes. It’s this that gives buyers of Accredited products the certainty they are receiving what they pay for, hence the reason why we have invested to increase the frequency and resilience of the auditing process.”

In 2015 the CHSA audited more products than ever before. Martin Yates, the CHSA’s independent inspector, made more than 70 visits to Scheme members, testing over 600 products and checked almost 1,400 labels for compliance. The members of all three Schemes achieved near perfect compliance.

54 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning February 2016

“We are delighted with the results,” continued Mike. “It really shows the commitment of the Scheme members to ethical trading and giving their customers what they pay for.

“Now more than ever the only way buyers of these products can be absolutely assured that ‘what is on the box is in the box’ is to buy product stamped with the relevant Accreditation Scheme marque.”

Every Scheme member is now audited at least twice a year by Martin Yates against the Standard agreed for the relevant Scheme. Should a Scheme Member fail to meet the standard, they would ultimately be expelled, a sanction the CHSA has not had to resort to in recent years.

Becoming a Scheme member is also a rigorous process. Applicants are only admitted to the Scheme if they pass the initial audit of their full product range and their existing quality assurance processes. They are then audited on four further occasions in their first year of membership.

Becoming and remaining a member of the CHSA is also becoming tougher. “Not every member of the CHSA is eligible for one of our Accreditation Schemes so our governing body, the Council, has approved the enhancement of our code of practice,” continued Stephen Harrison.” All existing and new members will be expected to sign up to the Code, actively supporting our drive on standards.”

In step two of the CHSA’s campaign to drive up standards it is calling on buyers to specify CHSA and Accreditation Scheme membership in tenders.

Mike Stubbs explained: “Buyers of these products do not want to be ripped off. They should demand the very best; products accredited within the Association’s Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes.

“Some are already doing so, recognising it is the only way to be certain they get what they pay for. As a result, more and more suppliers are applying to join the Schemes and the Association. Ultimately we’re creating a virtuous circle!”

The CHSA has further initiatives planned for 2016, including an educational seminar, designed to drive up standards.

“We are passionate about this,” concluded Stephen Harrison. “We have already made great headway but we’re not complacent. The industry is ready for change and we believe, responding positively to our ambition.”

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