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MPs call for tougher rules regarding electrician training

MPs are calling for tougher rules to make sure that electricians have a high enough level of training to carry out work on properties without putting anyone in danger.

Currently, English rules set out that people who are deemed to be “competent” by industry bodies are allowed to sign off work as being legal and safe. However, the Communities and Local Government Committee
voiced its concerns that some of these people did not have detailed training and said that the enforcement of rules governing the training was “at best patchy”.

The majority of domestic electrical work was brought under the system of building regulations by the Labour Government in 2005, which was aimed to ensuring a high level of safety standards. While safety has risen across the board since that change was made, there remain concerns regarding the safety standards that are in place, saying that thousands of “competency notifications” were being signed off each year by a so-called "competent person”.

Committee chairman, Labour MP Clive Betts, told the BBC: "Somebody whose only electrical qualification is that they have attended a five-week training course simply should not be re-wiring houses. Yet this is what we were told is happening.

"The person in the home wants to know that the person arriving on the doorstep is a qualified electrician. The current system does not guarantee this. Rather, it can brand the incompetent as competent”, he added.

The Committee recommenced that, in five years time, nobody be allowed to perform electrical work without a NVQ Level III or equivalent qualification. The person should also have carried out a “significant period of supervised on-the-job training”.

Communities Minister, Stephen Williams, told the BBC: “I'm pleased that the committee recognises the improvements since the building regulations covering electrical safety were introduced but there is always more work to be done to strike the right balance and we will consider the report's recommendations carefully, especially as part of our review of the impact of changes we've made to reduce unnecessary red tape in this area”.