CASE STUDY 1
In this case an RPSA member had disputed two audit decisions, including one on an EPC which had an error resulting from a software glitch. He received no further response, but later learned one evening that he was being suspended from the next day – by means of a message which was left by mistake on someone else’s answer machine! Not surprisingly he has now left the accreditation body.
Last evening I received a message by chance from a third party on whose voicemail a message had been left to inform me that owing to the fact I had not relodged two EPCs as requested, I was due to be suspended today. This message reached me by pure chance, the details of which I cannot go into. The message left gave the wrong telephone number and the email address stated could not be understood, leaving me in a position where I could not make contact through either medium.
This morning I initially attempted to access my on line account to be presented with the dialogue “User cannot be found”. This in itself has probably not helped my feelings about this situation. I have since telephoned your organisation and spoken with your technical assistant. Unfortunately xxxxx bore the brunt of my pent up emotions and anger over this situation. There had been ongoing exchanges of email correspondence regarding both of these disputes – the first, (lodged EPC), with xxxxxx, an exchange of emails the last of which was dated 14th June 2012 at 16.02. That email was the final exchange of communication which took place on this subject. At no time have I received a “decision” one way or another as to whether I should relodge this EPC. One of our main disputes about this EPC was that we were experiencing serious IT glitches at the time and had experienced many completely spurious outcomes. The main point of dispute in this issue was that the house was lodged as being semi detached when in fact it was end of terrace. It was pointed out at the time that the site notes quite clearly stated the property was end of terrace but the software had somehow recorded this as semi detached. There has never been a conclusion to this matter and given the situation it has never been relodged and I feel that if it really is necessary to relodge the report, that the relodgement fee should be waived.
With regard to (lodged EPC), the dispute went on over some weeks and a similar situation prevailed whereby no response was received from xxxxxx to my last correspondence on October 21st 2012 at 9.15pm. My final line in that email states “I do hope that this brings your audit to a close but should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me”. (Pause) – I have just received a telephone call from xxxxx in your technical department (during which I did apologise for my previous rambling and temperamental outburst, unfortunately he was the one on the other end of the phone). xxxxx advises me xxxxx did reply to my email of 21st and that was sent to me on 29th October – I have trawled my email server and can categorically say that in no way did I ever receive his response. However, that does not excuse the fact that no follow up has been made to that email until the notice of impending suspension to a third party. There has been no correspondence suggesting that was due to happen by email, telephone or otherwise.
As a Director of RPSA I am more than aware of the issues currently prevailing throughout the Energy Assessment “industry” particularly on the issue of auditing, the damage it is doing not only to the industry which seems happy to record the failure statistic as a damning indictment of the ability of field based energy assessors but also appears as an opportunity for certification bodies to demonstrate how mighty and powerful they are and how close they have their fingers to the pulse of the performance of those field based assessors. I am now being asked to relodge two EPCs or face suspension in the knowledge that the outcome of the EPCs will be identical to the originals lodged. I fail to understand the purpose of an auditing process which is so wrapped up in conventions without the application of one ounce of common sense or understanding of some of the issues faced by hard working, diligent and careful DEAs. The fact that I am an assessor for a training organisation and regularly am presented with the work of Energy Assessors certificated with (accreditation body) which they assure me has passed through the auditing process successfully brings me to question who is carrying out the audits, how they are carrying out the audits and why they are bothering at all given the complete inconsistency of auditing standards. Some of the work presented to me by DEAs registered with (accreditation body) would not be acceptable from my 5 year old grand daughter never mind qualified personnel. However, this is not a subject on which I wish to dwell.
As indicated to xxxxx in our last telephone conversation, the two EPCs that I relodge this morning will be the last two EPCs that I will ever lodge with your organisation. It is a shambolic travesty and your auditing process is a complete insult to every domestic and commercial Energy Assessor registered with you. The lack of ability to communicate properly and robustly flies in the face of your certification as an accreditation body. Your inability to address the most simple problems (if you would like specifics, just ask) has been , not just frustrating but astounding and one would question how you continue to satisfy your own auditors annually and demonstrate the efficiency and adherence to the standards that are required of a certification body.
I fully intend to forward a copy of my email to the DCLG, Chairman of RPSA, Chairman of DCHI and MEP and any other body that I feel should share my feelings. This has been a tawdry and distressing experience dealing with your organisation and one which I am happy to bring to a close. I am close to leaving the industry completely as a result of the failure of your organisation to operate in a proper consistent and professional manner and know my feelings are shared by many others. I still fail to understand what it is, as an organisation, that you are trying to achieve other than the complete demotivation and destruction of all your accredited assessors.
In the meantime, I will endeavour to restore my own enthusiasm in this beleaguered industry and remain