Deadline looms on second consultation on regulation of electrical profession

Alan Wilson

SELECT has warned that time is running out for those who wish to contribute to the consultation on professional recognition of electricians in Scotland.

The deadline to respond to a second consultation on the matter is Friday February 12.

The consultation was launched by business minister Jamie Hepburn MSP, and SELECT revealed the fact that further parliamentary investigation into regulation is being made is an ‘extremely encouraging’ sign. A first consultation by Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston, which closed in November last year, received more than 140 submissions, more than 90% of which were positive.

Alan Wilson, MD of SELECT, said, “We have been overwhelmed by the levels of support we have received, and the huge range of people who have publicly backed us through channels such as our Wall of Support. This second consultation is another great opportunity for the industry to take part in and shape the future. It is a further chance for Scotland to demonstrate that we are committed to a safer industry and we would urge that all interested parties make their submission to the latest consultation.”

SELECT believes that only government legislation can bring about ‘comfort and security’ for customers and end the ‘scourge’ of unqualified people passing themselves off as electrical professionals.

Among those who have responded to the latest consultation are the Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland. Grahame Barn, its chief executive, said, “It seems a glaring anomaly that when virtually every other trade in the UK is regulated, that no such scheme operates for electricians.”

Grahame Barn
Grahame Barn

The Supplier Development Programme has also taken part, with Manager Gillian Cameron adding, “Protection of title could reduce the amount of evidence required by public sector buying organisations into a single certification to determine if electricians are competent to carry out work in Scotland.”

SELECT has been campaigning for years with other industry bodies, such as the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) and Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT), to ensure those who work in the industry do so in a safe and competent manner.

Monica Lennon MSP, who is challenging for the leadership of the Labour Party in Scotland, said in her Wall of Support message: “Poor quality electrical work carries huge risks to people’s homes, their businesses and even their lives. It is vitally important that consumers are helped to make informed choices whenever they employ an electrician.”

Monica Lennon

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “I fully support the importance of using professionals in all aspects of construction work, be they multi-million-pound contracts or small domestic works. It is vital that we ensure only properly trained, qualified and competent people carry out these works.”

Alan Wilson highlighted that any ‘real and effective’ change must be underpinned by legislation. “There is a strong economic case for legislation,” he said. “Scotland is investing £1.6 billion over the next five years in decarbonising the heat in buildings and it makes sense that those undertaking that programme are trained, qualified and competent.

“But there is also a social side. Protecting title and making the role of electrician a profession will lead to greater interest in the industry and more opportunities for women and ethnic minorities to join it, which would be a significant advantage to us all.”