Grounds & Cleaning - Best Practice
Our Grounds and Cleaning teams continued to move towards a model of Best Practice in 2017. Training has been prioritised with all staff receiving updates in health & Safety, fire training, Data Protection Training and Equality & Diversity training on top of safe working practices and other internal training subjects.
Leadership and management training has also been underway with 11 people in Cleaning & Grounds achieving ILM3 this year and 6 more are currently taking ILM5. Meanwhile, excellent cleaning standards in both academic and residential buildings were recognised in the independent audit and benchmarking report conducted by i-Clean (over 90% achieved in all cleaning standards audits; efficiency and effectiveness scores significantly higher than the education industry benchmark).
Similarly, the Residences Site team were short-listed for the National Recycling Awards “Team of the Year” alongside Norse Waste Solutions as the Estates division continues to seek sustainable methods of reducing waste.
The University was very proud that they Grounds team were able to secure a Green Flag Award for the campus. This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities. The Green Flag assessors came to UEA on Friday 7 July to judge the campus grounds and reported “the lake, meadows, riverside and woodland are brilliant areas of the campus providing excellent habitat areas for numerous species of plants and animals”.
This award provides recognition of the fantastic work that the grounds team carries out every day to maintain the University campus. UEA joins a list of only 14 other universities who have achieved this standard. The University are thrilled that the judges had no hesitation in recommending the site for the Green Flag award this year. Overall, the Grounds team achieved 89% customer satisfaction score in the Estates Customer Satisfaction Survey 2017. This recognition led to an interview with Landscape Manager Tom Everett about the successes of the Grounds team for the Staff News e-bulletin.
In conjunction with a report produced identifying best practice across the HE and private sector - developing relationships with other Universities and commercial contractors - an assessment of the Green Spaces across the UEA Campus was carried out, identifying the most popular open entrances and exits across Campus in addition to green spaces across Campus that can be developed further.
The Campus Enhancements Group improved the visual appearance of soft landscaping by improving footpaths and protecting grass from damage by vehicles and pedestrians. The appearance of the paving in The Street and The Square received many compliments this year through the hard work of the Site Team and Grounds with the new external cleaning machine. This really helped with campus presentation for Open Days and Graduation - the feedback from staff and visitors about the way the campus looked on these special days was extremely positive.
No staff or students at UEA could go about their work or studies without the services of the Estates team, who maintain the campus grounds and buildings, from security to cleaning and space management to sustainability.
With such a wide range of responsibilities, the team is constantly working to ensure that daily life runs smoothly at UEA – and that means maintaining a strong focus on customer service.
“Our customers tell us we’re doing a good job, but we’re always looking for ways to improve,” said Justin Rhys, Customer Liaison Officer. “We continually listen to and act on feedback and run a Customer Perception Survey every two years, which gives us the opportunity to step back, look at how we operate and take action where it’s needed.”
As a result of the 2015 survey, the new role of Building Fabric Manager was created to speed up estimates and small works activities. Thanks to this, 67% of staff who responded to the 2017 survey said they were happy with time taken to complete their requests - a 23% improvement on 2015 - and fewer than 0.5% of jobs resulted in complaints.
There’s also been a 10% increase (68% to 78%) in satisfaction with communication about the status of maintenance jobs following a restructure of the Maintenance team, additional resource for the Helpdesk and the introduction of a new contractor for non-emergency small works and estimates.
Another popular innovation is the self-service auto-responders – by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Help” or “?” in the subject field, customers can see real-time status information about maintenance work.
“We’re delighted that 82% of respondents agree that fixing problems is a particular strength of Estates, and almost 70% are happy with the speed at which we fix problems,” said Justin. “The technology we’ve introduced for the Helpdesk team has also improved our performance, with 81% of respondents happy with our service.”
Some of the most complicated challenges are faced by the Space team, whose role is to balance the needs of the University with the available space. Their ability to deliver this balancing act was recognised by the 86% of customers who agreed that they complete their tasks successfully, with 75% were happy overall, compared with 55% in 2015.
Refurbishments can cause the biggest disruption, but improved communication via the monthly Projects Forum has also seen satisfaction levels with the way these projects are handles jump from 51% in 2015 to 77% this year.
The greatest accolades were for the Security team, however, with 92% of respondents saying they’re happy with the services they provide, 92% saying they’re friendly and helpful, and 91% saying they help to make them feel safe and secure on campus.
“We’re very happy that the changes we introduced following the 2015 survey have had such positive results and look forward to continuing to offer our customers excellent service,” said Justin.