Latest News from BPCA

02 July 2015

Councils must point to professionals on pest control

LOCAL authorities are being urged to ensure cuts to pest control services don't create a risk to public health. Recent figures* show almost 40 per cent of councils in Britain have now done away with once traditional in-house services in a bid to balance the books. And with more likely to follow suit, experts fear greater numbers of homeowners will be left to tackle infestations themselves.

Simon Forrester, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), says DIY treatments can often make matters worse - with potentially harmful effects. And he's urging councils who no longer provide a pest control service to instead refer residents to properly-qualified technicians.

He said: "Ten years ago, almost every local authority offered free or subsidised pest control, but the situation is now very different.

"More and more are cutting or discontinuing certain treatment delivery and others are having to charge for the service.

"People might therefore try to deal with issues themselves, but the treatment of pests is often complicated and specialised and it's easy to get out of your depth.

"If some infestations are not treated properly, they can get out of hand and that can have consequences on physical health as well as the mental and social well-being not only of those affected but their neighbours too."

BPCA research shows many members of the public still expect local authority assistance with pest control, regardless of availability or cost.
So Mr Forrester believes councils have at least a moral obligation to ensure residents are pointed in the right direction. He says those don't have robust procurement or recommendation policies in place are failing in their duty.

He added: "Authorities forced to cut pest control services must refer members of the public to a qualified and professional company - or face the risk of having to pick up the pieces further down the line.

"Some are happy to recommend trade bodies, such as the BPCA, and we'll support them by directing residents to our professional members in their area.

"But we've heard of some who refer people to less reputable sources and some who refuse to offer advice at all - and that can lead to big problems.

"If a pest infestation is not treated properly, the authority might then have to step in to eliminate the threat to public health - and that would cost much more than dealing with the issue in the first place."

Some 19 per cent of the 407 local authorities in Britain sub-contract pest control services to private companies and Mr Forrester warned: "Councils who enter into a formal agreement with a third party have more than just a moral obligation to their residents.

"They must ensure any private operators they use or recommend are fully-trained professionals or they could face serious repercussions.

"Those who still provide in-house pest control services are now required to demonstrate their professionalism and ensure staff are both fully qualified and up-to-date with the latest products and procedures.

"So it's important those who sub-contract those services also comply with the rules."

Every company linked to the not-for-profit BPCA must also be registered with BASIS PROMPT - an industry scheme aimed at raising standards of pest control.

Technicians need to hold recognised qualifications and demonstrate Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Rob Simpson, leader of BASIS PROMPT, said: "Effective pest control demands a high level of knowledge and skill, but it also demands a genuine commitment to CPD.

"Techniques, technology and regulations change often, so companies that embrace CPD will be the ones who put themselves in pole position to be recommended by local authorities." To find a professional pest controller, visit www.bpca.org.uk For more information about BASIS PROMPT, visit www.basis-reg.com/pestcontrol

The changing face of local authority pest control services...

  •  The number of councils providing a free service has declined by 26 per cent over the last four years.
  • The number offering any service - either in-house or sub-contracted - declined by four per cent last year alone.
  • 19 per cent contract out their pest control service to a third party.
  • 38 per cent now provide no in-house service at all.
  • 19 per cent of those that do are planning to review its future.
  • Only 6 per cent of councils with an in-house service continue to offer free treatments.

 

* Figures from the national pest survey 2013/14 produced by the British Pest Control Association.

Source: BPCA.org.uk

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