All Change for the AHCP Annual Conference

Not least among these changes was the unveiling of the AHCP’s exciting new image during the opening session, by National Chair, Carina Bale.

Many of the changes have come in response to the survey of members’ views last year – 85 per cent of whom felt that the AHCP needed to raise its public profile further and communicate better with the outside world. The new image sums up the AHCP’s goal to be the leading authority and “voice of choice” on the subject of healthcare cleaning.
The new logo featured on a series of plasma TV screens in the conference hall, giving proceedings a stylish, upbeat feel. In the exhibition, which filled to capacity every available space in the venue, the AHCP’s own stand featured examples of the new image including roller banners and give-away items such as pens and mouse mats. The striking new banners proved a great hit with delegates and copies were distributed to regional branches for use at future events.

The Conference is about serious business as much as image and in this respect a lot of thought had clearly gone into improving participants’ experiences. The revised two day format enabled the same number of presentations and networking opportunities as before to be fitted in over a shorter period. This helped participants make more effective use of their time and also meant delegates only able to attend for one day still got a full day’s programme of speakers and networking opportunities.
The use of breakout sessions during the first afternoon was particularly welcomed by delegates who were able to focus on the topics of greatest relevance and interest to them. The sessions encouraged participants to consider issues in healthcare cleaning from different perspectives, something that early feedback indicates was very popular.
This year’s programme had been devised to keep participants up to date on key issues and to offer something new both for first time delegates and conference veterans. In a departure from previous years there was a much greater emphasis on presentations from independent experts on key topics and fewer talks from equipment vendors. There were also some extremely valuable and inspiring presentations of case studies by members, detailing their first hand experiences of some of the challenges delegates face.
Interactivity and engagement were the touchstones of conference. Sessions opened with a short video sequence of delegates’ impressions of the previous session, which provided a real opportunity for feedback. A new stage layout encouraged more questioning and discussion with presenters. But some things didn’t change. Nigel Grinstead has presided over many AHCP conferences in the past and proved as popular and efficient in keeping events flowing on time as ever this year.
A further innovation was the Oscar’s style awards ceremony that took place during the President’s dinner. This proved very popular with everyone, with some very popular and well deserved winners.
Overall the 35th AHCP Annual Conference and Exhibition was the largest and most successful conference ever in the association’s history, with 150 full delegates, 52 exhibitors and over 300 participants in total attending over the two days. Three magazines took stands and a total of eight publications sent journalists to report on the event. Press announcements were issued during conference to the association’s newly created media list, which has generated more media coverage than ever before.
Even the closing session contained a major surprise, in the form of the announcement of a new AHCP President’s Award. This new award is intended to encourage action and award achievement in one key area the President wishes to focus on each year. For 2010 to 2011 the theme is improving the health and well being of cleaning staff. Applications are invited now and the selection process will be on-going during 2010 with the first award due to be given at Annual Conference 2011.