Thursday, 24 July 2008

Is Your Window Cleaner Licensed?

Pictured: Window cleaner Ken Norrie gives Cllr Gerry McMullan pointers watched by Doug Atkinson, SLWCN

Fifers are being reminded that they should only use licensed window cleaners with a new campaign from the Scottish Licensed Window Cleaners' Network (SLWCN), Fife Council and the Fife Community Safety Partnership. By law, window cleaners must be licensed by the local council in order to operate. This ensures they have undergone a thorough police check, have identity badges, public liability insurance and work according to health and safety rules. Cllr Gerry McMullan, Chair of the council's Licensing & Regulation Committee said the campaign aims to raise customer awareness about the benefits of licensing. "A lot of people probably don't realise that we license window cleaners to make sure Fife consumers are protected. The system's there to make sure you know who's looking through your windows!" "A great deal of crime is conducted throughout Scotland by bogus workmen calling on the most vulnerable of our society. By highlighting the fact that window cleaners require a licence to operate, we in Fife are supporting the legitimate tradesmen and their good work and stopping the rogue dealers that exist within our communities. "Douglas Atkinson of the SLWCN explained, "We are working with councils all over Scotland to highlight the licensing scheme, which is for the general public's protection, and I'd like to thank Fife Council for the work they are doing to promote the issue. "There are a lot of unlicensed window cleaners who put themselves, their workers and customers at risk. I urge anyone looking for a window cleaner to go to or contact the council to check out who is licensed to operate in Fife before making a choice." But it's not just domestic customers that need to check their window cleaners. The SLWCN estimates that around 80% of commercial properties are cleaned by unlicensed workers. A Fife licence is needed to operate in Fife - those issued by other councils are not valid. All window cleaners should have visible identity badges, which show the Fife Council logo, their individual licence number and an expiry date. The badges help deter rogue traders and can offer peace of mind for customers, especially the elderly. Councillor George Kay, Chair of the Police, Fire & Safety Committee, says this is a clear advantage. "Regulating businesses of this kind is really important to improve community safety. Only use a licensed window cleaner and ask to see their ID when they turn up. If your window cleaner doesn't have an ID badge, please report them to Crimestoppers." Anyone can phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report an unlicensed window cleaner working in their area. Those caught may be reported to the Procurator Fiscal's Office. Posters and leaflets with full information about licensed window cleaners will be available locally.

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