The Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) and Unite the Union have welcomed the launch of a consultation exercise which it is hoped will lead to the introduction of a Member’s Bill calling for regulation of electricians.
Both organisations are supporting the proposed Bill, which MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston plans to put forward following the new consultation announced on Wednesday.
The Bill by the Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands is calling for the introduction of protection of title, which would ensure that only properly qualified and experienced professionals could call themselves an electrician.
Mr Halcro Johnston said: “Poor quality work has potentially dangerous consequences and presents a risk to neighbours and a financial cost to insurers, as well as placing our emergency services unnecessarily in harm’s way.
“The proposed Bill would ensure that electricians undertaking work are qualified to do so and effectively registered. This will not only benefit the end consumer, but also the electrical industry, which depends on the trust of the wider public.
“Unfortunately, due to restrictions on parliamentary time, my Bill won’t be able to get through during the current parliamentary session. However, by doing this, we have started a process which could lead to an historic and long overdue change after the 2021 election.”
The launch of the consultation was endorsed by the SJIB, which is one of the many organisations backing a rapidly-growing campaign for recognition of electrician as a profession.
Fiona Harper, The Secretary of the SJIB, said: “This consultation is the first part of a very important journey to ensure that only those who are appropriately qualified and experienced are allowed to call themselves an electrician.
“It adds further momentum to the industry’s commitment to improve consumer safety and is another important milestone in protecting people and businesses across Scotland.
“We would like to thank Mr Halcro Johnston for his hard work in getting this important matter to this stage and we look forward to seeing its development.”
Pat Rafferty, Unite Scotland Regional Secretary, added: “This announcement is another step on the road to protecting the reputation of properly qualified electricians, both now and for the next generation.
“Ensuring that skills, qualifications and competence are properly protected will underpin the future of our industry and help raise the bar across our profession as a whole.”
However, Fiona added: “Momentum is everything, so it’s vital that regulation happens as soon as possible. Every day we spend debating is another day that the public are exposed to shoddy and sub-standard electrical work, performed by so-called electricians with no qualifications at all.”
The SJIB and Unite are among the organisations supporting the #BackTheBrick campaign spearheaded by SELECT, Scotland’s largest trade association.
The association has been pressing the Scottish Government for regulation of electricians and has received significant support from MPs, MSPs and major organisations. In May, Liberal-Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton and SNP MP Alan Brown added their names to the SELECT Wall of Support, following in the footsteps of the 32 MSPs who vowed to support the campaign in November 2019.
The issue has already been debated in the Scottish Parliament, with an Electricians Working Group convened to explore the challenges of ensuring the safety of electrical installations and protecting consumers.
The consultation can be responded can be found by click on the following link: www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills and is open until Tuesday 10th November 2020.