NAPIT Speak Out Over Register Fiasco

NAPIT have recently spoken out against the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and Electrical Safety Council (ESC) following the launch of the ‘Electrical Safety Register’, only days after the launch of the ElectricSafe Register.

The scheme has been denounced by the organisation as an attempt to subvert the general political and industry consensus which – based on concerted processes of debate and consultation – emphasised the need to create a single consumer-facing brand to promote competent persons and raise awareness of electrical safety.

On Friday 16 November, NAPIT launched ElectricSafe, a new industry-wide brand and voluntary register that is free to join and open to registered electricians from all Competent Person Scheme providers.

Only days later, the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and the Electrical Safety Council (ESC, read NICEIC) launched the Electrical Safety Register, a rival register that does not currently allow NAPIT, Benchmark, BESCA, BSI, OFTEC or Stroma members to join.

Prior to this, ElectricSafe had been in a process of development since early 2011. This process was postponed in order to take on board the findings of both the DCLG consultations regarding the future of Part P and the recommendations of the Select Committee on Electrical and Gas Installation and Repairs.

NAPIT Chief Operating Officer, Martin Bruno, commenting on this fiasco, said:

“ElectricSafe had been through a long process of development that was closely informed by political debate and consultations involving other scheme providers, industry bodies and electrical contractors. It has been designed to create a single, industry wide, consumer-facing brand and register. It is free to join and open to all electricians who have been registered as competent – under any scheme provider. The launch of the Electrical Safety Register shortly after – a register which is closed to 6 of the 8 UK Competent Person Registers – has distorted this concept in a clear attempt to monopolise the representation of the UK electrical industry.”

“It is very disappointing that, having been initially supportive the concept of a united register, the NICEIC and ECA have decided to act alone. It is also frustrating to see that they have chosen to rule out cooperation with the other 6 organisations which represent the industry”

“ElectricSafe should be seen in the context of a general consensus – developed at the first Electrical Safety Roundtable debate, held back in June – which recognised the need for concerted promotion of competent electricians to the public under a single, easily recognisable brand. The ‘Electrical Safety Register’ has completely disregarded that spirit of cooperation and this can only serve to damage consumer recognition of Competent Persons.”

The ESC have also recently issued a statement in which they refer to the Electrical Safety Register as; “a partnership that is supported by the leading trade body (ECA) and the leading assessment body for electrical contractors (NICEIC)”, continuing “But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for others. In reality that would mean a commitment from partners to ensure assessments are of a consistent standard with others in the industry. In addition, committing to the Register shows explicit support for the ESC on electrical safety matters and that would be a major entry requirement too for any other partners.”

However, all 6 of the registration bodies that have been excluded from the register possess the same UKAS accreditations, demonstrating the fact that they meet the requirements for assessing electricians’ ability to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations. If anything – considering NAPIT’s ongoing commitment to individual competence, compared to the NICEIC model of one competent electrician overseeing multiple contractors – it is not NAPIT who need to reconsider their approach to standards. This statement can only be viewed as an ultimatum to other providers to either bow down to the NICEIC/ESC or be left out of their register.

NAPIT, by contrast, have developed a register that would put the details, not just of NAPIT electricians, but of all Part P registered electricians, at the fingertips of the whole public. The register was, and still is, intended to represent a concerted effort to improve the industry. NAPIT envisage that, in the near future, the ElectricSafe Register will be governed by a board of all major industry representatives, stakeholders and other scheme providers.

We recognise that having rival schemes will only create more confusion and does little to improve consumer recognition of Competent Persons. This is why the ElectricSafe Register has been developed by NAPIT to create a single, consumer-facing point of reference that will simplify the task of searching for and recognising a registered electrician.

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