A group of organisations representing the heating and plumbing industry have written to government minister Claire Perry setting out their concerns about the Each Home Counts (EHC) review.
Their letter urges the minister at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to halt the EHC review. It details how the voices of the industry have been ignored during the consultation process, and raises concerns over the bodies in charge of the quality mark and possible conflicts of interest – as well as increased red-tape burdens being placed on the industry.
Late in 2017, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) secured exemptions, yet it is now clear the scheme is pretty much compulsory in all but name, says the organisation. Industry partners are equally concerned over the lack of transparency and accountability associated with this scheme.
HHIC director Stewart Clements says: “It is with sadness that we have signed the letter. We genuinely believed the EHC scheme was going to support consumers and help develop parts of the industry that do not give good value. Instead, industry believes it has been hijacked by groups with compromised objectives.
“That is why, reluctantly, we have agreed to sign the letter alongside our colleagues representing the broader heating industry and professionals who work in it and other leading organisations (APHC, CIPHE, IDHEE, SNIPEF). HHIC are worried about the lack of transparency within the Each Home Counts implementation board, and the potential impacts of this. We have been told countless times that the EHC is a scheme run for and by industry, but the lack of disclosure of minutes of meetings suggests otherwise.”
Stewart adds: “We are not criticising the scheme but how it is being run. There are solutions to the issues raised in the EHC report [and] we are already addressing many of them successfully, Of course, we always looking to improve what we do and are happy to take on board any suggestions to improve.”
John Thompson, CEO at the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), says: “As an industry we are overwhelmed with schemes and quality marks. It is APHC’s view that this Quality Mark will duplicate current requirements under Gas Safe registration, competent persons schemes membership and to some extent the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
“This is compounded by the fact that Quality Mark membership will essentially be mandatory as it will be required to undertake work through the incoming ECO scheme and, no doubt, other potential future government initiatives.”