TrustMark, the Government-endorsed scheme for home improvement firms and all trades in and around the home, has welcomed the publication of the Each Home Counts review (also known as the Bonfield Review) which is seeking to improve consumer protection in energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.
Liz Male MBE, chairman of TrustMark and a member of the review's Implementation Board, said: "The publication of this report is just one milestone on the journey, and there is much more work going on already. But this review does present the most important opportunity I've seen in the last 10 years to bring the key Government departments, industry bodies and consumer protection schemes like TrustMark together, with a more coordinated approach to raising standards in this vital area of home improvement.
"We know what exists now is simply not good enough. The extent of poor practices and sub-standard work is unacceptable, and the families affected will need a great deal of support over the coming months and years to rectify the damage that has been done.
"The UK is also far too fragmented in the way we attempt to certify technical competence, identify quality or provide consumer protection. There are too many uncoordinated and duplicating quality schemes promoted by central Government, let alone the plethora of badges offered in the private sector. This is not an effective way to build investor or public confidence in a fast-developing new area of home improvements, and it's not helpful to the thousands of excellent businesses and tradespeople who work in this sector, nor the customers they seek to serve.
“Indeed, if we can get the new quality standards framework right for the Bonfield Review then this can also support work to tackle poor customer service and rogue traders in other areas of the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement industry, and even beyond that to other markets too.
"In the meantime, I'm pleased to see that the review highlights the exemplar provided by TrustMark's work with the Gas Safe Register. As the report points out, this is the sort of collaboration that could support the roll-out for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the future. TrustMark can provide a wrap-around consumer protection element to robust technical schemes, and the combination brings quick, cost-effective benefits to tradespeople and consumers alike."
The Each Home Counts review was jointly commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). BEIS manages the licences for schemes such as TrustMark, the Green Deal and Microgeneration Certification Scheme. DCLG manages the Competent Persons Scheme and supervises Building Regulations.
The review’s work is continuing apace. Its objective is to ensure that there is a robust and effective quality and standards framework to support and protect consumers when they install energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in their homes, and in the event that such home improvements go wrong.
The report contains 27 high-level recommendations, proposing a quality and standards framework for home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures which includes:
- A quality mark against which all those engaged in design and installation of measures will be assessed and certified against;
- A Consumer Charter to ensure consumers receive excellent customer service, and access to redress procedures when things go wrong;
- A Code of Conduct for companies operating in the home renewable energy and energy efficiency sector;
- Technical Codes of Practice and standards for the installation of home renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.
Liz Male chaired the Skills and Training work stream of the review, and is currently leading the work on the development of its proposed Code of Conduct and Customer Charter.
Read the Each Home Counts review report at:
You can provide feedback on the review and its recommendations until 31 January 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the implementation phase there will also be further opportunities for stakeholder engagement, and further information will be made available in early 2017.
Issued on behalf of TrustMark - For further information or photos, please contact:
Georgina Watkins, Tel: 07595 158460, Email: email@example.com
Notes to Editors
- TrustMark is not an advertising directory or a website that sells leads. It is a registered social enterprise, operated under licence from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). As a not-for-profit organisation it does not make money from consumers.
- TrustMark’s website has an easy to use UK wide postcode search facility, which provides details of more than 21,000 licensed trades and has the largest database of accredited tradespeople in the country.
- All TrustMark firms’ technical skills have been independently checked through on-site inspections to ensure a high quality of workmanship and trading practices. TrustMark is the only scheme that requires qualified inspectors to do these visits, so that technical competence is checked as well as business practices and customer satisfaction.
- TrustMark firms make a commitment to work to Government endorsed standards and are able to offer insurance backed warranties and deposit protection, as well as operating a user-friendly complaints procedure.