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How to Choose your School’s Cleaning Provider

January 8, 2019, 12:38 GMT+1
Read in about 4 minutes
  • With schools increasingly able to choose their own cleaning provider, what should you be looking for in order to secure a good deal?
How to Choose your School’s Cleaning Provider

The process of deciding who should provide your school’s cleaning service requires careful consideration, as you’ll be relying on them to perform a vital and visible job.

Start by weighing up whether your cleaning provisions should remain in-house or be outsourced. Price is often cited as the main driver, but the quality and reliability of the service provided should be considered as being of equal importance. Should you opt to outsource, you’ll then need to settle on the approach you intend to take – overseeing and running the procurement yourself, or utilising a compliant framework.

At ESPO we offer a number of EU/UK compliant frameworks, one of which is Total Cleaning Services Solution (reference 263). ESPO established the framework by assessing suppliers on their technical and professional ability in meeting customers’ requirements, as well as price and quality factors.

Every contract put in place under the framework is underpinned by a call-off contract (pre-agreed terms and conditions) in order to protect the customer’s interests, and it’s possible to tailor the call-off contract to reflect your own specific requirements. You might choose to incorporate key performance indicators to manage and monitor the supplier’s performance, which could include:

  • Satisfaction with the cleaning services provided (eg audits)
  • The frequency of complaints or customer feedback received
  • Punctuality and attendance of cleaning staff
  • Adherence to your cleaning specification
  • Meeting of cleaning timescales

You must ensure that the KPI’s you establish are SMART – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

You may choose to appoint a supplier based on the terms set out in the framework, or alternatively opt to undertake a further competition exercise in order to complete your requirements. Your further competition can be awarded based on price only, or on the basis of evaluating price and quality factors, with weightings for each factor to emphasise their importance.

Ideally, there’ll be a reasonable number of potential suppliers covering your region to ensure that the process is competitive, (ESPO framework 263, for instance, has a number of suppliers spread across multiple geographical areas). It’s also important that sufficient time be allowed for the potential suppliers to complete the further competition documents.

If your cleaning provisions are presently in-house and you’re looking to outsource the service provision, then TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations) may apply. It’s best to seek legal advice on how this is managed as part of your outsourcing process.

ESPO frameworks are free to use, and can save schools time and money by mitigating the need to undertake a full EU-compliant procurement process; the suppliers on the frameworks have all been assessed on their financial stability, past track record, previous experience and technical and professional ability.

ESPO’s frameworks can be easily accessed via the ESPO website ( and will give schools ready access to a wide range of suppliers.

For more information on the framework, plus details of how to obtain document templates that can help you communicate your requirements, contact ESPO’s place and environment Team at [email protected].

Guy Swanson is a Procurement Officer at ESPO.

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