Franchisee Akbar Mirza, CEO of Waves Joanna Graham and Councillor Balvinder Bains

From left: franchisee Akbar Mirza; CEO of Waves Joanna Graham; and councillor Balvinder Bains

The Responsible Car Wash Scheme (RCWS) has awarded the first government-backed accreditation for car washes demonstrating compliance in employment, environmental and premises law.

Waves car wash and Pro Touch Valeting, both in Slough, applied for accreditation following a visit from the RCWS as part of a Home Office funded pilot to test licensing for car washes.

Both sites will now display an RCWS sticker and banner, assuring drivers they will receive a fair wash when visiting.

Teresa Sayers, managing director, RCWS said: “These accreditations are a landmark in our goal to see car washes across the UK offer a fair wash for all – fair to their workers, their customers and to the environment.

“Both of these car washes have proven to be adhering to the RCWS code of practice in full and meeting their employment, environmental and premises obligations. Businesses in Slough have been very receptive to the scheme and we have other applications coming through, so I am sure these will be the first of many accreditations.”

Joanna Graham, CEO of Waves Car Wash, said: “We fully support the RCWS and were very keen to gain accreditation as soon as possible. We hope that this scheme encourages other car washes in the area (and more widely) to ensure they comply with the law and that it also helps customers to make an informed choice about where they get their car cleaned.”

The pilot started on May 10 with visits by the RCWS to 20 car washes in Slough with the assistance of the local council, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and Thames Valley Police. The aim of the initial visits was to inform car wash businesses of the scheme and encourage applications for accreditation. The visits have been followed up with further communication with each car wash.

The hand car wash sector has consistently been identified by the GLAA as an industry where workers are at risk of exploitation ranging from poor working conditions to modern day slavery. Legitimate businesses are often undercut by those breaking the law, creating an unfair competitive landscape.

RCWS Accreditation requires the operator to meet and abide the Code of Practice which requires:

Consent to Trade and Trading Standards;

Financial Transparency and Corporate Governance;

Providing Safe and Hygienic Working Conditions;

Protecting the Environment;

Compliant and Ethical Employment Practices and prevention of worker exploitation.