With Rochester-upon-Medway, 1997 winner of the 'Britain's Cleanest City' title, setting their sights on claiming a second successive victory in the biennial competition, its rivals are already taking steps to ensure their own success in next year's event by attending a day-long seminar designed to help local authorities prepare for entry.
The June seminar, which marks the official launch of the 1999 competition, the sixth of its kind, will this year focus on 'Attracting the Tourist - How Clean Cities Can Help'. This is
also the title of the keynote address to be delivered by Elizabeth Jeffries, until recently chief executive, Marketing Manchester, and now a marketing and tourism consultant specialising in the regeneration of inner cities and their management.
The seminar, to take place at the Westmead Hotel & Restaurant, Hopwood, Birmingham, on June 24 1998 is being organised by the British Cleaning Council, the co-ordinating body for the UK cleaning industry and sponsor of the `Britain's Cleanest City' competition. It is hoped that seminar delegates will include representatives from the appropriate departments of each of the local authorities throughout the UK eligible to participate.
These include all 58 cities in the UK, from the biggest - Birmingham, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow as well as the Cities of London and Westminster - to the smallest - cathedral cities such as Lichfield, St Albans, Wells, Ely and St Davids, by way of tourist
meccas like Oxford, Bath, Chester, York and Edinburgh.
Opportunity for Dialogue
As on the last occasion, the seminar offers plenty of opportunity for dialogue between the organisers and potential entrants, which, believes Peter Bird, current BCC chairman and also chairman of the 1995 and 1997 judging panels, leads to continued refinement of the
competition's scope and emphasis. 'We do respond to what the cities want,' he commented.
Following the formal opening of the seminar by Peter Bird, and the keynote address from Elizabeth Jeffries, the seminar programme will continue with a look back to the 1997 competition, when for the first time, every entering city was visited by the judges. During
this session, the judges will review some of the observations made during their unannounced visits, outline the criteria they used to produce the ultimate winners, and invite comment and discussion by delegates, particularly with regard to where changes might be made for the 1999 competition. 'This was a particularly useful session at our last one-day conference in 1996,' said Peter, 'and we hope it will lead to further improvement in the format of the competition.'
After lunch, the seminar will feature a number of workshop sessions, co-ordinated by BCC vice-chairman, Andrew Henman. The first will home in on two of the areas which past competitions have shown to be of particular concern to local authority cleansing departments - the effective removal of chewing-gum and of graffiti. The speaker will be the vastly experienced Harold Cox, Graffiti Removal Manager in charge of the specialist unit attached to Leicester City's Cleaning DSO dedicated to the removal of both graffiti and chewing-gum.
Harold will be accompanied by members of his team, who will be giving practical demonstrations of their favoured techniques.
Another workshop, to be presented by Chris James, Director of Training at the British Institute of Cleaning Science, will look at a topic of particular relevance to the maintenance of clean cities: the cleaning industry's new NVQ for Cleaning Highways and Land. He will also be
talk about certification for cleaning operatives, such as BICSc's own Cleaning Operatives Proficiency Certificate. Once again, practical demonstrations will be a feature of the workshop, highlighting the safe operation of driver and pedestrian-controlled cleaning
Peter Bird is delighted to be overseeing the `Britain's Cleanest City' competition for the third year in succession, and is looking forward to another keenly fought contest in 1999. 'The competition continues to go from strength to strength, and the increasing number of entrants
each time reflects not only the growing prestige of the award but also an expanding awareness of the role that higher standards of cleanliness can play in making our cities more pleasant and attractive - for visitors as well as residents. We hope the seminar will inspire even more cities to enter in 1999.'
The BCC seminar, which will also feature a mini-exhibition of street cleaning equipment and furniture, is not restricted to city council representatives but is equally open to delegates from all local authorities, including district councils. The cost is£45, inclusive of VAT, coffee, tea and lunch.
Further information and tickets are available from John Stinton, General Secretary, 15 Fairfield Lane, Wolverley, nr Kidderminster, Worcs. DY11 5QH. Tel: 01562 850704 Fax: 01562 850109.
The British Cleaning Council's 'Britain's Cleanest City' award is designed to focus attention on the qualities that go to make a clean city and to recognise the efforts of those cities who have implemented successful policies in this direction.
In addition to Rochester, previous winners have been Aberdeen, Birmingham, Canterbury and Plymouth City Councils; the 1997 finalists also included Birmingham, Chester, Leicester, Oxford, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Truro and Westminster, with Chester,
Portsmouth and Oxford receiving special Chairman's Awards for initiative and excellence in key areas.
City councils are initially asked to submit a presentation which summarises not just their general stance on city cleanliness, but also details innovative ideas, public education and awareness campaigns and other relevant initiatives. Subsequently, a survey is made by team
of professional experts from the British Cleaning Council of the cities' streets, squares and parks, shopping centres and public buildings - inside and out - to see just how clean and
litter-free they really are. The competition culminates in the presentation of the title - and the trophy to go with it - at `The Cleaning Show', the UK cleaning industry's biennial international exhibition, which next year takes place at the NEC in Birmingham in April.