West Midlands Trains operations trains to destinations across England, connecting London to the Midlands and the North West. Carlisle has provided cleaning services to West Midlands Trains, previously London Midland, for station, crew room and office locations across their network since 2011, with the contract being re-awarded in 2014.
Our cleaning service has significantly evolved since the contract began. The evolution has partly been driven by the financial constraints under which West Midlands Trains has had to operate. When the contract was re-awarded in 2014, an organisational change was implemented in conjunction with a number of efficiency savings to enable both parties to achieve their strategic goals. This was to better align the management resource with the needs of the contract. This change resulted in three supervisors each looking after defined geographical areas reporting into an operations manager, who, in turn, reports to a Train Care Manager. As part of the transformation, cleaning hours were re-allocated to better meet the cleaning needs of individual stations. These changes were made taking into account the National Passenger Survey (NPS) results and the station usage figures.
As a major service provider to West Midlands Trains, we play a key part of ensuring that the public’s perception of the safety and cleanliness of their service is not only maintained but improved upon year after year through the cleaning service we provide across their portfolio of stations. The stations on each of these routes, therefore, present different challenges in terms of the approached required in order to achieve the most effective cleaning solution. Working closely
together in partnership, our challenge has been to help West Midlands Trains improve their position in the National Passenger Survey.
Our fully comprehensive service includes cleaning services to one hundred and forty-seven stations on a weekly basis. Deployed through both static and mobile cleaning teams to facilitate the successful provision of the service. We also provide vegetation control, poster replacement and winterisation services. Carlisle continues to work with West Midlands Trains to evolve the service offering to deliver efficiencies and to improve the passenger experience. We have already seen significant increases in NPS scoring. Another new concept is that of a ‘station caretaker’, which is in the final stages of development. This is based around upgrading the cleaning operatives on the mobile routes with basic maintenance skills so that they can undertake tasks such as the replacement of no-smoking signs and dispensers in the toilet. This means that West Midlands Trains will be able to deploy their own people more effectively because the basic reactive work will be undertaken by Carlisle Support Services as part of the station cleaning.
In 2016, the franchise heavily invested in two critical areas that have impacted service delivery and which are clearly apparent in the station cleanliness scores in the NRPS measurements. These are increasing the pay in line with the Living Wage Foundation and also the investment of Work-IT.
Living Wage Foundation
As a responsible, ethical business, it is intrinsic to our culture that our employees receive a fair rate of pay so they can afford, at the very least, a basic standard of living. As of 1 August 2016, all West Midlands Trains employees receive the National Living Wage increase. This was a 14% increase from their previous National Minimum Wage salary of £7.20 to £8.25. From improved morale and retention rates to creating a better quality of life in and out of the workplace for our front
line operatives, the positive impact has more than justified the investment at a time when costs were being tightly controlled. Our time to hire new recruits has been reduced to days, with the increased pay rate attracting a higher calibre of applicants. Employee belonging and productivity are also at an all-time high, evidenced by a resounding increase in cleaning standards and customer satisfaction.
Introduction of Work-IT
West Midland Trains were one of the first clients to really embrace the introduction of Work-IT. We deployed in excess of 50 devices across the contract that has become the heartbeat of the station cleaning services. Work-IT has recorded over 50,000 images and works completion task since it was installed. We developed a Work-IT solution that included writing bespoke task cards for each station that provide real time information to West Midlands Trains management team.
The key success factors have been:
- Clear task validation across all 147 stations
- Proof of presence and hours coverage
- A flexible solution that adapts to the changing needs of the network
- Accountability across the cleaning teams
- Real-time task allocation
- Full audit trail of services.