Each Home Counts Newsletter 26 February 2016

We have reached some big milestones for the Review this week. Today, Friday 26 February, industry leads are submitting the proposed recommendations and roadmaps for the workstreams. We will then see how they all link and apply across different sectors. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to workstream discussions to date.

The Review offers a real opportunity for the sector to shape future delivery of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Your continued input as we detail and implement the roadmaps will be valued.

This week…. Next week…..

  • On Thursday 25th February our Workstream leads met with representatives from the social housing sector to discuss how the proposed Review recommendations may be applied and tested.
  • We will be hosting our second Consumer Protection workshop on Tuesday 01st March where we will further discuss recommendations for the Review, including around consumer redress.

Consumer Protection led by Citizen Advice

Following the first Consumer Protection event on 29 January there has been much progress on the provision of pre contract information to consumers and the role of an oversight body.

Consumer Protection group members have also participated in other Workstreams’ events to better understand how to align these groups’ recommendations to benefit the consumer.

A sub group has been formed to examine redress in detail, in particular what principles the process should follow and how it interfaces with other aspects of the consumer protection landscape, including guarantees and enforcement.

The group met on 19 February, bringing together ten experts many of whom participate in other Workstream groups. Discussions concentrated on what a best practice redress process looks like and actions needed to move toward a single point of redress.

The group concluded that:

  • A minimum standard, including warranties and guarantees should be set to improve consumer redress.
  • A consumer code should be established setting out the requirements for protection throughout the consumer journey, effective monitoring and enforcement and specific time scales to resolve complaints.
  • The process must include a dispute resolution procedure and access to ADR provided by an approved body.

The group’s findings will feed into the large Consumer Protection event on 1 March. The redress sub group is likely to meet again shortly to examine next steps.

Compliance and Enforcement led by BBA

The third meeting of the Compliance and Enforcement Workstream took place on Wednesday 17th February, chaired by Claire Curtis-Thomas. The day began with presentations by the sub-group leads on their discussions and progress since the last meeting.

Virginia Graham – Consumer protection:

Consumer protection:

  • is not systematically integrated with installer standards
  • is sometimes seen as optional despite far-reaching & complex legislation. Consumer protection requirements need to:
  • be set out in a Consumer Code which complies with core criteria and follows the entire consumer journey
  • be effectively monitored & enforced along with technical competence
  • include a dispute resolution procedure which bridges technical and contractual issues & includes access to ADR provided by equivalent approved ADR bodies.

Mike Ormesher – Who should be assessed, against what by whom?

Key aspects to improve compliance and enforcement:

  • Transparency at all interactions (Database)
  • Accountability at all interactions (Legal & Regulatory/Certification)
  • Oversight Body to manage progress and sanctions for Non Compliance
  • Levy scheme (by measure/service) possibly linked to warranty provision to pay for Oversight Body, legal costs and potential R&D facility.
  • Branded scheme to give Consumer Confidence
  • Infographic for clarity of process

Jon Harley – Oversight:

Oversight must be simple, accessible, consistent and cost effective.

Oversight will facilitate and enforce:

  • Technical Governance
  • Operational Governance
  • Consumer Protection Governance

Features:

  • Industry Led
  • Appropriately and Sensitively Industry Funded
  • Responsible for aligning and strengthening baseline standards
  • Does not need to impinge on individual scheme attributes

The day then continued with discussions on:

  • The elements of a tool to identify the risk of individuals and organisations posed to the consumer
  • The role of sanctions

Work is now underway pulling together the output from this workstream into clear recommendations and actions, and to integrate these with the outputs from other workstreams.

Every Home Matters Team (The Bonfield 10 )
The team is:

Peter Bonfield, Kanta Nar, Richard Mellish, Matt Webb, Diana Menville and;

Work-stream Lead on:
Alison Oliver Advice & Guidance, Insulation, Holistic Property Approach
Elaine Simpson Smart Meters, Compliance & Enforcement
Lynne Ebdon Skills & Training
Will Field Home Energy Technologies
Sherif Kahky Quality & Standards, Consumer Protection
We welcome your interest in the work-streams, so please continue to send in your contributions, thoughts and comments to our joint email account, BonfieldReview@decc.gsi.gov.uk