Publication - Minutes

Electricians Working Group minutes: April 2019

Published: 5 Nov 2019
Date of meeting: 25 Apr 2019

Minutes of the Electricians Working Group meeting, held on 25 April 2019.

Published:
5 Nov 2019
Electricians Working Group minutes: April 2019

Attendees and apologies

  • Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills (chair)
  • Mike Andrews, NAPIT
  • Richard Clarke, Unite the Union
  • Cheryl Cox, Certsure
  • Ken Daly, Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland
  • David Dourley, Scottish Fire and Rescue
  • Anne Galbraith, Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust
  • Fiona Harper, Scottish Joint Industry Board
  • Wayne Mackay, Electrical Safety First
  • Ruth Mendel, CAS
  • Stuart Thompson, NICEIC Scotland
  • Alan Wilson, SELECT
  • Lorraine King, Scottish Government
  • Andrew McConnell, Scottish Government
  • Tanya Friel, Scottish Government

Apologies

  • Eddie Arrowsmith, Certsure
  • Stan Johnston, Independent chair of SELECT Registration Board
     

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed the attendees and thanked them for attending the fifth meeting of the Electricians Working Group.

Minutes from previous meeting

The minutes were agreed and will be published on the Government’s website.

Pye Tait report

Lorraine King gave a summary of the Pye Tait Report on the Regulation of Electricians in Scotland. It presented five options and said that Protection of Title alone is not enough. It recommends statutory protection of title and a comprehensive registration and licensing scheme along with a related awareness campaign. Legal advice would be required on what was within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Discussions on Pye Tait report

Items discussed included:

  • need for consideration of enforcement action and how existing frameworks could be used
  • a publicity campaign would be important to inform consumers about the availability of enforcement remedies
  • a previous attempt was made to promote the licensing of traders by the Construction Licencing Executive
  • regular assessment of competence is important and must be clearly communicated
  • the report highlights that the status quo is not an option.  It should be used to keep the momentum going on this issue
  • Roundtable discussion on the way forward

The Chair made reference to the proposed introduction of a Member’s Bill by Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP. He said that it was unlikely there would be space to take forward Government legislation in this parliamentary term, but this is an option to consider going forward. 

Items discussed included:

  • Scottish Government’s Approved Certifier of Construction scheme could be looked at to see if there was scope to make it more accessible to consumers as this is not its main focus currently
  • digital access to a scheme or online register may exclude some consumers. The design of any potential register should be considered, ensuring any scheme is accessible and responsive
  • further consideration needed around who would run, maintain and fund new register and what would Scottish Government role be to promote it
  • register exists for those who have been trained through SJIB, but is not available to the public at present. Although this is voluntary, most Scottish trained electricians are on it
  • consumers use current registers maintained by SELECT and NICEIC to look for electricians to do work and to check membership credentials. Electrical Safety First’s website links to these websites and the Approved Certifier of Construction one
  • Construction Skills Certification Scheme is a scheme which could be adopted as infrastructure is in place. Customers could go online or use an app to check information
  • an independent register which incorporates individuals and businesses could be an idea going forward. It would require relevant qualifications or competency to be on the register. Statutory back up and consumer protection element would be helpful, along with financial redress
  • Protection of Title could help to protect consumers but also play a part in enhancing the profession and bring better qualified people into the industry but would not be enough on its own. There would need to be licensing of businesses as well

Non-statutory action

  • discussion could be held around Scottish Government’s Approved Certifier of Construction scheme to see how it could become more useful for protecting consumers
  • anything to raise awareness is welcome. For example fuel suppliers could be brought on board by putting information on a letter or a bill
  • campaign similar to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s White Goods Safety campaign which ran on social media channels, TV and radio. An evaluation is currently underway
  • scope for CABx to do work (similar to scams awareness activities) as they already have established local relationships. Could also tie into Warm Homes Discount Scheme to communicate key messages
  • home fire safety visits can encourage the use of qualified and competent electricians
  • local authority Trusted Trader schemes are operated by about half the councils. Any problems can be followed up by Trading Standards
  • commercial operations such as Checkatrade could be approached to promote registers of electricians
  •  a key aim would be to agree on a standard message to be communicated about the importance of using suitably competent and qualified electricians, and signposting to available register(s)

Conclusions and way forward

The Chair thanked those attending and concluded that a useful and constructive discussion had taken place. He said more work would be done to identify what we can legislate for and where we cannot introduce regulations. In addition officials would develop ideas for ways to raise awareness of the need to use competent and qualified electricians. He wished the Group to meet again but also wanted to consider if a regular forum could be held, perhaps annually, to discuss more general issues of relevance.

Action:

  • Scottish Government to identify what is within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and come back to the Group with further information on what can be done.  A sixth meeting will be arranged for later in the year, date and time to be confirmed
     

Contact

Email: consumerandcompetition@gov.scot

Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Post:
Scottish Government
Consumer and Competition Policy Unit
3rd Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU