In the latest issue of Business Intelligence magazine, the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce spoke to ICS Cleaning Managing Director Christine Turner, about the vital role we are playing in the current COVID-19 pandemic, sustained growth of our business and how we continue to keep it in the family.

ICS is one of the largest independent contract and commercial cleaning providers in the North of England, employing around 500 people full and part-time. The business offers a full range of cleaning services to a variety of customers in varying sectors, including office cleaning, commercial cleaning, school cleaning, retail and leisure cleaning, shopping centre cleaning, industrial cleaning, factory cleaning, car park cleaning, pressure cleaning, washroom services, feminine hygiene, janitorial supplies, grounds maintenance, fire and flood restoration, graffiti removal. Since early this year, ICS has also added specialist COVID-19 cleans into its portfolio of services for customers.

“We’ve been a family–run business since our formation and we are proud to still be able to say that today, more than 25 years later,” said Chris, who is dedicated to the business. “We’re proud of our Hull roots too and always place our people at the heart of our operations. Many of our key team members have been with the company for more than 15 years and we value every one of them.”

Chris continued: “I have worked in the cleaning industry for more than 40 years and always enjoyed it. In the mid-’90s, I saw an opportunity within the marketplace as more and more businesses were contracting out their cleaning, and that’s where this journey began.

“I managed the cleaning at Hull Royal Infirmary in the ’80s which was extremely challenging and thankfully cleaning methods have vastly improved over the years. At this time especially all hospitals and anyone dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak are under real pressure to ensure excellent standards of cleaning are maintained.

“We have a forward-looking, progressive management team and a policy of investment in the latest equipment and technology, but what is at the heart of our success is our people. Our cleaning staff are our greatest asset and without them out there every day working as hard as they do we would not be where we are today. I constantly find myself saying we are only as good as our worst cleaner. So how we recruit, train and manage our staff is key to the success of the business. We always ensure that our customer-facing team care about their work as much as we do.

“What is strong about our business is our ability to adapt and offer bespoke packages to customers depending on their needs and challenges. Like most other businesses this current situation has had an enormous impact on us – from protecting every employee, dealing with the furlough of staff at customers premises, to carrying out sanitising cleans after a confirmed outbreak, and helping customers get back to work and re-open and ensuring the schools that we work with have been able to stay safely open. Given the nature of our business, our services have been in continuous demand and we have been busy ensuring we have and are assisting our customers in every way needed.

“We have a forward-looking, progressive management team and a policy of investment in the latest equipment and technology, but what is at the heart of our success is our people.”

“We have created a COVID–19 risk assessment; carry out toolbox talks and additional training with all staff to ensure they are safe and protected and fully aware of all the cleaning requirements whilst carrying out their duties. We have also changed our chemicals to highly effective sanitising products and invested in a range of fogging machines that kill germs and various equipment to deal with outbreaks and specialist sanitisation cleans.

“I’m very proud of all my staff that have worked extremely hard through this challenging time.”