Lancaster City Council Unbugged is celebrating a double win after being presented with two prestigious industry accolades.
They were named Local Authority of the Year and Team of the Year at the British Pest Management Awards, organised by UK trade body the British Pest Control Association (BPCA).
Held at ExCel London, the award ceremony formed part of the BPCA’s esteemed biennial exhibition and conference PestEx, the UK’s pest management show.
Ron Haygarth, of Lancaster City Council, said: “It really is a privilege to have won these two awards for the work that the team has done so well.
“In 29 years, there have been lots of changes and they’ve come up to the mark every time – it’s an honour to work with them.”
In 2017 the local authority rebranded its commercial pest control work as ‘Unbugged’ with the aim of generating additional high-value work in order to become cost-neutral and ultimately a social enterprise.
Since then the team’s enthusiasm and knowledge has seen them achieve an encouraging rise in income and a high standard of service, with the overall customer satisfaction rate never dropping below 98 per cent.
What stood out to the expert panel of judges was the philosophy of continuous improvement and the introduction of new initiatives, plus the team’s ability to adapt and embrace new ideas.
Sue Clowes, Pest Control Manager at Lancaster City Council, puts Unbugged’s success down to the team’s light-hearted competition and sense of humour.
She said: “They are always willing to help each other out when one of them is struggling, but still retain a healthy and friendly rivalry.
“Although the team members have worked in the pest control service for many years, they remain passionate about their work and are never complacent.”
The Unbugged team has introduced drain camera surveys to generate additional income and volunteered to train to use scaffolding and cherry pickers to work at height. This has led to gull control work on rooftops involving egg replacement.
To further keep costs down, the team has also created their own mouse-proof air vent covers instead of using proprietary brands.
Their initiatives to minimise costings has generated public speaking opportunities for the team, with presentations already held for other local authorities, the Women’s Institute and Rotary.