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The time for talking is well and truly over

Newell McGuiness

As is often the case in January, I was drawn to reflecting on SELECT’s involvements over the year just passed.

My reflective mood was triggered by reading a serendipitous reference to an organisation called the Select Society.

The Select Society was an exclusive intellectual debating club, formed in Edinburgh in 1754. It was one of many such discussion clubs in mid-18th century Edinburgh, but stood out from the rest because of the prominence of its members, which included such luminaries as David Hume, Adam Smith, Allan Ramsey and many other interesting characters.

Its main purpose was to discuss matters of importance to members and the public within the limits of its constitution, which stressed “the importance of participation without financial or coercive pressures, restricting functions to only one or two formal objectives, the limited nature of the organisation, with a general absence of a regulatory role”. Sound anything like another SELECT organisation?

As if to emphasise the similarity, SELECT has recently been focusing on a very important objective that has serious ramifications for both electrical businesses and the Scottish public: Protection of Title for Electricians. And like our ancient namesake, we have been trying to persuade those that do have regulatory powers to step up to the mark and make a difference.

We remain frustrated, however, that, even though everyone we meet is astonished to learn anyone can call themselves an electrician and put businesses and householders at serious risk, no one in government seems prepared to really do anything about it.

Surely in this day and age it is a travesty that a forward-thinking nation like Scotland will not recognise that only properly qualified, experienced and registered electricians should be allowed to trade, as is the case in most civilised countries around the world?

SELECT has been working with Scottish Government for more than two years making the case for protection of title for electricians. We feel we have met every demand placed on us and have presented evidence and solutions every step of the way, all of which suggests it could be done easily, with no cost to the public purse and would deliver the significant prospect of improved electrical safety for all.

We are, however, rapidly running out of patience, and it is time for the endless talking to stop and time for action.

SELECT Members, their constituents and the wider public expect change as it is simply no longer acceptable that the unqualified, inexperienced and rogues can tout themselves as electricians and put lives and property at risk.

Let’s be bold and do something positive that will make a difference. Let’s stop prevaricating and make 2018 the year we deliver protection of title for the profession of electrician – it may not cure all the ills of the industry but it would be a massive and positive step forward in protecting consumers.

Newell McGuiness – Signature

Newell McGinness Managing Director, SELECT

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