Part 7: Recommendations from 2017/18 Annual Review
Recommendation 1 – Review of the Warmer Homes Scotland customer journey from the customer being referred to Warmworks through to the completion of the annual service visit (where required) to ensure that the full end-to-end customer journey process remains fit for purpose and meets the needs of households referred to the scheme.
During 2018/19 work commenced on a customer journey audit to establish if the scheme remains fit for purpose and meets the needs of households referred to the scheme. Pennington Choices, the independent scheme auditor is responsible for the audit and this will include workshops being held with Warmer Homes Scotland customers during 2019/20 to gain feedback and ideas for improvements based on their personal experience of the scheme. Pennington Choices will report the outcome of the customer journey audit in 2019/20 with recommendations for suggested improvements to the scheme, should these be found to be necessary.
Recommendation 2 - It is anticipated that additional renewable measures and an enhanced offer of additional enabling measures will be introduced to Warmer Homes Scotland during 2018/19, following their introduction, review the impact on cancellation rates, in particular the rates of customer cancellations due to fuel type, no suitable measures or perceived upheaval and/or preparations works to the property.
On 1 October 2018 a CVN was agreed to enable the offer of additional measures to customers under Warmer Homes Scotland. Some of these were additional measures included in the original contract but were not fully specified. In addition other enabling measures were added as a result of feedback from stakeholders. These include the replacement of existing oil fuel storage tanks, the removal of asbestos from properties, including the removal of old block storage heaters that contain asbestos. It is anticipated that these additional enabling measures will remove some of the barriers that have been experienced in preventing applications proceeding through to completion, due to the costs incurred by customers.
In addition the provision of energy efficient light bulbs and microgeneration solid biofuel heating systems were added to the scheme in October 2018.
The impact of these additional enabling measures will be analysed during 2019/20 to establish the impact of these on the number of applications cancelled for reasons such as upheaval/preparation and asbestos in the property.
Recommendation 3 - The trends for the installation of both internal and external insulation measures offered under the scheme should be reviewed and analysed in the 2018/19 review to establish if the scheme is continuing to provide insulation measures to improve the energy efficiency ratings of eligible properties inhabited by those households living in or at risk of living in fuel poverty. The analysis should also identify and examine regional trends in insulation measures installed.
Warmer Homes Scotland is delivered on a regional basis comprising 6 regions (including an islands region) to ensure that all households in Scotland, including those living in more remote parts of the country, get the same level of service.
Analysis of the trends in insulation measures installed under Warmer Homes Scotland in terms of both the types of measures installed and regional variations for reporting years 2016/17 to 2018/19 has been carried out.
This demonstrates that there was an overall decrease of 27% in the number of insulation measures installed under the scheme during these reporting years.
Strathclyde and Central region saw the largest reduction of insulation measures installed with 36% fewer insulation measures installed in 2018/19 than installed in 2017/18. The Islands saw a 34% reduction in insulation installations during the same period. The South East region saw the smallest reduction in installations with an 18% reduction.
As reported earlier, this decrease may be due to properties having benefitted from insulation measures installed under previous Scottish Government funded insulation schemes or UK Government funded ECO schemes. These are designed and delivered to improve the energy efficiency of properties.
Cavity Wall insulation saw the largest decrease in installations from 170 measures installed in 2016/17 to 69 measures in 2018/19 an overall reduction of 59% between reporting years. Internal wall insulation saw an overall decrease of 53% in installations from 68 in 2016/17 to 15 in 2018/19. Loft insulation measures decreased from 703 in 2016/17 to 386 in 2018/19 representing an overall decrease of 45%. Draught proofing measures saw a decrease from 250 in 2016/17 to 163 in 2018/19 representing an overall decrease of 35% in installations.
However, although the installation of energy efficiency glazing/doors has shown an overall increase of 28% from 558 installations in 2016/17 to 716 installations in 2018/19, between 2017/18 and 2018/19 there was a 28% decrease from 999 in 2017/18 to 716 in 2018/19.
Recommendation 4 - Review the data held on RdSAP ratings and locations and establish the relationship between the property type receiving measures installed under Warmer Homes Scotland and the RdSAP improvements post installation, with a view to establishing if no longer offering heating measures to those households in the private rented sector has impacted on SAP points gained. The review should also consider if the increase in the installation of energy efficient glazing and doors during 2017/18 results in a further decrease in SAP points gained during 2018/19.
This recommendation is to be carried over to 2019/20.
Recommendation 5 - Carry out an in-depth analysis of the SAP points gained data to establish the associated investment and carbon emissions savings or SAP point gains per recipient household. This should include an analysis of SAP point gains by Measures installed and fuel types.
This recommendation is to be carried over to 2019/20.
Recommendation 6 - Given the overall high percentage of total completed surveys that pass the Pennington Choices audit process, consideration should be given during 2018/19 to reducing the number of pre-installation surveys for audit, and increasing the number Work in Progress surveys during 2019/20.
Although the number of Work In Progress jobs requiring remedial work fell from 11 in 2016/17 to 9 in 2017/18, representing an overall 10% decrease in percentage terms, additional surveys will enable Warmworks to establish if there are any actions that can be taken to further reduce this figure.
Pennington Choices were required to carry out ‘30’ pre-installation inspections per month. Analysis reported in previous Annual Reviews demonstrated that all of these inspections typically ‘passed’ the audit criteria and carrying out this number of pre-installation inspections no longer offered added value to the contract. It was agreed that a proportion of these would be replaced with additional work in progress audits.
Following negotiation with both Warmworks and Pennington Choices it was agreed to reduce the number of pre-installation surveys and increase the number of Work on Progress Inspections and a CVN to put this in place took effect on 1 September 2019.
Carrying out additional WIP inspections will provide more focus on the on-site installation of measures, which will be more beneficial to the Scottish Government.
Recommendation 7 - An appraisal of the strategies, processes or protocols Warmworks has in place to leverage additional financial support into Warmer Homes Scotland should be undertaken. This should focus on challenges faced in leveraging additional funding and how these can be overcome, seeking opportunities for leveraging funding from new sources and making any recommendations for improvement where required. This should also include an assessment of how this funding is being used on the ground i.e. what are the most common ‘enabling’ activities, the least common, the most expensive, any regional variations in activities, etc.
The challenges faced in in leveraging additional UK Government ECO funding are highlighted Part 5: Objective 4 - Value for Money of this report and the Scottish Government has no control over the administration of the scheme other than to lobby the UK Government when necessary.
The funds that Warmworks leverage into the scheme through SGN and SSEN enabling funding does not require Warmworks to breakdown the reason for the funding to be used. All cases to provide enabling funding from either SGN or SSEN are reviewed on a case by case basis. Warmworks reports annually on additional funding leveraged into the scheme and if they have been successful in identifying additional funding mechanisms or providers.
The strategies, processes or protocols Warmworks has in place to leverage additional funding support into Warmer Homes Scotland will be examined and reported in the 2019/20 review.
Recommendation 8 – The outcomes of the audits of the Community Benefits requirement under the Warmer Homes Scotland contract should be a key focus of 2018/19 Review.
Details of these audits can be found at Part 6 of this review – Auditing Community Benefits.
Recommendation 9 - The process and outcomes of the auditing of the Living Wage and Security requirements of the Warmer Homes Scotland contract should be a key focus of the 2018/19 Review.
Details of the progress made on this process can be found at Part 6 of this review – Security and the Living Wage.