Professional Pest Controller issue 92

03 September 2018

Chief Exec viewpoint: First 100(ish) days

Chief Exec viewpoint | PPC91 May 2018

Oh, the glamour of being a CEO.

In my first hundred days in the job I have trudged around a caravan park in Bridlington when the Beast from the East was blasting its way across the UK. To add to this delight, I then trudged similarly around a golf course near Hull looking for moles. I have crawled through the roof-space of a food production factory, checked bait boxes in the snow, squeezed between pallets of packaged foods and throughout it all haven’t yet seen much by way of pests.

I have driven over 10,000 miles to meet members and heard about the work of a wide range of pest control businesses from one-man bands to big national companies.

Of the people I have met, a common feature is the passion they have for the work they do as pest controllers and their desire to be, and to be seen to be, professional.

In between meeting members, I have done the RSPH Level 2 course and spent a Friday afternoon sitting the 3-hour exam. I have questioned whether this is the best way to assess pest control, given it is such a practical job. The responses from members on this matter have been similar, and the response from the RSPH has been that our sector likes the exam!

I have met some fascinating people who do an incredible job in some very unpleasant environments, and they do it with a smile (most of the time), wanting to do the very best they can for their customers. That passion is commonplace in the sector, and something I’ve experienced when I have been out and about and I see it across our Board and Committees.

In between times, I have actually got on with some of my day job stuff, including getting the strategy out there and building a greater sense of ownership of the strategy across the organisation. I have also had meetings with partner trade and professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management, the British Cleaning Council and the British Institute of Facilities Management.

My reflections on my first 100 days are that as a trade association, what I was told at interview has proved to be right: BPCA is in a good place, and I want to take it from good to great. There is more work to be done in getting the sector professionalised, and while great work has been done on getting training, qualifications and ongoing CPD embedded in the industry we cannot be complacent as some form of licensing may be around the corner, and we need to be ready to influence that.

I am clear that BPCA has two primary roles: to drive professionalism in the sector and to be the voice for the sector. We have more to do in both those areas. We are increasing the noise about BPCA members and EN 16636 with specifiers, particularly in the food, drink and hospitality sectors which are significant users of our services. Educating commercial users is a huge task. Educating the public is on a different scale entirely. On that, I am keen that the public starts to understand how different the world at home, work and play would be if you didn’t do pest management.

There is much to do, and we can’t do it all. I am keen that as a trade association we do the right things well and that may mean not doing some things, including things that we may currently do.

Equally, there may be things we don’t do presently that we ought to be doing – one great example of this is CPD which we are taking in-house this year to give us greater flexibility on how we develop this within a broader professional development framework for our members.

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Ian AndrewIan Andrew
Chief Executive
September 2018  |  PPC92

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