The City of Toronto overspent on cleaning services last year, according to two audits released in mid-June that examine both in-house and contract services.
A total of $30.5 million was spent on cleaning 265 facilities, including $8.3 million paid to contracted cleaners.
After finding some key oversights, Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler made 30 recommendations that were presented at the city’s Audit Committee meeting on July 4. The reports show that there are opportunities to control costs, improve productivity, enhance the quality of cleaning services, while maximizing value from staff.
Audit findings include:
- Cleaning area data is inaccurate or incomplete. The city needs to use the industry standard of measuring the cleanable area of a building in order to properly estimate costs. However, in most cases, the city used the gross floor area.
- In 2011, facilities management paid $184,000 to a third-party consultant to measure the cleanable area for hundreds of facilities. Most operating managers were unaware these measurements were taken and the data was never validated for the majority of the facilities.
- Workloading of facilities has not been completed. Since 2011, the facilities management department invested $566,000 on software, handheld devices and IT salary costs to help determine the required number of cleaning employees. Since then, operational data has only been loaded for 39 out of 265 facilities, and the workloading capability of the software has not been used to effectively estimate labour requirements and costs.
- The city is paying for “enhanced” cleaning service in many buildings, but standard levels could suffice. In 2015, a Custodial Standard Services Model (CSSM) was adopted to transition all client groups to standardized cleaning routines. The actual level of services needed for each client group should be assessed. The audit estimates that for one client group, transitioning nine facilities to the standard service level of the CSSM could result in $900,000 of savings per year or $4.5 over five years.
Items were adopted with amendments and will be considered by City Council at a meeting in mid-July.
The recommendations stem from information the Auditor General’s staff gathered between January 2011 and December 2015.