Latest News from BPCA

31 January 2017

Frequently asked questions about BS EN 16636 Certification

Updated 18 June 2019

1. How will the certificate benefit me and my company?

BS EN 16636 certification sets a clear and practical benchmark for the competences of a pest control operator and the basic processes required to ensure a quality service can be consistently delivered. It demonstrates your company’s commitment to delivering a professional service. This is your chance to lead the way and set yourself above other companies and be on the same playing field as the larger organisations.

2. What happens if we leave Europe in June?

This is a British Standard so leaving the EU will have little or no impact, certainly nothing in the short to medium term. British Standards are recognised globally, and it would be very unlikely for the powers-that-be to downgrade or remove these in any way. Many UK businesses work internationally.

3. Can I have stickers for my vehicles and logos printed on my reports, etc? 

We have produced some vehicle and van stickers which can be requested from Bureau Veritas once you have been awarded a certificate. Just ask for them once you have passed. Our guidance documents and logo pack can also be sent over to you for use on your website, marketing materials etc. The pack includes the Bureau Veritas BS EN 16636 certification mark and the CEPA Certified logo in a range of formats and colours for different backgrounds. Make sure you use them in as many ways as possible!

4. How many members of the BPCA are likely to take up BS EN 16636?

We budgeted for 40% of all members to sign up, however so far we are running at 98% of those being audited. Clearly that will drop a little as the stragglers get audited, but it will be higher than 40% of our 420+ full servicing members, and will grow as more and more customers begin to ask for BS EN 16636.

5. What about non-members of the BPCA? 

Non-members can be audited by Bureau Veritas or any other certification body licenced to operate in the UK by the Confederation of European Pest Associations (CEPA). However, they will not get the support from the Association, their auditors may not be from a pest control background, and the company will pay a significantly higher fee for both audit and certification.

6. How will the BPCA check the criteria of members if the staff are no longer assessing companies?

The BPCA annual return process checks all of the BPCA core servicing membership criteria, qualifications, CPD, sub-contractors, insurance etc.

7. What is the cost of BS EN 16636 certification with the BPCA compared to being certified independently of the BPCA?

Bureau Veritas is able to offer EN 16636 certification audits in line with audit day rates for ISO 9001. The BPCA model is to offer the audit to servicing members free of charge – the Association is paying for these 420+ audits to happen. All the member then needs to do is pay for certification to the standard, which is conducted by Bureau Veritas (BV) at a reduced rate. For all but the largest companies, this equates to approximately a 50% reduction on BV standard rates.

8. How do I get support from the BPCA to pass the audit to BS EN 16636? 

The BPCA staff team are always available to support you, whether it is for documentation or verbal advice. We will also make sure that BS EN 16636 is discussed at our regular regional forums. For further information, contact your local field officer or, the BPCA office.

9. What happens if I fail? Do I lose BPCA membership? 

At the beginning of 2019, the BPCA EB decided that it was time for our members to be expected to pass the EN16636 audit.

Audit non-conformities may be flagged up by the auditor however, a timeline of improvement is always given and with these improvements being put in place, it will be vary hard for a member to ‘fail’ an audit.

The BPCA technical team will also assist you after your audit if any issues are flagged - just get in touch and we’ll help! The only time that BPCA membership will be at risk of being lost is if:

  1. The member does not agree to having an audit i.e. does not respond to booking requests
  2. The member cancels an audit for unreasonable reasons i.e. ‘because a new job came in’
  3. An audit is failed for critical reasons i.e. H&S issues relating to serious injury.

10. How can I market that I have BS EN 16636 certification? 

You can start right now – tell clients you are working towards achieving BS EN 16636, the European Standard for our sector. Once you have an audit date, tell them you are now ready to go for certification, and once you pass, make sure there’s a copy of the certificate in every site folder. Also, why not do some PR to your local or regional newspaper?

11. If I am certified why do I need to be a BPCA member?

Putting aside the regular benefits you receive from being a BPCA member, i.e. Business Shield, referrals, etc., the BPCA is also the supporting arm for you to be able to achieve and keep the certification. You would not get this valuable support if you were not a BPCA member. The Association has also developed this scheme to enable you to gain certification at a reduced cost. Without us you’d pay a lot more.

12. What if I change my mind after the first year?

After your main certification audit, you will be awarded a certificate which is valid for three years. You will need to undergo a half-a-day surveillance audit 12-24 months after this main audit to ensure there have been no significant changes which might affect certification (i.e. a significant increase in the amount of technicians which would impact on training needs, or a growth in the business which would mean more sites were taken on – which should be considered under certification and now need to be seen). If the certified pest control organisation (PCO) does not undergo this surveillance audit or chooses to cancel their certification, the organisation’s certification will be suspended and later withdrawn.

13. What are BPCA/ Bureau Veritas doing to promote BS EN 16636? 

Roadshows, attending overseas events, speaking to the end-users and much, much more. The PPC magazine is a good guide to check for industry updates and what BPCA are up to.

The Bureau Veritas also has a webpage solely for information on the CEPA scheme and will link to all the press releases and news stories already on our website. We also have a number of articles coming out in industry magazines, look out for our article in PPC and other pest Magazines.

14. Is this going to be just another fad’?

Major industry leaders and large food manufacturing organisations are already showing a great interest in the standard and what it means to them in terms of confidence.

15. Is BS EN 16636 a licence for pest control?

Not at the moment. However, we have already seen a stewardship programme implemented in the UK and the HSE are showing interest in the value of BS EN 16636; therefore, this may be a snapshot of what licensing could look like.

16. How do I ensure my business passes the audit?

BPCA has a wide variety of supportive information that can help you pass. You can speak to one of the field team to go through the standard and what is needed. Anything that you may need, in terms of documentation or procedure advice, the BPCA can usually provide or direct you to. Any procedures that maybe need ‘updating’ can be implemented with the help, again, of the BPCA technical team.

17. Who is actually asking for BS EN 16636 certification?

All BPCA members are undergoing the audit process and we have started to hear of Food clients, who Bureau Veritas currently certify, being aware of the standard in the market. Our auditors are speaking about the standard at their ISO and BRC audit closing meetings, thus raising awareness of the benefits BS EN 16636 is introducing to the food, hospitality and public health sectors. The benefit of having the Bureau Veritas network across Europe allows us to target PCOs and their potential clients all over the continent. 

18. Will it become law?

We currently have a government that does not like adding extra red tape for businesses. However, we are seeing more and more demands on our sector to police itself. Stewardship addresses products, but the BPCA believes that in the medium term we will see regulation come in. BS EN 16636 is the ready-made ‘licence to practice’ for that date. Point one in the BPCA’s strategic plan is LEAD the professional pest management sector by promoting professional practice and point two “EXPLORE a viable licensing structure for the professional pest management sector” So we have it covered!

19. Isn’t this just for big companies?

This could not be further from the truth; one of the first companies to get certified has his office in his mother’s living room. It is great for smaller companies as they can now say they have exactly the same certifications as the ‘big name’ pest control brands.

20. I only work for small businesses and the public; does this really apply to me?

The standard is tailored to apply to all PCOs, small or large. There are certain requirements which will be audited against and these are applied on a case by case basis with different justifications. For example, not all companies will have high tech reporting apps and indeed those may not be the best way forward for some. The standard calls for effective reporting and recording of client details, risks and inspections and the auditors will look to find examples of where this requirement is met.  That applies to all clauses of the standard.

21. If I get things wrong, how long have I got to put them right, and what help is available?

Non-conformities (NCs) may be raised where there is a failure to meet a particular requirement of the standard. These are categorised as critical, major and minor. For minor NCs, a certificate can still be awarded with up to 5 raised at a single visit. For majors and critical, NCs need to be closed within 3 months for a certificate to be awarded 

22. If I fail part of the audit, what happens?

You will be given time to put right what you have failed on. If minor they can be fixed relatively quickly and could be fixed on the day, but if the NC’s are of a more major issue then you have 3 months if you are being certified. The BPCA team are here to help you fix any parts that you fail on and get you through as soon as possible.

23. Whose idea in the BPCA was this?

In 2008, the BPCA Board took a decision to sign up to something called the Rome Protocol, established via our European Confederation of Pest Associations (CEPA). The Rome Protocol outlines the standards of professionalism demanded of its members – these cover training, product use and a commitment to customers. This was the birth of what ultimately became BS EN 16636.

24. Does this involve any further training for my technicians or staff?

Not necessarily. As long as you have qualified staff (BPCA criteria level 2) or staff who are working towards the qualification then you will be fine. If you have admin staff, it’s a good idea to record some basic pest awareness training for them; this can be done in-house or via BPCA.

25. Does this involve any more admin for my staff?

Possibly, it really depends how ‘ready’ for the audit you are. You may find that you need to update some risk assessments, or implement COSHH records so the admin involved is there but the BPCA can assist and make the process easier. To assess your readiness, why not take the free self-evaluation assessment developed by CEPA via their website,

26. Can I split the payment over my four quarterly DDRs?

Not at the moment, as we are using two external companies for this process it means they will want paying as soon as you take up certification, however this may be a possibility as we move further into the process. BPCA is investing a six-figure sum in the audit process, so just like our Members, we have to be careful about cashflow.

27. What experience/qualifications do the auditors have?

Both of the auditors have worked in the pest control industry for many years and they are qualified in pest control, both hold the RSPH level 2 and the accredited technician qualification, they even have the new BASIS/BPCA Using Rodenticides Safely qualification. They are also qualified auditors, and have been trained and approved by both CEPA and BV.

28. Does this mean I won’t see [Dee/Natalie/Kevin] again?

No. Kevin, Dee and Natalie, the existing technical field support team, will always be on the end of the phone or email. They will also be happy, where needed, to come and see you and support you in any way you may need. However, they will no longer be doing the assessments that BPCA previously did as routine; this BS EN 16636 is the new ‘assessment’.

29. Does this link with product stewardship/are distributors going to start asking for it?

Suppliers will ask for whatever is a legal requirement to use the products they sell to you. All but one of the suppliers in the UK are BS EN 16636 Promoters, i.e. those companies who actively support the promotion of the BS EN 16636 standard across their customers.

30. What’s the difference in benefit for me between ‘passing’ and being ‘BS EN 16636 Certified?

After the audit, a recommendation will be made by the auditor as to whether they believe you can achieve certification. At this point, the PCO has met the requirements of the standard or is working towards meeting the requirements but will not be certified until the report has been reviewed by Bureau Veritas (BV). The audit is valid for 6 months before this decision needs to be made by the PCO as to whether to proceed with formally being certificated. The report and any further necessary information will be sent in to BV by the auditor and will undergo a technical review before a decision for certification is made. So, although you can tell your customers you have been audited to the standard you will not be able to show them a certificate of compliance until you are BS EN 16636 Certified.

31. Why can’t the BPCA audit me, why does it have to be TAS? 

Within Bureau Veritas they have a combination of full time and subcontracted auditors with a range of qualifications and speciality disciplines. It was important for us to find auditors who had come from the industry, had the relevant working knowledge and who have the hands-on experience needed for auditing PCOs effectively to add benefit to the audited organisations.

So, the auditors are supplied by TAS as subcontracted resource to Bureau Veritas, they are trained to the required standard by the BPCA, as per CEPA requirements, and are working under confidentiality agreements with Bureau Veritas. Bureau Veritas also have 2 full time auditors with the relevant knowledge who will often support the TAS auditors and conduct regular witness assessments to ensure they are working to our company procedures and codes of practice.

32. What will the auditor look for when they visit?

The auditor will be looking at all of your systems and processes to make sure that you ‘do what it says on the tin’. If you tell the auditor that you always do staff training on a Monday they will expect to see evidence of this. They need to see that everyone working in the company follow the same processes and that the ethos is running through at all levels. They will need to spend some time with the technician (or you if it’s only you) to observe the service being delivered. They will want to walk away feeling that they would recommend you to friends or family should they need a pest controller.

33. Who is Bureau Veritas? 

Bureau Veritas is an independent global testing, inspection and certification body. they have 140 offices worldwide and employ over 60,000 people. In the UK, Bureau Veritas is one of the leading certification bodies providing QHSE (quality, health & safety and environmental) audits, BRC scheme audits, FSC assessments etc.

34. I remember the wording ‘CEPA Certified’ being used, why do we not see this much now?

After nearly 3 years of implementing this audit process and talking to the end users, we have found that customers are much more familiar with standards and certifications that involve numbers! Such as ISO 9001, 18001, etc. BS EN 16636 is more recognisable to your customers and so, it makes sense to market it this way. CEPA Certification will still be on the certificate and van stickers, etc but, BS EN 16636 is what we will refer to when discussing, writing and marketing the certification.

35. I don’t work in Europe so I won’t need it.

We are part of Europe so this standard fully applies, even when we leave the EU this is a British Standard so BS EN 16636 will not be affected. Many clients work across national borders (eg hotels, supermarkets) and will want the peace of mind that a common standard deliver.

36. Can I bring forward my initial audit date? 

The auditors will want to work with you as much as possible to make sure that the audit does not interfere with the running of your business, if for some reason the date needs to be changed, then as long as they get enough notice then they will endeavour to move the date to a more suitable time, however if notice is given late then this may carry a charge as the auditors will have a lost day.

37. Can I change the date of my surveillance audit? 

As with above but also with the added time constraints as the surveillance must be done within a certain time frame or could lead to recertification being necessary. As long as it’s within the time frame and good notice is given then the auditors will try and rearrange where possible.

38. How do I sign up? 

You can request an application form from any of the BPCA staff, or, if you  know your auditor already, send an email over to him/her requesting the information and necessary paperwork


Natalie Bungay
BPCA Technical Field Officer
07522 390371

BPCA Office 01332 294 288


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