CAF seeks expressions of interest for three star standard

CAF applications are currently open for buildings in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

The Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF) three star standard is open to market, with the industry-led scheme seeking expressions of interest from building owners and investors for its first certification intake.

Officially launched in Melbourne last week, CAF is an accreditation system that has been operating in pilot form with a dozen commercial and retail properties in six states and territories.

CAF works with independent auditors to verify that the CAF Standards – as they relate to wages and conditions, tax and super, and responsible contracting – are being met at a building.

CAF, in conjunction with the building owner, manager, cleaning contractor and United Voice, engages directly with cleaners and facilitate the election of a CAF representative, who receives training and support to monitor ongoing compliance.

Once certification is obtained, this can be displayed at the building to signify to tenants and members of the public that this is a building with responsible owners that is being cleaned well by cleaners employed a company that provides a safe work environment and pays them fairly.

CAF CEO Poonam Datar announced at the launch the scheme is seeking expressions of interest for the first of four scheduled building certification intakes in 2019.

Applications are currently open for buildings in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland for the next two weeks until 12 April 2019.

The other three certification intakes will take place in May, July and September. Each intake will include six buildings.

Datar said the power of CAF is that it engaged all parties – building owners, building managers, cleaning companies, the cleaners’ union and cleaners themselves – to fix the well-known problems in the cleaning industry.

“CAF is a labour rights assurance scheme that uniquely places cleaners at the heart of certification, making it different from just a tick-box exercise. We congratulate the companies who have helped build CAF and are leading the way on social compliance by adopting ethical employment practices, responsible procurement policies, transparency through auditing, and valuing worker voice.”

Speaking at the CAF launch Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said ensuring compliance is an ongoing focus for the Ombudsman, with Fair Work to certify its own sites over the next 12 months.

According to Fair Work data 50 per cent of cleaning industry workers were born overseas, compared to 31 per cent of all employed persons nationally, and 12 per cent are current students.

“Business that choose to outsource some of their work need to consider the outcomes for employees all the way down the supply chain,” Parker said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Sydney, Adelaide and Perth offices are now CAF certified, and plans to certify its remaining locations over the next 12 months.

Woolworths’ head of facilities management Trent Mason also announced at the event the supermarket giant will invest $100,000 to assist CAF build a retail specific certification scheme over the next 12 months.

“This will not only help us drive higher standards in our supply chain but the retail industry as a whole. We also encourage other retailers to come on board so we can drive consistency of standards across industry and stamp out exploitation together.”

Woolworths  entered into a Compliance Partnership with the Ombudsman in August 2018 following an investigation that uncovered breaches across 90 per cent of its Tasmanian sites.

Along with Woolworths, property groups such as ISPT, AMP Capital, Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), CBUS Property, Charter Hall, GPT, Vicinity, the Property Council of Australia, JLL and CBRE have been supporters of the program since its inception, and part of the certification’s Advisory Group.

Other members of the CAF Advisory Group include AustralianSuper, FMA, BSCAA, ISS Facility Services Australia, Consolidated, BIC Services, Millennium, Academy Services, Dimeo, Glad Group, Downer Group, Spotless Group, ME Bank, KPMG/Banarra, NSW Long Service Leave Corporation, QLeave, Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

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