This article throws some light on what will be known as the Green Deal ‘Oversight Body’ (OB)which aims to manage the various functions of the Green Deal scheme.
Green Deal Code of Practice
The OB will ensure adherence of the Code by all the Green Deal participants (advisors, installers, providers) including Green Deal framework regulations. It will monitor their performance and ensure they are compliant with the Code. The OB will have an independent appeals process to deal with breaches of the Code. They will constantly assess how effective the Code is in delivering the highest standards to consumers and make sure that the Green Deal quality mark is used correctly and make recommendations to the Secretary of State where necessary.
The OB will make sure that all the required information (including monitoring data) and advice is provided to the Secretary of State and Devolved Administrations so that the scheme operates properly. On a quarterly basis, the OB will publish the latest weighted average interest rate for fixed-rate Green Deals in the market place. Interest rates will be regulated by the Consumer Credit Act and will enable Green Deal Providers to determine the compensation allowed to charge when a customer repays their loan early.
Information will be made available by all UK regions. The OB will provide reports and accounts to the Secretary of State and/or Devolved Administrations when requested within set timescales. This will include information in relation to Freedom of Information. The OB will publish results of its monitoring in an annual report, made available to the public and the Office of Fair Trading and other applicable organisations. It will also be publish information on a dedicated Green Deal Advice website. The report will include service improvement plans so that they can take any appropriate action to continually improve customer care standards, including recommendations to the Secretary of State.
Annual reports will cover
Fees charged by the OB, by type of participant and totals collected by type of participant
Numbers and analysis of those registered
Incentives in place to encourage participation of SMEs and uptake of training and apprenticeships
Details of any participant companies and installers and assessors who have been struck off the registers
An annual report on monitoring compliance with this Code, as set out in section 3 below
Breakdowns by country and region
Identification of trends and information on likely future uptake
The OB will compile and manage a register of approved installers and approved Green Deal providers. It will deal with the process for registering products and systems and the licensing of Green Deal providers. There will be a clear fee structure for all participants in advance and for approval from the Secretary of State before fees are imposed. Participant type will be defined as advisor or installer certification bodies and Green Deal Providers. Information will be provided in an electronic format to the Green Deal Advice Line (updated on a monthly basis) covering the following:
Green Deal Advisors: names, address (including postcode), telephone number, accreditation scheme
Green Deal Installers: names, address (including postcode), telephone number and activity for which they are approved and certifying body (e.g. plumbing, windows etc.) Product details. Details of certification bodies
Green Deal Providers: names, address (including postcode) and telephone number
Enforcement and Monitoring
The OB will make recommendations to the Secretary of State to strike off accreditation schemes or certifying bodies and/or individual members where appropriate. They will cooperate with and assist the Energy Ombudsman or Financial Ombudsman Operation in investigations of customer redress cases and will monitor to ensure compliance with sanctions imposed by the Secretary of State, following an investigation. The OB will carry out monitoring and auditing measures, and report back to the Secretary of State on a yearly basis. Feedback from consumers will be obtained by way of consumer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping/random checks. This will include an analysis of breaches of the Code, warnings and other measures to ensure on-going compliance, and any sanctions imposed by the Secretary of State. Regular audits of compliance will be undertaken of authorised participants, through certification bodies, or directly with participants including an analysis of conciliation and arbitration cases enabled by accreditation schemes and certifying bodies. The OB will collate information on cases of non-compliance of the code. Where this occurs, the OB will report more often than annually. Lastly, the OB will manage the Green Deal Mark and associated brand protection.
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