SELECT is currently leading a long-running campaign for the regulation of the electrical industry and to have 'electrician' recognised as a profession. This campaign has gathered a massive groundswell of support, with leading organisations and politicians now backing our crusade for a safer Scotland.
At present, lack of regulation means anyone can claim to be an electrician and carry out electrical work in Scotland. These unqualified individuals put the people of Scotland at risk of injury and death, through faulty electrical installation and maintenance work.
That’s why, along with a number of partner bodies, including the The Scottish Joint Industry Board
and Unite the Union
, we are seeking the introduction of ‘protection of title’ for the profession of electrician.
We want to make it an offence for someone to call themselves an electrician when they have no, or inadequate, qualifications. But above all, we want to see improved safety for both domestic and commercial consumers across Scotland.
We have undertaken a number of interviews with the public which have reinforced the view that the majority of people would welcome some form of regulation to safeguard them from unsafe or potentially dangerous electrical work. Read more in our brochure here.
The economic case for regulation
A report commissioned by SELECT estimated that the “human cost” of faulty electrical work is around £120 million per year. It also pointed out that regulation would offer an opportunity to grow the industry by attracting more aspirational entrants, where reward and reputation is enhanced and the value of an electrical apprenticeship is more widely accepted. Authors 4-Consulting cautiously estimated that the net reward to the Scottish economy of regulating the electrical industry would be £58 million.
The Wall of Support
To show the depth of support for the campaign, SELECT has created a Wall of Support
which shows the politicians, surveyors, housebuilders, professional bodies and trade unions backing the crusade. Bodies which have contributed a brick in the wall include the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Scottish Association of Landlords, the Scottish Building Federation and the Energy Saving Trust. In addition, the Wall of Support has bricks from SNP, Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Green MSPs and MPs, demonstrating the ongoing cross-party support for regulation of the electrical industry. View it here.
Electricians Working Group
As a result of our lobbying, the Scottish Government has set up an Electricians Working Group to explore the challenge of ensuring the safety of electrical installations. This group is committed to protecting consumers, protecting scrupulous traders and creating an inhospitable environment for miscreants, and maintaining an environment that allows competition within the provision of electrical services to thrive. The group has so far met on a number of occasions in a bid to make positive steps in safeguarding the public by introducing protection of title.
Other regulation milestones
March 2021: In a letter to the Electricians’ Working Group, it is revealed that, out of the 100 organisations and individuals who took part in the second consultation, the “vast majority” thought that voluntary measures don’t work and that regulation was required.
- February 2021: A second consultation on regulation of the electrical industry closes on 12 February. Launched by Jamie Hepburn, MSP, the Minister for Business, Fair work and Skills, it again urges electricians and the wider industry to take part and make their voice heard.
- January 2021 – SELECT submits a letter to the Scottish Government’s consultation on regulation, outlining its own case for protection of title and claiming only government legislation can bring about “comfort and security” to consumers. Read the letter here.
- November 2020 – consultation No1 held: A survey by MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston closed last November with more than 140 submissions – more than 90% of which were positive. The MSP said he hoped the consultation would lead to the introduction of a Member’s Bill calling for regulation of electricians. Read more here.
- November 2019 – Holyrood exhibition: SELECT spent three days at the Scottish Parliament, engaging with MSPs and other groups about the urgent need for Protection of Title. As a result of our canvassing, 30 more politicians signed up for the Wall of Support. Read more here.
- February 2019 – call for evidence: To consider the case for regulation, the Scottish Government commissioned Pye Tait to gather evidence on the extent of substandard electrical installations in Scotland and the risks posed to the general public. SELECT Members and the wider industry contributed to the survey, which sent a clear message to government that action was required. Read more here.
- October 2018 – parliamentary debate: A Scottish Parliament debate was held on the issue, led by Jamie Halcro Johnston. The MSP pointed out that, while more than 100 regulated professions exist in the UK – including gas engineers and even door supervisors at clubs – there is no protection afforded to electricians. His motion asked Parliament to recognise that improperly-installed electrical work creates a significant risk of fire as well as other harm to householders and that the installation of electrical work by unqualified or part qualified individuals carries a major safety risk. Read more here.
Getting the message across
To help raise the profile of our campaign we have a dedicated Twitter account – follow us at @Regulate_SELECT – and also issue regular updates in the national and trade press. You can also view a number of videos on our YouTube channel here: