NI Executive Procurement Pilot First In UK To Promote the Licensing of Electrical Workers

From January the Central Procurement Directorate of the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland will require contractors tendering for specific public sector contracts within the pilot to ensure that, if successful, only electrical workers accredited through the SparkSafe Licence To Practice scheme will be deployed on site.  

Sparksafe Licence To Practice is a voluntary licensing initiative by the Electrical Training Trust (ETT), based in Ballymena, County Antrim, and is supported by the wider electrical contracting industry, the Unite union and the Northern Ireland Construction Employers’ Federation.  

The aim of SparkSafe LTP is to drive up standards across the electrical contracting industry and, in doing so, enhance the professional reputation of qualified and experienced electricians.  

Central to the operation of the SparkSafe LTP initiative will be a website where all electrical workers - including apprentices - will be able to register and detail their qualifications, experience and skills and, in return, be accredited at the appropriate Licensed To Practice level.  

The linking of Government Procurement with the accreditation of electrical workers through the scheme will give a significant boost to the Sparksafe LTP initiative.

Launching the Central Procurement Directorate pilot, Simon Hamilton MLA, Minister for Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland, said it was an innovative example of industry and Government coming together to promote higher quality standards and deliver better value for the public purse.

He said: "With this announcement the Northern Ireland electrical contracting industry and the NI Executive are leading the way across the United Kingdom in ensuring that those electrical workers working on specific public contracts have the appropriate experience and qualifications to deliver a quality and value for money service."

Derek Thompson, Chief Executive of the Electrical Training Trust, said: "We very much welcome the support of the Minister and of the Central Procurement Directorate in bringing forward this pilot. Given the central role electrical systems, equipment and appliances play in public workplaces and facilities, SparkSafe LTP will provide the Government with increased confidence that electrical works will be completed to the required technical installation standards, as well as increased value for money.”

In anticipation of the Central Procurement Directorate pilot commencing in January, the ETT SparkSafe LTP team has already developed and is currently testing a bespoke Sparksafe Licence To Practice website for the registration and accreditation of electrical workers in Northern Ireland.  

Once a worker has been registered on the site their information will be able to be attributed by a contractor to an individual project team.