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HIES becomes a TrustMark Scheme Operator

In a continued effort to raise industry standards and improve levels of protection for consumers, HIES has recently become a TrustMark Scheme Operator.

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HIES founder, Tony Pickup, commented: "The whole purpose of HIES is to provide the most robust level of consumer protection possible when it comes to renewable energy products. Therefore, it made sense to become a TrustMark Scheme Operator as our installers can demonstrate they are able to deliver the kind of competence and quality expected of the Government Endorsed Standards Scheme, along with the certainty that if there is a problem, HIES as an organisation has a suite of remedies to ensure satisfaction."

TrustMark CEO Simon Ayres commented on this latest development: “It is great news that HIES have been accepted as a Scheme Operator for TrustMark. As we move forward as an organisation it is increasingly important to work with businesses like HIES that can ensure customers receive the same level of protection and satisfaction when having renewable energy products installed, as they should with any other trade. As TrustMark develops we look forward to working with many other organisations to continue to drive standards and widen choice for consumers seeking to improve their homes.”

TrustMark is the only Government endorsed standards scheme for trades within the home improvement industry; and by being TrustMark registered, a company is demonstrating their commitment to work to these standards; providing trust, confidence and peace of mind to consumers.

In order to become TrustMark registered, companies must be a member of a ‘Scheme Operator’ (relevant to their business), such as HIES.

What are the benefits of being TrustMark registered?

There are many benefits to being a TrustMark registered trader. In addition to being a well-recognised and trusted scheme, their ‘Find a local tradesman’ facility receives around 750,000 search requests each month from consumers looking for reliable and recommended trades. All registered companies will be added to this search facility, helping them to secure more business. Other benefits to becoming registered include the use of the TrustMark logo, free van stickers, a web page on the TrustMark website and engagement on social media.

With HIES now an Approved Scheme Operator, our members have the option of becoming TrustMark registered.

How much does it cost to be TrustMark registered?

The cost for being TrustMark registered through HIES is just £120 + VAT per year. This is in addition to your HIES membership fee and is payable via direct debit at £10 + VAT per month.

How can HIES members become TrustMark registered?

The process for being TrustMark registered through HIES is as follows:

  1. Contact our TrustMark administrator Lauren Jones, via email at l.jones@hiesscheme.org.uk. to register your interest.
  2. Lauren will respond via email attaching a copy of the TrustMark sub-licence agreement together with a set of questions to answer and a request for documents that need to be provided, which relate to the TrustMark core criteria. We will also need to check which of our approved TrustMark trades the member wishes to be listed for on the TM website.
  3. Once the signed sub-licence agreement has been received, along with the requested documents and answers to the questions to satisfy the TrustMark core criteria, we shall process the membership with TrustMark.
  4. After membership has been processed the member will then appear in the search facility on the TrustMark website. They will also be sent the downloadable TrustMark dynamic logo (relevant to their HIES approved trades) and TrustMark van stickers.

If you would like to enquire about joining TrustMark please contact Lauren Jones at l.jones@hiesscheme.org.uk.

 

 

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HIES attends the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Symposium

 

Author: Adrian Simpson

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) symposium is the main gathering of consumer protection professionals throughout the UK, and I attended this for the tenth time in July.

undefinedUp until last year, the annual event was known as ‘trading standards conference’ and for the first time in the event’s history, it has moved away from a conference format to a symposium format. What this means is that the event is now much more focused around educating members so that they can gather more CPPD (Continued Professional and Personal Development) hours. These hours all add up towards the hours required for Chartered Trading Standards Practitioner Status.

The venue for this year was the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham, and for the first time, delegates could stay at the same venue as the conference, which as well as being practical meant that you could have those all too important corridor conversations, easily catching up with your network in an informal setting. When I first went as a delegate from Greenwich council back in 2008, it seemed that every Local Authority sent their entire trading standards departments, but in recent years the number of front-line trading standards officers feels like it has dropped. This is reflected in the consumer protection landscape where due to the substantial cuts to the number of trading standards officers (56% between 2009 - 2016 according to the National Audit Office). I have personally noticed more members from outside Local Authorities in attendance, as there are now various private sector consumer protection mechanisms such as approved codes of practice and certification bodies.

The symposium (must remember not to call it a conference) is a chance for the trading standards and consumer protection profession to raise issues or launch key reports. This year, Leon Livermore the CTSI Chief Executive launched the ‘Value of Trading Standards’ report which showcases innovative, new ways of working from the trading standards profession. The easy to read report shows the sheer diversity of the work of trading standards and highlights areas of work such as doorstep crime, unfair postal charges and investment fraud.

Although I was only there for one day out of three I wanted to make the most of the conference sessions and use the time in between them to catch up with ex-colleagues and make new contacts.

In the morning I attended a CTSI Lead Officer breakfast where, over bacon rolls, CTSI updated our network of trading standards experts on the latest policy developments. This was centred around BREXIT and the think tank which CTSI had established. Over the years we have acquired consumer protection in the form of European level legislation, such as the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and it would be a shame to lose all these excellent protections.

I was particularly interested in talking to the British Standards Institution (BSI) following on from their session on how BSI help trading standards. Earlier this year the newly formed Office for Product Safety and Standards launched a PAS (Publicly Available Specification) on product recalls and I was really impressed with how all the major players came together to produce the PAS, to give guidance and leadership over an issue that has been in the press and the subject of many campaigns. We are now doing further work with the BSI and we have applied to be on the BSI Consumer and Public Interest network.

HIES is a strong supporter of the trading standards profession and values our link with our Primary Authority. We are always happy to support trading standards officers and other regulators by providing witness statements and expert knowledge.

 

 

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All-Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Annual Conference

 

PRASEGEarlier this year HIES joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Renewable and Sustainable Energy. APPG exists for a variety of diverse subjects from basketball to ceramics, and of course renewable and sustainable energy. Although they don’t have any official status within Parliament they exist to bring together politicians from all parties and leading industry stakeholders to discuss issues and concerns.

As a consumer protection organisation, we want to ensure that consumers are thought of when Government policy is being developed. We do this by providing Government with advice and information concerning current consumer issues in the home renewable industry. Since January this year, we have significantly expanded our policy network and joined key industry groups such as the APPG.

HIES attended the Annual Conference at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors which was chaired by James Heappey MP with the theme of “Delivering Clean Growth: Leading the Charge”.

Clean growth strategy

Claire Perry MP, the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth started off her presentation by reminding us that the Climate Change Act is now 10 years old. The Act, legally bound Government ministers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by at least 80% by 2050, from 1990 levels. Claire was very keen on seeing an increase in employment in the clean growth industry and urged us to “forget the science and focus on the jobs”.

Claire then talked about the Government’s grand challenges, one of which is clean growth. The grand challenges come out of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that aims to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. The grand challenge for clean growth is to:

"maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth – through leading the world in the development, manufacture and use of low carbon technologies, systems and services that cost less than high carbon alternatives"

After Claire’s speech, Orsted, EON UK and National Grid discussed what they had been doing in their respective industries to deliver clean growth. Orsted for example no longer operates in oil and gas and instead concentrates completely on renewable energy. The National Grid was increasingly working with Electric Vehicles (EV) to plan for the potential EV revolution and reducing ‘range anxiety’ for EV drivers.

The second session was chaired by Dr. Alan Whitehead MP, the Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change to discuss how Government should support large-scale deployment of renewable energy solutions to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets. There was some passionate discussion about onshore wind farms, and the panel decided that there needs to be public support for wind farms for them to be effective in decarbonisation.

It was a real privilege to hear from the key decision makers on their views about the future for decarbonisation and we look forward to further PRASEG meetings and discussions.

 

 

Have a question?
Call us on 0344 324 5242
Or send an email to communications@hiesscheme.org.uk

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