Royal Shakespeare Company

Royal Shakespeare Company


The contract was awarded to Incentive QAS following competitive tender and consists of daily cleaning of the whole RSC estate, with particular attention to busier periods around performances. Additional periodic and high level cleaning services are also provided, along with washroom hygiene services, pest control and landscaping.

The mobilisation of this contract provided a number of challenges due to previous mismanagement and a brand new industry sector for Incentive QAS. Effective and honest communication with our client was the key to a successful start and our open approach helped our induction to the arts sector.


The RSC account was inherited by Incentive QAS following a rocky contract term overseen by our predecessors, with several different contract managers passing through the doors in the space of three years. Channels of communication weren’t productive and the perception of the client by the on-site team was ‘challenging and demanding’.

RSC initially didn’t have faith we would deliver the expected service levels or believe we would manage the clearly demotivated team effectively. The best cleaning operative was on long term sick and the current contract manager had an ingrained negative attitude, which affected overall team spirt and morale.


We decided to deconstruct the contract totally and start the mobilisation period as if it were a ‘greenfield’ site, banishing all preconceived perceptions we held. We took time to engage with all stakeholders and explored each of their areas of concern and ultimately, what effect these concerns would have on their working lives if nothing happened to change them.

As we came to understand and appreciate the real needs of the client during these early exchanges, it became evident that we also needed to adapt our operational management style. Managing a cleaning contract within the arts sector has its own specific and unique demands, as well as the personalities involved requiring a much more personable approach.

Some immediate ‘quick fix’ solutions involving changes to personnel and services were demonstrated, whilst continuing to build on the working relationships with all stakeholders. Once we had convinced the client we truly understood the complexities of this contract, they began to trust us more to deliver over and above the required standard. Our advice and input was requested on a number of working projects regarding the development of the RSC, whilst we continue to offer proactive and innovative solutions.

The working relationships and mutual respect within this contract are extremely strong; resulting in a number of client recommendations and some contract additions and enhancements.

About the Author