6. Increasing consumer awareness
There is agreement that, regardless of whether any regulatory measures are taken, action is needed to help consumers identify or verify competent and qualified electricians. At present there are a number of avenues for consumers to seek help to find competent individual electricians and businesses, but there is no comprehensive database, and there is low recognition among consumers for the databases that do exist. A number of options are currently available to consumers:
- registers of qualified or competent electricians provided by SELECT, NICEIC, NAPIT and the Scottish Government Approved Certifier of Construction;
- a portal developed by the charity Electrical Safety First at findanelectricianscotland.com which lists the above registers;
- advice routes for consumers such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, consumeradvice.scot and Trading Standards;
- Trusted Trader type schemes operated either by local authorities (accessed through SCOTSS’ Local Authority Approved Trader online portal) or online commercial providers.
It is important that future efforts to protect consumers must empower them to make good choices. Raising awareness among consumers on hiring electricians is important but it will not have the required impact unless there is a clear, easily identified mechanism to allow consumers to identify suitable electricians.
Therefore two measures need to be addressed before consumer awareness can be successfully increased:
- development of a single, easily identifiable means for consumers to use to determine if an electrician has been assessed as qualified or competent;
- establishment of a public education campaign on hiring electricians safely, with buy-in from industry bodies and consumer organisations.
The Scottish Government welcomes the creation of the findanelectricianscotland.com website which provides consumers with a straightforward way of accessing information on suitable electricians.
The Electrical Safety Working Group has been established by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to build on the work of last year’s safe use of white goods campaign by seeking to improve consumer awareness of the need to hire qualified and competent electricians. The Scottish Government supports the work of this Group to increase recognition of this issue by the public. SFRS ran a short, focused campaign in October 2020 to encourage the public to use registered and trusted electricians.
12. What actions will be most effective in raising standards and increasing consumer protection?
13. Are there any actions not listed that are necessary to increase consumer awareness?
14. How can any new actions be used to build on and supplement the existing system?