Official consumer mark launched to counter concerns over unregistered electricians

02 July 2014

The Registered Competent Person Electrical Mark

Use of unregistered electricians trebles in a year, and a fifth of people don’t know if their electrician is registered.

Government-backed safety mark launches to help people easily find a competent, registered electrician.

A new government-backed consumer safety mark – the ‘Registered Competent Person Electrical Mark’ – launches today to better protect the public from the dangers of employing unregistered electricians.

With electrical accidents responsible for half of all house fires and someone dying every week from an electrical accident, it is hoped the new mark will help make it easier for the public to only employ competent tradesmen to undertake electrical work in their homes.

Research shows the number of people using electricians not registered with a government-approved scheme has more than trebled in the last year – and a further fifth of people don’t know whether the electrician they’ve used was registered or not[i]. This is particularly dangerous when people use unregistered electricians for more complex jobs[1].

The ‘Registered Competent Person Electrical Mark’ provides an instant visible safety assurance and the accompanying website will provide a one-stop-shop for all electricians registered with one of the government-approved electrical competent person schemes to carry out domestic work. By visiting www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk, anyone can find a local, registered electrician by entering their postcode or can validate an electrician’s credentials by inputting their company name.

Electrical Safety First, which is helping to launch the new consumer safety mark, estimates there are around 20,000 unregistered electricians operating in the UK today[ii]. The charity is concerned that the use of unregistered electricians, and people not knowing how to check whether an electrician is registered, can contribute to the number of electrical accidents in homes and can result in costly repairs to dodgy electrical jobs. In addition to the deaths and fires, 350,000 people are seriously injured by electricity each year.

All electrical Competent Person Scheme Operators are behind the launch of the new identifiable mark with the backing of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which states that when employing an electrician it is important to ensure they are registered, as this will both guarantee that they have the skills to carry out the job and that there will be a procedure in place should something go wrong. They have also warned about the dangers of relying on others, such as a builder, to select electricians for more complex jobs like bathroom or kitchen fittings that have electrical elements, without checking their credentials first.

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, said:

“Choosing someone to carry out work in your home is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly and it’s worrying that an increasing number of people are knowingly using unregistered electricians or are not sure the person carrying out electrical work in their home is legally able to do the job. Choosing an electrician backed by the Registered Competent Person Electrical Mark means they have the skills to carry out the work. Many people may tell you they are qualified to undertake electrical work – from your neighbour to a friend’s recommendation – but the new consumer safety mark is the only way to ensure professionalism and safety. Electricity can kill – it’s not worth taking a chance.”

To find a registered electrician in your area visit: www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk.

The organisations behind the new mark have produced a short video showing the dangers of using an unregistered electrician, by calling in a child to fix some dodgy electrics. To view and share the video:  www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/findanelectrician

Ends

For more information please contact Rosie or Rachel on electricalsafetyfirst@forster.co.uk or call 0207 403 2230.

Notes to Editors:

  • Electrical Safety First is the UK charity dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents. We campaign to improve safety regulation and messages, and provide expert information and advice to the public and professionals to help ensure everyone in the UK can use electricity safely. Visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk for more information
  • Electricians must be registered with one of the Competent Person scheme operators to be included on the website and use the mark. By choosing a registered electrician, consumers are offered additional guarantees and safeguards on the competency of the electrician, which don’t exist if they use a non registered electrician.

 



[1] More complex electrical tasks are subject to a law known as ‘Part P of the Building Regulations for England and Wales’, meaning it must be undertaken by a registered electrician. See: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/find-an-electrician/part-p/ 



[i] Taken from Electrical Safety First’s Annual Consumer Survey, which surveyed 2,118 people between 11 April and 1 May 2014. Out of the 492 people who had used an electrician in the last twelve months, 7% used one who was not registered with a scheme, which has substantially increased from 2% in 2013. 20% ‘don’t know’ whether the electrician they used was registered or not

[ii] This estimate is based of approximately 41,000 registered electricians working in England and Wales currently, with a further 1,200 in Scotland. Data from DCLG Part P impact assessment states that there are 58,000 electrical contractors across England alone- leading the charity to estimate that around a third of electricians are non-registered.