Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 103

13 May 2021

President's viewpoint: Build back better

President viewpoint | PPC103 MAY 2021

I happen to be writing this on ‘Pub-mas Eve’, the night before beer gardens and non-essential shops are set to reopen in England.

The cautious optimism and gentle apprehensions of the sector and nation certainly match my feelings.

Every step that we get closer to ‘normality’ is reassuring for our businesses, yet there’s that unsettling sense of déjà vu; we’ve been here before and had to backtrack as the infamous R rate crept back up.

It’s been said plenty of times by plenty of people, but I’ll repeat it for posterity: we’re not out of the woods yet.

Every business owner, technician and team member can play their part by keeping their pest management Covid-secure. Our guidance is still available to anyone looking for a refresher.

Some of you may have started returning to hospitality sites after contracts were paused or cancelled.

Yesterday I saw a report of a local salon desperately trying to get some pigeon proofing done, so the line for hair cuts wasn’t in the splatter zone. The problem must have been going on for weeks. Yet the proprietor had only thought to get the problem sorted the day before his salon was due to reopen!

Something we share as a sector is a wish for our clients to take a more proactive approach to their pest problems. We want to be valued more as an industry, and we want people to take our recommendations seriously.

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘build back better’ bandied around a lot by politicians (it’s nearly as popular as ‘extraordinary times’).

That’s certainly the approach BPCA is taking. We’ve spent over 12 months reacting and adapting. Now we can see some light at the end of the tunnel - we’re trying to put our lessons learned into practice.

How best can we support members’ businesses and assure their clients they’re fit for the fight? We’ve gone back to the drawing board to rethink how member assessments can provide members with better value.

How can we take the best bits of PestExtra and put them into our physical events? How do we continue to develop cyber pest management training to give the sector better access to CPD?

We want our training and events to be accessible to as many people as possible, and we’re committed to embracing technology to make that happen.

How do we keep pest management on the public health agenda on the other side of the pandemic?

Pest control has had its share of stage time during the pandemic, undoubtedly down to BPCA’s public relations and lobbying efforts.

Our fight for key worker status, our ‘pest ready’ guide for businesses, and our watching brief on the explosion of rodent pest numbers have all kept us in the public consciousness.

Let’s not stop now.

Maybe now is our opportunity for us all to ‘build back better’.

As sites reopen (again), perhaps we should take extra time to talk through pest prevention recommendations; spend those additional few minutes talking about the risks to public health and safety that pest issues can cause.

Maybe when we’re in the beer garden catching up with non-pestie friends, we should take time to explain what we do – and, more importantly, why.

It takes a thousand tiny rebellions to make a change. If we want to be valued as the essential sector we are, let’s start as we mean to go on.

Philip Halpin
BPCA President

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