Conservative Conference – Is it time for a Licence to Practice?
Yesterday I attended the Conservative Conference with Lantei Compliance Services who were hosting a fringe event titled – Is it time for an Electrician Licence to Practice? I wanted to take advantage of the day and see what was on offer so go there early to attend a number of other fringe events.
The first fringe event I attended was – Energy Policy and the Industrial Strategy, What’s The Plan? The event had the following panel;
Claire Perry MP
Paul Spence – EDF
John Moylan – ex BBC
Nick Baveystock – Institute of Civil Engineers
Most of the discussion went over my head but the key points which worried me were the need to have more homes with Solar PV and battery storage. My worry was not the vision as this is the logical path for our country to move towards renewables etc. I was concerned that there was no discussion around who will do this and whether the country has the technical capabilities to address the governments strategy. As Claire Perry MP stated, “a strategy is not a plan”, this is correct, as part of the task to develop that strategy we need to stop sitting in silos thinking of the end result and start looking at the tasks involved to get us there. My concern here is that the government will pile billions into a ‘plan’ and a ‘timescale’ only to back us into a corner and need help from other countries labour as we won’t have enough. I may be wrong.
The event also talked a lot about innovation yet the things they were talking about have been around for years. Paul Spence from EDF mentioned a monitoring system for energy consumption on vulnerable people’s properties so that we can see if the usage drops and thus visit to check if the person living there is ok. So let me get this right, a device notifies a call centre when the usage drops off, I may be wrong here but people don’t normally stop using electric or gas before they die, that’s normally the result of the death.
I would love the opportunity to meet with Paul and other members of this panel as I believe there are a few good ideas floating around my head about the strategy for this.
After that fringe event, I visited a few stands and talked to a few people about TCW and the many functions we have access to that we’ve not discussed or pushed to the market yet. The one comment that stood out which I love is ‘someone hasn’t thought of that already??’. Some of the most successful products in the world are tarnished with that statement!!!!!! Anyway, in terms of The Compliance Workbook, the Conservative Conference was extremely beneficial.
So the time came to talk about an Electrician Licence and whether this is something we need. Although we didn’t have hundreds of people at the event we did have a great discussion around the current schemes and a LtP. Let’s just clarify the base of the discussion….
Northern Ireland already has a fantastic brand called SparkSafe LtP. It works. Derek Thompson the CEO of SparkSafe was part of the discussion and explained what it is and how it works in Northern Ireland for client assurance. Over the last year or so a number of my contacts across the rest of the UK have been asking me what my thoughts are about SparkSafe. I will step outside of my box at the bottom of this article and give you my view.
The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and the Joint Industry Board (JIB) are pushing a Licence to Practice live this month. Whether this is in response to SparkSafe starting to step into the rest of the UK or not, it creates confusion for the consumer. The ECA and JIB are looking to push the register live and give people the ability to have a virtual card which you can download from their portal. There also looking to have a “register” for Professional Electricians who meet the current edition of wiring regulations etc.
To add to all of this, NAPIT and NICEIC are creating another one together in response to ECA and JIB doing one. I hope you’re following this.
Let’s be frank about the above. If SparkSafe LtP entered the whole of the UK and was used for “Individual Accountability”, which it is not developed or positioned for, there would be no need for any scheme. This would be the wrong move for our industry and is why the other schemes are scrabbling.
I said I would give you my view so here goes.
Our industry needs a central database where registered electricians are logged and it needs to be publicly searchable. We should still have a choice for Competent Person Schemes as this is a financial decision for the contractor but, each scheme should be tasked with assessments of individuals and then held accountable for the uploading of said INDIVIDUALS to the register. This is pretty much what Clive Betts MP and the DCLG have been asking for but are being ignored. The SparkSafe model would make a good portal for assurance for the consumer.
If the above was ever considered I would give my time free of charge to promote and assist in its development. We have to do something.
I’d like to clarify a point which I made yesterday at the fringe event. I am a supporter of the schemes in our industry now, I may criticise them now and again but, the truth is, if they were not about we would be in a worse position than we are. I just wish they would look towards working together instead of playing the monopoly game!!!!