Publication - Minutes

Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel minutes: June 2018

Published: 26 Nov 2018
Date of meeting: 5 Jun 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel held in June 2018.

Published:
26 Nov 2018
Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel minutes: June 2018

1. Welcome (Chair)

a. Apologies

  • As indicated above.
  • Point of confirmation: NHS Health Scotland representation on the Advisory Panel has been revised: George Dodds will replace Steve Bell on a permanent basis. 

b. Minute of previous meeting – draft to be approved (Paper 1)

  • Members approved draft as written.

c. Conflict of Interests – any to declare

  • NK indicated that EAS has been awarded a research contract by SG to evaluate the current EPC model in use in Scotland.  Members confirmed they were content for NK to remain for further discussions under Agenda Item (2) Energy Efficient Scotland. 

2. Energy Efficient Scotland

a. Overview of proposals (presentation) (SGd)

SGd delivered a presentation on the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map consultation that launched in May, including  the EPC Assessment Project, and  provided a brief overview of the consultation topics. The following points were highlighted:

  • The Energy Efficient Scotland programme must link with the final Fuel Poverty Strategy, and show alignment with any monitoring and reporting process development to accompany the latter.
  • The proposed fuel poverty target – all fuel poor households to achieve EPC Band B by 2040 – has been determined based on a realistic assessment of the evidence indicating what is achievable in terms of eradicating poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty, within parameters including affordability.
  • Strategic challenges to be addressed in development of the overall programme include: pace, scope, sector specific standards and assessment.

b. Open floor discussion (Chair / SGd)

  • Members discussed several topics following delivery of the Energy Efficient Scotland presentation, with a focus initially being on the overall scale of ambition under the programme. While recognising the rationale behind setting of the proposed EPC targets across tenancy types, some Members suggested there was a question of equitability to be addressed. It was indicated there was a need for a larger ambition to be introduced and applied across sectors while recognising that each tenancy type would be at a different starting point in terms of the level of energy efficiency already achieved. Relatedly, Members further discussed the idea of phased standards and the fair distribution of  funding across sectors. There was some concern specifically in relation to the proposed interim targets for the private rented sector (PRS) that multiple intervention points puts strain on rural/remote supply chains. Members acknowledged that the targets discussed were currently being consulted on.
  • The notion of “cost effectiveness” was also raised. Some Members were concerned that use of the term under the Energy Efficient Scotland programme risks overlooking other derived benefits of interventions and could lead to fuel poor households living in rural properties being missed during delivery. Flexibility of programme delivery against funding was discussed as linked to this, and Members emphasised the importance of recognising rural households as part of any such considerations. Scottish Government officials highlighted to Members that rural areas already receive higher intervention levels under current programme delivery.
  • The relevance and appropriateness of use of EPCs as part of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme was also explored. Issues of subjectivity of assessment and levels of confidence for the homeowner in the appraisal were discussed. In particular, Members also considered some of the potential criticisms of the recommendations produced through use of an EPC assessment for further energy efficiency intervention, citing concern that in some instances recommendations can lead to investment being made in measures with short-life asset value (e.g. upgrading a heating system versus fabric first approaches). Scottish Government officials indicated work on-going under the programme to assess skills required for the programme can be linked to the work on assessment models employed, learning from previous experiences e.g. the Green Deal. There will continue to  be talks with Trading Standards. 
  • In terms of funding under the programme, Scottish Government officials confirmed that Ministers were considering the option of funding provision according to a multi-year schedule, in particular in terms of the ability to provide local authorities a degree of certainty of roll over of funding year-on-year. Members welcomed this, highlighting that longer term funding can ensure value for money and show positive returns in the labour market.

3. Draft Fuel Poverty Strategy and Fuel Poverty Bill

a. Progress update (AMcK)

  • AMcK provided a short update on progress under the draft Fuel Poverty Strategy and Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition & Strategy) (Scotland) Bill, indicating that there was a need to keep the Bill focused in order to enable flexibility in delivery. Members were invited to note that the draft Fuel Poverty Strategy would be published alongside the Bill in due course. Members were also reminded that under the Energy Efficient Scotland is a commitment to consider development, if appropriate, of a specific energy efficiency Bill, and that responses to the public consultation would inform this.  

b. Outcomes framework (Paper 2) 

  • AMcK provided a high-level overview of the the “ask” made by Scottish Ministers on the Advisory Panel to help inform development of the outcomes framework; and a brief summary of key points related to this topic raised through responses to the draft Fuel Poverty Strategy public consultation. It was emphasised that the final outcomes framework must be something all stakeholders can buy into, and should have a focus on people.  The process for taking forward development of advice is at the discretion of the Advisory Panel. 
  • Members discussed the work to be undertaken, reflecting on the initial draft framework originally included in the public consultation document. Most significantly, Members recognised that it will be important to ensure outcomes are measurable, and the final outcomes framework developed must link in with relevant wider reporting activities across government.

c. Monitoring and reporting framework  

  • AMcK provided a high-level overview of the requirements of this element of the overall package of advice to be developed by the Advisory Panel in line with the request made by Scottish Ministers. This included an indication of timescales, and an ask that Members take the following points into consideration during this process: impacts to be monitored must relate directly to people; the monitoring and reporting process must demonstrate alignment across relevant policy areas; and any additional resource implications for small scale, local delivery partners as a consequence of new monitoring and reporting requirements must not be overly burdensome. Members discussed some of the potential challenges of developing an effective and robust monitoring and reporting process, recognising that data access is key and the final process must show a clear link between policies and impacts.
  • To support taking forward this work Members acknowledged opportunities to engage with the Improvement Service (the national improvement service for local government), and NHS Health Scotland evaluators.

4. AOB

  • A brief discussion on developing a clear identify for the Advisory Panel moving forward was held.

 

Attendees and apologies

  • Ann Loughrey, AL, Independent Chair, Advisory Panel & Partnership Forum
  • Norrie Kerr, NK, Energy Action Scotland (EAS)
  • George Dodds, GD, NHS Health Scotland
  • Nicola Dickie, ND, COSLA
  • Neil Cowan, NC, The Poverty Alliance
  • David Stewart, DW, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • Craig Salter, CS, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)
  • Stewart Wilson, SW, Tighean Innse Gall (TIG)

Scottish Government officials present

  • Saskia Kearns, SK
  • Ann McKenzie, AMcK
  • Ailie Clarkson, AC
  • Stephen Garland SGd

Apologies

  • John Blackwood JB, Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL)
  • Peter Kelly PK , The Poverty Alliance
  • Sarah Boyack SB, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)
  • Kate Morrison KM, Tighean Innse Gall (TIG)

Items and actions

 

 

Action

Assigned to

1

Any Member that still required to submit a completed Conflict of Interests Annual Declaration is asked to provide their return to the Secretariat as soon as possible.

All Members

2

To draft and submit an Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map consultation response on behalf of the Advisory Panel via consult.gov.

Chair / Deputy Chair

3

Energy Efficient Scotland presentation slides to be circulated to Members

Secretariat

4

Confirm NHS Health Scotland evaluator resource support to the Advisory Panel to develop advice on the outcomes framework and/or monitoring and reporting process

George Dodds

5

Further consideration to be given to how best the work on developing advice on an outcomes framework and monitoring and reporting process is to be taken forward

Chair