Electrical safety - private sector working group

Private Sector Working group – for “private rented properties ONLY”

I wanted to do a quick post to explain why I challenged the recommendations of the Private Sector Working group when they were pushing Government towards a standard 5 yearly electrical safety check.


I attended the meeting in London where all the same faces were sat around the table debating changes to legislation without any substantial evidence as to its benefits. In fact, the meeting was centred around white goods and safety checks on those rather than ‘Periodic Inspections’.


Before I jump into it let me clarify one thing; if there were ANY statistics that could be presented to validate that this change or enforcement would save just one person’s life, I would 100% stand behind and back it. I even suggested the group pull data from Scotland where the change for Private Renting properties was introduced in the Housing (Scotland) Act. The discussion quickly moved away from me!


So why did I challenge the idea –


As an electrician myself I know that when I visit to test a property I need to fuel my decision with factual information. I need to draw upon my skill, experience, knowledge and couple that with my research and attitude towards electrical safety to define, using ‘Engineering Judgement’, the length of time that I believe the system should be left before another technically competent person should visit and validate my recommendation against his/her own to suggest a further period.


Taking this process away de-skills the industry and reduces public safety as non-competent individuals will, and do, test properties with a view of 5 years at the beginning. It completely devalues the need to carry out a periodic inspection of a system.


I wonder when we will wake up and realise these groups are driven by their member’s purse rather than 100% safety. All we’re doing is pushing the good sparks into management and leaving the lesser qualified to carry out the works, then when we increase fires and deaths we blame materials.



Ryan Dempsey - CEO
Ryan Dempsey

Over the last few years I have found myself in a very fortunate position where I can implement and promote change in the Social Housing sector. My passion and drive to improve Electrical Safety continually fuels my motivation to implement slight changes to engineer and industry work patterns in the hope the mentality currently sitting in the engineering industry can change. We need to ensure the right people with the right skills and experience are working in and around the properties we provide. Not only that, we need to ensure the workforce are the people talking and helping develop the standards we work towards. Improved quality assurance and the avoidance of the 'status quo' should be a starting point in any organisations route to complete compliance. Improved compliance at all levels will improve the safety and sustainability of the properties we provide and manage. The key to improve risk management is to pinpoint the areas of risk and manage these individually. Don't over complicate a simple process. We also need to ensure those with a similar passion speak up and be counted for. It's time for change and that means moving out the old and replacing with the new. All the views and opinions on here are my own and not that of any company I am associated with.