CIPHE sets a new strategy for campaigning
When the COVID-19 outbreak started, it brought some rapid changes and an unexpected benefit.
Whitehall mandarins who needed crucial answers asked the CIPHE for help – and they got it. It led to more enquiries and opportunities to highlight priorities from our own agenda that were not previously available. Just a couple of months before, the Institute had put forward a manifesto aimed at influencing politicians during the general election. Faced with a rapidly changing situation, a decision was taken. Rather than abandon aims and objectives, why not seize the new connections and circumstances to achieve lasting changes?
The solution has been to create a rolling manifesto that will run every year and continue to adapt and develop as the objectives are achieved.
CIPHE chief executive officer Kevin Wellman explains the logic: “Due to COVID-19 and Brexit, it is clear that we are entering a period of significant change. Going forward, the UK is going to need skilled, qualified and competent engineers in all disciplines, to achieve its domestic and international aims.
“As the Professional Body for the plumbing and heating industry, and a registered educational charity dedicated to protecting the public health, the CIPHE is uniquely placed to give a voice to the industry, while upholding the interest of the public.”
So over the next 12 months, the team will be engaging directly with the government to refine legislation, work with campaigners, engage with the media, support colleges and more.
Here are some of the highlights:
The issue: A new regulator for England
The issue: The Hackitt Inquiry report created the opportunity
What we’re doing about it: As part of the Construction Industry Council, we’ve been working since the Grenfell fire to rid the industry of rogue operators and untrained workers and to strengthen the regulatory environment. A big achievement has been the industry report setting out objectives. As the building safety legislation is scrutinised, we’ll be working with others to get mandatory registration.
The issue: Under-cutting small firms
Why get involved? Safety and human rights are at risk
What we’re doing about it: We’re working with MPs and ministers to enable trading standards and police officers to be able to require proof of competency in the form of qualifications. We know the construction industry is being targeted and the gangs involved are also linked to money laundering and more.
The issue: Risk of injury
Why get involved? The Health and Safety Executive states around 20 people die from scalding each year and the elderly are five times more likely to receive a fatal burn or scald injury than the general population. Hot bath water continues to be responsible for the highest number of fatal and severe scalding injuries among young children.
What we’re doing about it: We’ll be working with industry associations to push for legislation requiring the use of Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) in all domestic dwellings.
The issue: The number of cases is still alarming
Why get involved: Schools and hospitals are dealing with it, but home hot tub owners aren’t
What we’re doing about it: We’re lobbying the industry and the regulator to review, update and strengthen enforcement of the Water Regulations. We’ll also be calling for the government to introduce further legislation around the installation and use of domestic hot tubs and spa baths.
The issue: Colleges are facing uncertain times
Why get involved? Apprentices are hardest-hit in recessions
What we’re doing about it: The industry lost a lot of skilled people in the last recession and with more people set to retire, we have to be able to replace them. But colleges have been cutting courses and the time for completing them.
The transition to low carbon heating requires a fit for purpose training and education programme for the industry and a general awareness campaign for the public. So we are working with other industry partners and further education leads within government to ensure the courses are protected. And we are developing the low carbon training requirements with the government.
The issue: 3D printing and Brexit has created a new problem
Why get involved? Safety and customer protection
What we’re doing about it: An influx of counterfeit parts — especially in the heating industry — is putting the public safety at risk. Counterfeit parts are often made from inferior materials, will not have passed the vigorous testing and approvals process of genuine parts and rarely conform to European safety standards. We’ll be pushing with manufacturers for Trading Standards teams and the National Crime Agency to step up policing of the black economy to stop the trade in non-compliant parts.
strengthen enforcement of the Water strengthen enforcement of the Water Regulations. We’ll also be calling for the introduction of further legislation around the installation and use of domestic hot tubs and spa baths.
The issue: Local authority cuts
Why get involved? Public health matters
What we’re doing about it: This year has highlighted the impact of social isolation and yet, for too many, this is the reality for every day of their lives. Just for the want of access to safe, clean public toilet facilities. We’re adding new momentum to our campaign to protect current conveniences and lobbying Westminster to ensure funding gets through.
The Public Health Act 1936 gave local authorities the power to provide public toilets, but it is not a legal requirement for them to do so. We want the loophole closed.
UN Climate Change Conference
The issue: Reducing emissions
Why get involved?
Government legally established objectives which are impossible to hit without contribution by the plumbing and heating industry
What we’re doing about it: Our working group has been partnering up with officials at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to work out how the industry will deliver the low carbon agenda. If the UN climate change conference goes ahead in the autumn, we very much intend to be there to influence, inform and raise our profile.
It’s a big agenda but the Institute is confident about making a difference in 2021.
Kevin Wellman says: “We are clear that CIPHE members represent the best of the plumbing and heating industry. The knowledge and experience we have means we are well placed to help tackle these big issues head-on.”