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Government response to the consultation on changes to scheme operating requirements for energy assessor accreditation schemes to provide greater focus on consumer protection, and detecting and preventing fraud.
This consultation invites views on the outcomes of the review of the minimum requirements currently applied by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to the operation of energy assessor accreditation schemes.
There are currently 7 schemes that oversee the work of approximately 15,000 accredited energy assessors who produce energy certificates for domestic, public and commercial buildings, and air conditioning inspection reports for air conditioning systems with an effective rated output in excess of 12 kilowatts.
Assessors must belong to a scheme approved by the Secretary of State before they are able to enter energy certificates on to the Energy Performance of Buildings register and issue them to building owners, landlords and others.
Schemes in England and Wales are bound by the conditions set out in the letter of approval issued to them by the Secretary of State, including specifically the requirement to comply with DCLG’s scheme operating requirements (SORs). The SORs set out the minimum operating standards for schemes.
The focus of this consultation is to seek views on options to improve the effectiveness of the SORs in tackling bad practice and detecting and preventing fraud.
During the second half of 2015, DCLG conducted a review of scheme operations, and identified potential weaknesses in the production of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). These created vulnerabilities that could be exploited for fraudulent purposes, particularly in relation to claims for eligibility for funding programmes such as Feed in Tariffs, Energy Company Obligation and Renewable Heat Incentives.
In all of these programmes, EPCs provide a means of either assessing eligibility for funding or verifying that grant funded work has been completed. Key data items, such as floor area, heating system, etc can be manipulated to maximise grant eligibility and/or award levels.
The aim of the proposed revisions to the SORs is to address concerns about both quality and accuracy of energy certificates to enhance consumer protection and tackle concerns about fraud.