Berkshire firm jumps ahead with new mark of quality
A BERKSHIRE company has become one of the first in the country to achieve a new accreditation promoting professional standards in pest control.
The European Standard for Pest Management Services acts as a demonstration of credentials and a benchmark of quality throughout Europe.
And Countrywide Pest Management, which has bases in Newbury and Reading, this week became the first company in the Thames Valley, and only the sixth in the UK, to be measured against the standard.
He said: “The EN16636 Standard is a mark of quality, so the fact we’re among the first to be accredited in the UK is a feather in our cap.
“It’s very important for us to demonstrate our professional status and achieving this accreditation provides independent proof of that.
“It was a lot of hard work to achieve it because the auditing process was tough, but we’re members of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) and they steered us in the right direction. We believe it will be worth the effort in the end.”
The EN16636 Standard, and its accompanying certification scheme, was launched earlier this year by the Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA).
It defines quality and best practice and acts as an assurance that member companies are fully qualified to deal with all species of both rodents and insects and experts on integrated pest management, the use of chemicals and health and safety issues.
The Standard is the cornerstone of a strategy to portray a positive image of the pest control industry in terms of public health, food safety, environmental sustainability and economic significance.
Simon Forrester, chief executive of the BPCA, believes the move will deliver significant benefits for Countrywide, which also operates in Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire.
He said: “We know of many pest controllers who are untrained and do not stay up-to-date with the latest products, techniques and legislation – and that’s something which can create big problems.
“But this will demonstrate Countrywide are on a level playing field with the best pest management companies in the world and will mean that, by employing them, businesses and individuals can be totally confident of a professional service.”
Mr Forrester added: “All BPCA servicing members must be at least working towards the Standard from now on and we’re aiming to help everyone pass the audit by June 2017.
“But it’s important to realise this accreditation is far from a simple box-ticking exercise.
“Internal audits can be weakened by pressure to allow companies to pass, which we know happens in other associations. So each member will be independently assessed by Bureau Veritas, the global certification body, and we are the only UK organisation that does this.
“By using third party verification, clients can be sure our audits are legitimate and that every BPCA member company is held to the same high standard.”
That audit involves the entire structure of a company to make sure everything from its working practices and training to its ethos and values is correctly aligned.
Mr Forrester added: “This is a move which sends out a strong message that when people use BPCA members, they can have peace of mind that the job will be done properly.
“We want the BPCA to remain the mark of professionalism in UK pest management and for clients to know to look for our logo every time they select a pest management company.”