‘Real appetite’ for regulation of electricians

Fiona Harper

THE Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) says there is now ‘overwhelming industry support’ for regulation of the electrical industry and is urging more professionals to have their say in a new consultation.

The construction body insists protection of title is vital to protect consumers – and points to a recent consultation in which 90% of respondents said they were in favour of the measure.

The consultation by MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston, which closed in November, received 141 submissions, 121 of which were fully supportive, 10 partially supportive, one neutral, three partially opposed and only three opposed.

Fiona Harper, the secretary of the SJIB, said, “It was heartening to see such a high level of responses from a wide cross-section of the industry and to see so many organisations and individual electricians taking a real interest in the future of our industry. It was equally pleasing to see that the vast majority of the responses have been positive about the need for some form of regulation, and that there is overwhelming support for protection of title for the profession of electrician.

“The responses show that there is a real appetite to deliver a bill through the Scottish Parliament as soon as possible to secure the safety of consumers and the integrity of the electrical sector in Scotland.”

Ms Harper, who is also director of employment & skills at SELECT, is now urging electricians to take part in a second consultation on regulation, launched by Jamie Hepburn MSP, the minister for business, fair work and skills, which closes on 12 February.

She added, “These consultations are a major step towards a safer industry and we look forward to welcoming a new dawn for electricians and their customers in Scotland. At present, anyone can claim to be an electrician and work on an electrical installation. It cannot be right that those who have completed a full apprenticeship and who work in the industry in a safe and competent manner, can be compromised by those who call themselves electricians but who have no or inadequate qualifications.

“Industry research suggests that the net benefits to Scotland from proper regulation of electricians will total around £58 million. We would also benefit from higher electrical standards, a reduction in the number of injuries and deaths, better functioning installations, less need for call backs or for poor/unsafe work to be repaired, leading to improved customer satisfaction.”