Attendees and apologies
- Jamie Hepburn MSP – Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills (chair)
- Dawn Adamson - Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland
- Mike Andrews – NAPIT
- Eddie Arrowsmith - Certsure
- Richard Clarke – Unite the Union
- 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 (Secretariat)
- Ken Daly - Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland
- 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 fourth meeting of the Electricians Working Group.
Lorraine King updated the Group on the independent research being undertaken by Pye Tait to establish an understanding of the current extent of unregulated electricians and the risk they pose to consumers. A Call for Evidence had been issued on 21 January, following input from members of the Group. After analysis of the findings, Pye Tait will write a risk assessment and business case on the way forward. This will be presented to the Scottish Government in mid-March.
Separately, Scottish Government officials are developing an options paper for a consumer mark or register to identify suitable electricians, building on the discussions in the Group and individual discussions with members.
Roundtable discussion on the way forward for regulation
Lorraine King summarised the conclusions from the previous three meetings of the Group. The Group members then explained the issues from their own perspectives. Items discussed included:
- Problem of those who call themselves electricians but don’t have the competence or qualifications to carry out electrical work.
- Valuing apprenticeships for electricians and the impact of those without specified qualifications.
- Practical implications of introducing Protection of Title – would Scottish Government have powers prevent unsuitable people working on electrical work?
- Routes required to enable those currently without qualifications to become recognised electricians, otherwise competent electricians could be unable to work.
- Importance of being continually assessed as being competent, not just relying on outdated qualifications.
- Difficulty of quantifying problem at present (complaints to Consumer Helpline about electricians, and causes of house fires may not clearly identify cases of faulty workmanship). Pye Tait work should help.
- Importance of consumers being protected, able to easily access information about suitably competent and qualified electricians and having access to redress.
- Legitimate businesses need to be protected from rogue traders.
- Enforcement of any regulations would be required.
- Existing Approved Certifier of Construction scheme is progressing towards being more consumer friendly, but more could be done around building warrants to protect consumers.
Roundtable discussion on consumers
Items discussed included:
- Challenges around consumers rarely employing electricians.
- Both short term focussed interventions and longer term general awareness raising activities required.
- Campaign would be required to alert consumers to any new register of electricians, similar to alerting shopkeepers when Register of Tobacco Retailers was established.
- Ideas for consumer awareness work:
- partnership with local bureaux
- awareness week based on Scams Awareness Month
- variety of routes to aid accessibility (not just online)
- media campaigns
- messages on customer energy bills (was done in relation to Corgi/Gas Safe)
- social media eg mumsnet.com
Conclusions and way forward
The Chair thanked those attending for their useful and constructive contributions. He wished to chair a further meeting of the Group in April, when the Pye Tait research would have been concluded.
Action: Scottish Government to arrange next meeting of the Group in April.
Telephone: 0300 244 4000
Consumer and Competition Policy Unit
5 Atlantic Quay
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