§ Mr. Bill Michie
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the standard of cleaning in schools since the contracting out of school cleaning services.
§ Mr. Key
The Department does not collect information on the standard of cleaning in schools following competition for cleaning work. The Local Government Act 1988 requires local authorities to prepare a detailed specification setting out the standards required, and further requires the in-house direct service organisation to comply with this specification in carrying out the work; a private contractor would be similarly so obliged under the terms of his contract with the authority. Under the Education Reform Act 1988, schools with delegated budgets may determine the standard of cleaning they require and their wishes must be reflected in the specification. Research commissioned by the Department from the Institute of Local Government Studies at the university of Birmingham indicates that one effect of competition has been that authorities have paid greater attention to the clear definition of service standards.