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Mark of quality to raise standards in pest control

08 November 2016

A new scheme designed to raise standards in pest control is set to deliver significant benefits to the contract cleaning industry – and its customers, according to Simon Forrester, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA)

The European Standard for Pest Management Services (EN16636) acts as a demonstration of professional credentials and a benchmark of quality. It defines best practice and creates an assurance that companies are qualified to deal with all aspects of integrated pest management, the use of biocides and health and safety issues.

In short, it helps pest experts to stand out from the crowd and means cleaning businesses which include such accreditation in the specification process can be confident of a professional, effective and legal service.

Some 55 companies across the UK have now been successfully audited against the Standard and the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is putting each of its 450-plus servicing members through the process by July 2017.

Why introduce the professional standard?

The independently-audited accreditation, and accompanying certification programme, has been developed by the Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA). It aims to professionalise the pest management sector throughout the UK and the EU and protect clients, public health and the environment.

Compliance with EN16636 enables pest management providers to demonstrate:

  • They have the necessary competence and know-how to deliver professional pest management services
  • They have a management system to ensure a consistent level of quality
  • They systematically minimise risks for clients and their customers
  • They minimise potential negative impacts on the environment and animal welfare.

What does it mean for the cleaning industry?

Pest control suppliers who are unqualified or do not stay up to date with the latest products, techniques and legislation can cause big problems. Cleaning companies and their clients are trusting their reputation to their pest control contractor, so they can no longer afford to choose the cheapest quote and sit back. Any prosecution would ask what verification process had taken place during the selection process.

The EN16636 Standard, and by extension BPCA membership, establishes clear criteria which cannot be challenged by other bodies. It should become a key part of our collective drive to ensure the public can trust cleaning professionals and the pest control sub-contractors they employ.

What does the initiative involve?

The Standard delves into every aspect of a pest control company, from frontline call handling to sales, contracts and how they deal with pest management issues on site. It’s not just a paper exercise - auditors go out on site with technicians and ask searching questions to ensure what is said at HQ is embedded in the ethos of the organisation.

Every company wishing to be audited against the Standard needs to employ integrated pest management, which means managing problems before they begin by making the site unattractive to pests. It also reduces the quantity of biocides used, which is good for the environment and helps with Corporate Social Responsibility. 

Each applicant is independently assessed by Bureau Veritas, the global certification body – ensuring contractors who are ‘CEPA Certified’ are on a level playing field with the best pest management companies in the world.

How will your clients benefit from the scheme?

A contract with a pest control company which has attained ‘CEPA Certified’ status delivers peace of mind for businesses AND their customers. It also enables cleaning businesses to demonstrate officially that they’ve done everything possible to ensure the expertise and quality of their sub-contractor.

The Standard provides a comprehensive assurance of quality recognised throughout Britain and Europe and that’s why it is regarded as such a valuable initiative by the leading national trade body for public health pest control in the UK. By introducing an obligation for every servicing member to be audited against the European Standard, the non-profit BPCA is sending out a strong message.

Membership of the organisation remains the mark of professionalism in UK pest management and we want cleaning companies and their clients to look for our logo every time they select a pest control contractor - safe in the knowledge that they’re hiring an expert, not a cowboy.