Watford Borough Council and Three Rivers District Council, Hertfordshire

Soft FM

Watford Borough and Three Rivers District councils are neighbouring authorities in the south-west corner of Hertfordshire. When the councils lost patience with their previous contract arrangements, poor management having translated into poor performance and low productivity, a new combined contract was designed based on results rather than a rigid prescription of specified tasks. The hope was that joint procurement would gain improved value for money, given the two councils’ proximity.

Tenon FM won the contract and set about transforming the service, introducing more efficient rotas and cleaning processes coupled with improved people management techniques. The result was an immediate 25% cost saving compared to the cost of the previous service, cleaner buildings and two very satisfied councils who have had no need to exercise their right for a contract break clause.

The contract covers internal building cleaning and associated soft facilities management across seven separate council-owned sites. Cleaning operations for Watford Borough Council include daily cleaning and a housekeeping service at the main council offices, plus cleaning of nearby public toilets, Watford Museum and the local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Fifteen dedicated Tenon FM staff undertake all day to day internal cleaning of office, reception, communal and bathroom/kitchen areas, along with a periodic cleaning programme including carpets and blinds. The regular daily cleaning of internal surfaces and building fabric includes floors, walls, skirtings, glass, desk surfaces and IT equipment. The team also handles internal window cleaning and waste management.

The housekeeper cleaners remain on site at the Town Hall throughout the working day, keeping communal spaces and other areas of high foot traffic clean. They are also on call to respond immediately to incidents such as spillages that require cleaning up.

At the smaller headquarters of Three Rivers next door, a team of five performs a similar service to Watford, cleaning the main council offices, the council waste depot (including the staff canteen) and Rickmansworth Youth Centre, with the addition of external window cleaning and feminine hygiene.

Tenon FM’s emphasis on tailored services focused on outputs, coupled with effective management of two highly competent teams, has ensured that Watford and Three Rivers have enjoyed a consistently high standard of cleaning for several years.