Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel minutes: December 2019

Minutes of the meeting of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel, held in December 2019

1  Welcome (Chair)

a. Introductions and housekeeping – (AL) welcomed everyone to today’s meeting

b. Apologies – (AL) asked (KMcL) to confirm apologies, which were recorded as follows:

  • Audrey Gallagher – Energy UK
  • Lawrence Slade – Energy UK (now stepped down)
  • Polly Jones - SFHA (now stepped down)
  • Amanda Callaghan – SG
  • Adam Krawczyk – SG
  • Alan Wyper – SG

KMcL noted that Stacey Dingwall would take over attendance at the future meetings of the group on behalf of SFHA replacing Polly Jones. 

c. Minute of previous meeting and conflicts of interest – The previous Minute was agreed and it was noted that the planned meeting in September didn’t go ahead. AL also asked for the previous minutes to remain on future agendas to ensure they can be ratified by the group.

ACTION: Previous minutes to be added as a permanent Agenda item going forward.


2. Matters arising

a. Update on the Fuel Poverty Act (LF)

LF provided a brief overview on progress since the Fuel Poverty Act received Royal Assent in June 2019.  Commencement Regulations were laid and come into force in September 2019 bringing the majority of the Act into force. Regulations on enhanced heating and the remote rural, remote small town and island MIS uplift were due to be laid by the end of 2019 with the regulations to establish the statutory Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel likely to be laid in February 2020.  


b. update on the Lived Experience Research and Data (NA)

NA gave a brief overview of the literature review on lived experience of fuel poverty that had been carried out and agreed to circulate this to the Panel members.  

NA confirmed that Ipsos Mori won the tender to carry out the research on the lived experience.  Around 40 in-depth interviews would be carried out with half of these being face to face.  The sample has been designed to gather representation from across different tenures and household types and all contacts had been sourced from the SHCS re-contact database, The first interviews were already underway and SG expected the first draft of the report mid-March 2020 with the final report by the end of April 2020 and this would be published around 2 weeks later.  NA agreed to share some of the key findings following completion of the draft report.

MC highlighted the data his organisation held on the PRS sector and NA and MC agreed to have a separate discussion on this at a later date.

In response PK said that the Poverty Alliance had also undertaken research on Lived Experience and was prepared to share this information. 

ACTION: NA to provide the key findings to KMcL for circulation to the group after completion of the draft report in March.

ACTION: NA and MC to have a separate discussion around what information MC holds and can share with NA re the PRS

ACTION: NA to provide a list of the research questions for circulation to the group.

ACTION: NA to be invited back in March to discuss the report

ACTION: LF to provide details of the Evidence Review

ACTION: PK to provide links to the Poverty Alliance research on the Lived Experience for circulation to the group

AL raised one other matter arising around monitoring the recommendations made by the working groups as noted in the action point record. NK confirmed that he and AL had met on 11 December to discuss this. He asked the SG to circulate the 109 recommendations so he and AL could review the recommendations and update them and remove those already completed ahead of this being shared with the Panel

ACTION: Secretariat to circulate to AL/NK/SW the 109 action list for updating and to bring back to the Panel at a future meeting of the group


3. Scottish Government Energy Efficiency Schemes

Scottish Government Energy Efficiency Schemes presentation (EC and FQ)

EC and FQ delivered a presentation covering both the area based schemes (ABS) and Warmer Homes and how ABS focuses on the outside of a group of properties, while Warmer Homes focuses on work inside individual properties. 

They spoke about the key features of both schemes and gave a break down on the wors carried out to date.

ECO was mentioned in this presentation and it was agreed that there should be a separate discussion on ECO including Energy UK and possibly OFGEM. 

ACTION: AL and NK asked for OFGEM and EC to be invited to a future meeting of the group to discuss ECO and for ECO to be added to the Agenda


4. Discussion on Energy Efficiency Schemes

AL thanked EC and FQ for their informative presentation and invited the group to consider and discuss the questions posed prior to the meeting in the round rather than address each question separately. The questions were:

  • Is there a gap in the design of current schemes (based upon household and property characteristics)?
  • What more can we do to improve the properties?
  • What more can we do to help households?
  • How can we reach more of those households through our schemes?
  • And, based upon these questions, what more do we need to know//understand?

At the beginning of the discussion EC wanted to make a correction in the additional slides that were circulated with the papers ahead of the meeting and noted that the figure shown in the third slide in relation to households should be 8 out of 10, rather than 9 out of ten indicated in the slide.

ACTION: EC to share the slide with the correction

The discussion highlighted the following points:

  • The schemes (particularly HEEPS:ABS) has focussed on particular measures and there was potential that other measures could be more effective
  • It was important that the goal of low carbon heat was considered when designing and delivering the schemes
  • People do drop out of schemes for a number of reasons – some of which can be difficult to address
  • SG schemes play an important role in supporting the local economy and providing employment opportunities for local people
  • SG is operating in an environment with other players who are often providing a sub-standard service in comparison with SG schemes that have quality assurance built in.  More needed to be done to raise awareness of the QA aspect of SG schemes.
  • There can be issues in delivering HEEPS:ABS schemes in mixed tenure
  • Moving to multi-year funding for HEEPS:ABS is an opportunity for better planning 
  • The Equity Loan scheme has been really helpful although it has been difficult to get going.
  • The schemes need to target more fuel poor households but these households can be difficult to reach. SG highlighted work underway to identify characteristics of fuel poor households that would support better targeting
  • Evidence shows that SG schemes are working effectively in rural area but many of the properties in these areas are hard to treat. 

The Panel highlighted a number of asks to the Scottish Government:

  • Greater flexibility from the schemes so that more measures can be considered and that Councils have more flexibility to deliver the measures that the housing stock needs and address particular geographical issues (e.g. off-gas grid areas)
  • SG funded schemes need to continue to encourage and support local jobs and the local economy.  Every opportunity should be used through grants and procurement to embed good working practices and opportunities to upskill and train local people and to pay the living wage.
  • Moving forward the schemes need to more effectively identify and target households in fuel poverty.
  • Moving forward the schemes should also consider what other support and advice around issues such as switching could be provided
  • The Equity Loan scheme should continue but there needs to be better signposting to this.

AL then thanked everyone for their attendance and their contribution to the discussion session and closed the meeting.

 Date of Next Meeting: 25 February 2020, Mercure Hotel, Ingram St. Glasgow

Attendees and apologies

Ann Loughrey (AL) – Chair

Norman Kerr (NK) – Deputy Chair

Emma Grant-McColm (EGM) - CAS

Stacey Dingwall (SD) – SFHA

Peter Kelly (PK) – The Poverty Alliance

Stewart Wilson (SW) – Tighean Innse Gall

George Dodds (GD) – NHS Health Scotland

Mike Campbell (MC) – Scottish Association of Landlords

Kathy Cameron (KC) - COSLA

Lynn Forsyth (LF) – SG

Lizann Leckie (LL) – SG

Ed Chapman (EC) – SG

Fiona Quinn (FQ) – SG

Nadine Andrews (NA) - SG

Claire Wood (CW) - SG

Karen McLaughlan (KMcL) – SG


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