The idea of forcing members to belong to a recognised Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme (such as BASIS Prompt) prompted a lively discussion at the National Pest Management Associations annual general meeting (AGM), held at NPTA House last night (18 January).
|No consensus emerged and both sides of the discussion made some very valid points.
In the pro camp the need to demonstrate progress and increasing professionalism among NPTA members to politicians and regulators as well as potential customers was a clear driver.
One example of how a contract had been lost purely because the company concerned had the option not to belong to BASIS Prompt underlined the argument for. It was also pointed out that the huge demand for CPD at PestTech seminars suggests that many NPTA members are already on the BASIS Prompt professional register.
|However, against the idea of compulsory membership was the argument that many members are specialists in, for example mole control or wildlife management and that collecting appropriate CPD points would be pretty much impossible.
The quality of the CPD was also seriously questioned – much of it is based on either self assessment or online questionnaires and so open to abuse by those who are inclined to cheat the system.
The conclusion was that more consultation among the membership was necessary, although how to compel members to participate in their association is another thorny problem.
Left to right: NPTA chairman Adam Hawley, chief executive John Davison and Board member Sabra Everett
|You could just implement a compulsory requirement and then you would doubtless hear what the members thought but such an approach is not an option for NPTA. Running a membership association has to be a consensual activity. Unlike a business where, at the end of the day, the owner or managing director can decide, membership bodies have to carry their members with them.
It was interesting to note that the proposed competitor CPD scheme from Lantra had not progressed and looks to be dead in the water.
The CPD discussion apart, the rest of the meeting was pretty uneventful. It did provide a useful overview of how the association is performing and the news here is all good.
|Performance wise NPTA saw its membership rise above the 1,000 mark to 1,012 in the year ended 31 March 2016. Turnover and, more importantly profit, were also up and plans to recruit another permanent member of staff to support members are already underway. Indeed an announcement is expected imminently.
NPTA chairman Adam Hawley thanked the Board who generously give of their time and the permanent staff for all their hard work. He also announced that Barrie Sheard had decided to step down from the Board.
Barrie, who was honoured with a lifetime membership in 2012, has been instrumental in the formation and development of NPTA.
His involvement began way back in May 1994 when he joined the original ‘band of four’ who had set up the fledgling association in the previous year. He served as chairman for a number of years, stepping down in 2009.
|Barrie Sheard, who is stepping down from the NPTA board