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ESC to lead co-ordinated campaign on Part P?

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The government has suggested the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) could spearhead a coordinated public awareness campaign on Part P for the Competent Person Schemes.

Recently, the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee published a report which feeds into the government’s on-going review of Part P of the Building Regulations, which covers electrical safety in homes in England. The government’s response to this report has now been published.

One of the CLG Select Committee recommendations refers to the need for greater public awareness about the dangers of sub-standard electrical repairs and installations. It states: “The government should join with the other main players – especially the scheme operators – to ensure the public are better informed of their responsibilities.”

The government’s response agreed with this but added: “We would welcome further coordinated effort from the scheme providers, for example, through the Electrical Safety Council.”

Phil Buckle, director general of the ESC believes the charity is a natural fit for such a role. “We are well-placed to undertake a lead role in such a public information campaign. While committed to consumer protection, we also understand the need for balance – reducing the complexities of Part P without compromising safety – and we have worked closely with industry to see how this can best be developed.

“Householders and not installers are legally responsible for any electrical work in their homes, yet the majority of householders are unaware of this. Our long-standing expertise in running public awareness campaigns is a strength which can benefit both consumers and industry, by supporting an integrated approach to the promotion of Part P.”

Other key elements in the government response to the CLG Select Committee report include:
• A reiteration that changes to Part P should not ‘unduly diminish’ safety but should strip away unnecessary cost and bureaucracy.
• Proposals to reclassify certain work in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms have not been rejected but the government is still considering responses to its consultation.
• A rejection of the recommendation for work to be notified to the Local Authority Building Control before being carried out.
• The call for DIY stores to carry health warnings on sockets and other electrical equipment was not agreed but the need to increase public awareness of electrical safety and the need to use competent installers was acknowledged.
• A recommendation for greater independent supervision of the Competent Person Scheme was accepted but the call by some Schemes for a mandatory use of registered installers for all electrical work was rejected.

To see the government response in full, click here.

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