Attendees and apologies
- Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills (chair)
- Mike Andrews, NAPIT
- Richard Clarke, Unite the Union
- Eddie Arrowsmith, 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
- Stuart Thompson, NICEIC Scotland
- Alan Wilson, SELECT
- Lorraine King, Scottish Government
- Andrew McConnell, Scottish Government
- Ruth Mendel, CAS
Items and actions
Welcome and introductions
The Chair welcomed the attendees and thanked them for their continued participation in the Electricians Working Group.
Minutes from previous meeting
Mike Andrews suggested the bullet on page 2 about the register for those trained through SJIB should make clear that it related to Scottish trained electricians. With that change, the minutes were agreed and will be published on the Scottish Government’s website.
Roundtable discussion on the proposed consultation on the regulation of electricians
The Chair explained that he had committed to publish the consultation by spring 2020. He said that there was unlikely to be legislation in this Parliamentary term. Lorraine King gave an update on advice about what is within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. It could regulate in relation to individual electricians as long as the purpose relates to safety and not consumer protection. It could not license electrical firms. A definitive view will only be possible once legislation comes to be drafted.
Items discussed included:
- definition of “electrician” should be considered: the profession encompasses a wide variety of activities and may develop further with advances in technology
- it could be highlighted that the examples given of regulated trades and professions use different types of regulation
- the focus of the consultation is on domestic work. This needs to be made clear
- people other than “electricians” would still be able to carry out electrical work
- clarity is needed around the aim of the consultation. It is about whether legislation is required. If it is then a separate consultation will be needed on the proposed legislation
- it is important that the public feels it can engage with the consultation, so technical details should be avoided where possible
- some options for the questions could be included in order to help guide the consumer in responding
- although the consultation says action cannot be taken under consumer protection legislation, it can be made clear that consumer awareness activities can take place
- a consumer protection framework is already there under UK legislation
- question 10 mentions electricians who do not have recognised qualifications. It would be more consistent with the focus of the consultation if “electrician” wasn’t used there. There will still be a need to ask for views on those who do not have qualifications but are carrying out electrical work competently
- there is also a need to ensure apprentices and labourers are not prevented from doing their existing jobs
- any future regulations would require to take account of existing legislation. A question will be asked about how any new regulations would interact with existing regulations
- enforcement will need to be considered
Roundtable discussion on increasing consumer awareness
David Dourley explained that the evaluation of the work of the White Goods Working Group will be published shortly. The Group will now be expanded to include electrical installations and be renamed the Electrical Safety Working Group. Its first meeting will be on 9 December. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is working on providing statistics around the causes of electrical fires. Other stakeholders will be able to use this information to put messages out on their own media channels.
The Chair explained that there had been a Members Debate in the Scottish Parliament on 25 September on product recall. He had written to the UK Government Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, with ideas put forward during the debate. His letter and Ms Tolhurst’s reply will be shared with the Group.
Items discussed included:
- the website of the Registered Competent Person Electrical scheme includes Scottish companies. It is funded by NAPIT and NICEIC. It does not include the full SELECT membership but will include those SELECT members who are also NICEIC registrants
- the Scottish Government’s Approved Certifier of Construction register brings together Scottish based providers
- SCOTSS’s Local Authority Approved Trader online portal has links to SELECT and NICEIC. [NAPIT now added]
- a new search engine could be created, giving access to pre-existing databases
- if a new brand was created, there would be questions over who owned it and who paid for it
- there is an immediate need to direct consumers to a simple source of information. A landing page could be created with appropriate links. A distinctive domain name could also be created. It would not matter who hosted the site
- a landing page would require consumers to assess the different providers and understand the differences. Consumers require information to be presented in a straightforward manner
- posters and flyers could be produced to get the message to those without internet access. A telephone number could be provided to access the information. The Scottish Government funds the consumeradvice.scot telephone helpline which could potentially be used for this
- a wide variety of people and organisations can be asked to promote the resource, including parliamentarians, CABx, supermarkets (notice boards), electrical retailers (eg B&Q), energy companies and electrical companies
- fire officers can promote the message during visits about fire alarms and fire safety as well as on literature
Wayne Mackay’s offer to undertake work on developing a landing page and appropriate domain name was welcomed by the Group.
Conclusions and way forward
The Chair thanked those attending and concluded that the meeting had been very helpful in discussing the way forward with the consultation and increasing consumer awareness. He said that members of the Working Group would see a draft of the consultation for comments. He wished the Group to meet again after the consultation had taken place but that in the meantime officials would keep in touch with the Group about developments.
- Scottish Government to take forward work on developing a consultation paper and on raising consumer awareness in partnership with Group members. A seventh meeting will be arranged for next year, date and time to be confirmed.
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