DOC Cleaning

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by DOC Cleaning's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from DOC Cleaning is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

CEO Lee Andrews
The National Gallery – a
DOC client
DOC Cleaning started out in 1972 as a company run by
two colleagues with no experience in the industry. One
half of the partnership was Bob Andrews, father of
current CEO Lee and Managing Director Danny. Forty-seven
years later the company is still in the same family ownership,
with a third generation of the Andrews family playing a key
role. Turnover reached £25 million per annum in 2018, making
DOC one of the largest privately owned contractors in the UK.
Lee and Danny tell
The Parliamentary Review
more about this
family-run company with traditional values.
Determination and a genuine desire to provide a personal, loyal, nothing-is-too-
much-trouble approach helped build our business. We enthusiastically offer a
full range of soft facilities services, from building and window cleaning through
to washroom and hygiene supplies, specialist floor refurbishment and waste
management. Every year we carry out over two million hours of cleaning and
related activities across 450 client locations in London and the home counties.
We can probably lay claim to one of the more interesting client portfolios, including
major London museums and art galleries, the Royal Albert Hall, landmark city office
towers, department stores and many Grade I and II listed buildings. A great source of
pride for us is that, almost uniquely among cleaning companies, we were for ten years
the proud holder of a Royal Warrant as a result of our work with the Royal Household.
»CEO: Lee Andrews
»Founded in 1972
»Based in Bishops Stortford,
»Services: Commercial cleaning
and associated services
»No. of employees: Over 1,500
»Turnover: £25 million
»Trading area: London and
home counties
DOC Cleaning
Highlighting best practice
Cleaning in the 21st century
The cleaning industry has come on
leaps and bounds in the last ten
years, breaking through to become
a sector that can justifiably call itself
technologically enabled. Floors
are scrubbed by robotic machines,
equipment assets are tracked via the
internet of things (IoT) and, most
importantly, management software has
worked its way into every aspect of our
business from rostering, attendance
monitoring and quality auditing
through to e-trading, staff training
and client portals. The welcome effect
of this is that, as contractors, we are
now better able to control overheads,
deliver improved client service and
provide regular performance data,
which in turn is causing clients to view
contractors more professionally.
At DOC, we have always been at the
forefront of technology. For several
years we have run our key business
processes on end-to-end business
management software developed
specifically for the industry. More
recently we have gone one step further
and applied technology to one of
cleaning’s greatest challenges – how to
engage effectively with frontline staff
who work remotely, outside normal
office hours and often alone or with
just a few colleagues present. In 2018,
we therefore became one of the first
companies in the UK to invest in a
recently developed, smartphone-based
training and engagement app. This
leading-edge software offers the full
range of skills training to our entire
workforce and gives them access to
important documents about right to
work, HMRC and health and safety,
as well as DOC company policies,
procedures and our staff handbook.
Last, but not least, it provides an
active medium through which we can
communicate with all staff, and which
staff themselves can use to measure
their performance against each other
in competition for training-related
awards. This has given a very welcome
boost to our philosophy of actively
encouraging communication between
management and employees, as well
as ensuring they remain competent
and up to date in their core skills.
The DOC difference
As anyone will tell you, a key challenge
in cleaning is to differentiate yourself
from the competition in ways that
really matter to clients. Cleaning
is a service that rarely gets noticed
until it’s not done properly, meaning
that success relies on individual staff
carrying out their tasks correctly
and diligently each and every day,
without fail. Technology can help,
but it does not replace good attitude
and it is this attitude that is enshrined
in our traditional ethics of honesty,
dedication and reliability, regardless of
the worker’s level within the company.
These ethics have always formed
the basis of our client relationships
and have helped us acquire a strong
reputation among our target audience
of facilities managers (FM).
Using technology to
manage quality
A key
challenge in
cleaning is to
yourself from
competition in
ways that
really matter
to clients
When asked about the most important
thing an incumbent contractor can do
to improve their chances of winning
a contract at re-tender, an FM once
said: “During the term of their existing
contract they need to communicate
constantly what they are doing and
show the value they are providing.”
Our strategy at DOC is therefore to
support our FMs in a professional
and collaborative way. Working with
us, they can expect consistent and
reliable support on key issues such
as staff vetting, training, legislative
compliance, use of technology, well-
researched proposals for maintaining
building fabric, disaster recovery
planning, co-operation with other
contractors, open book contract
reviews, KPIs and a formal record of
In supporting clients, we also believe
very strongly in our role of protecting
and enhancing their image or brand.
Many of them have both a domestic
and an international audience, be
they visitors to a museum or business
people working in city offices.
Helping clients to deliver a favourable
impression to their stakeholders has
always featured highly in our raison
d’être and motivation.
A sustainable future for
We face a serious challenge in
cleaning from a combination of
diminishing labour availability and
poor public perception. On the one
hand, recruitment of frontline staff
is becoming more difficult as the
ramifications of Brexit in terms of
immigration threaten to constrict our
industry’s traditional pipeline of new
staff. On the other hand, cleaning is
still perceived as a low-skilled industry
with little appeal as a place to develop
a career.
The problem is that our industry
is very fragmented in terms of
both qualifications and higher
representation. Despite it being a
worldwide, increasingly technical
industry, there is no clearly defined
training path leading to a single
set of respected international
qualifications, to which young
people can aspire. The situation is
compounded by there being dozens
of trade bodies representing different
industry branches, which is making
it difficult for the industry as a whole
to create something as simple as
an apprenticeship standard against
which the Apprenticeship Levy can
be drawn down. Infuriatingly, the
excellent industry-tailored training
systems being developed by private
providers are all excluded from
Our ambition therefore, as
longstanding members of the industry,
is to influence, where we can, the
powers that be to promote a new
perception of cleaning as an industry
that provides a critical service – one
where people with the right attitude
can obtain recognised qualifications
and rise through the ranks to become
proud members of an industry that,
quite frankly, the world cannot
Our strategy
at DOC is to
support our
FMs in a
Members of the
extended DOC family

This article was sponsored by DOC Cleaning. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster