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Tomorrow’s Cleaning spoke with Simon Forrester, Chief Executive of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) to learn more about a new initiative brought in to raise standards in pest control across the UK.

A new initiative to raise standards in pest control is set to deliver significant benefits to the cleaning industry in the UK.

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 acts as an assurance that member companies are fully qualified to deal with all pest species and are experts on integrated pest management, the safe use of biocides and health and safety issues.

The independently-audited accreditation, and accompanying certification programme, was launched earlier this year by the Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA).

National trade body the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) – a member of the British Cleaning Council – is now putting every one of its 450-plus servicing members through the process.

Tomorrow’s Cleaning talked to Chief Executive Simon Forrester, who says it’s a move that will deliver peace of mind to both the cleaning sector, and their clients.

Tomorrow’s Cleaning (TC): Why introduce the professional standard?

Simon Forrester (SF): It was developed to professionalise the pest management sector throughout Europe and protect clients, public health and the environment.

Compliance with EN16636 enables pest management providers to demonstrate that they have the necessary competence and know- how to deliver professional pest management services, and they have

50 | Tomorrow’s Cleaning February 2016

a management system to ensure a consistent level of quality. It also shows that they systematically minimise risks for clients and the public and that they minimise potential negative impacts on the environment and animal welfare.

TC: What does it mean for the cleaning industry?

SF: Cleaning professionals who insist on using pest management companies that meet the standard will know they are employing trained and competent experts employed by companies who have been independently measured against this benchmark of quality.

We know of many pest controllers who are untrained and do not stay up to date with the latest products, techniques and legislation. It’s something that can create big problems, and can harm the reputation of the cleaning companies involved too. After all, without good cleaning and hygiene a site is a magnet for pests.

Cleaning companies and their clients are trusting their reputation to their pest controller, so they can no longer afford to choose the cheapest quote and sit back. Any prosecution would ask what verification process you had gone through when selecting your pest control supplier.

The EN16636 standard and, by extension, BPCA membership, provides that peace of mind.

TC: How will the UK cleaning industry benefit from the BPCA’s move to insist all servicing members achieve the standard?

SF: One of the regular issues we hear of from pest control clients is that when they establish a specification

that says ‘must be a BPCA member’ they are challenged by other groups to revise their documents to say ‘or equivalent’. This is something of a misnomer as there are no equivalents out there.

Other bodies might tick boxes on an audit, or simply ask for a cheque and a cursory check on insurances, but we go way beyond that already. We have listened to cleaning professionals wishing to establish clear criteria which cannot be challenged with threats of legal action by other bodies.

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