Memorandum submitted by Colin Breed, MP
I am writing on-behalf of CO-Gas Safety, an
independent registered charity mainly funded by the Department
of Health. I am a vice-chair of this charity after over ten years
of involvement in their work.
CO-Gas Safety submitted written evidence to
the Work and Pension Select Committee in 2004 and I enclose this,
as well as copies of the following recent correspondence:
1. Letter to Lord McKenzie dated 23.07.07
2. Some of the problems CO-Gas Safety has
experienced with HSC and HSE which has led CO-Gas Safety to conclude
that HSC/E are not fit for purpose.
3. Letter dated 07.08.07 to Lord McKenzie.
4. Letter from Lord McKenzie dated September
5. Letter to Lord McKenzie dated 12.10.07.
6. Letter to Lord McKenzie dated 16.10.07.
In summary, the HSC and HSE seem, to victims
and their organisations, to be more concerned with the businesses
rather than with victims, consumers or even prevention itself.
The system concentrates on the workplace, which is perhaps understandable
in view of the creation of HSC and HSE by the Health & Safety
at Work Act 1974. However, times have moved onmany people
work from home and the majority of people assume HSC/E is there
to "look after them". The move to merge the HSC and
HSE recognises that some change is needed, and CO-Gas Safety broadly
welcomes this, however, the past lack of access by victims to
the Commissioners (and indeed the lack of a Commissioner for Victims)
has resulted in them feeling ignored. CO-Gas Safety has also experienced
a large amount of being kept at arm's length and even being refused
access to such things as stakeholders' meetings, (these being
reserved for the businesses not the victims). Although this has
improved lately, this attitude lives on. Please note that when
victims do tell their stories to Ministers or civil servants there
seems to be a dramatic shift in attitude. I implore the Select
Committee to consider changing this.
I am further concerned by the lack of action
taken to prevent deaths and injuries from gas and the products
of combustion. Injury from these is costing the taxpayer in terms
of deaths, loss of work through injury, social security costs
and the costs of unnecessary tests from misdiagnosis. General
Practitioners hardly ever think of CO poisoning or poisoning by
other products of combustion and nearly always treat for other
conditions. The medics are not assisted by the lack of awareness
of the dangers of CO or by the lack of a test for CO by the gas
To do HSC/E justice, in 2000 they recommended
a levy on gas suppliers to raise funds for publicity about the
dangers of CO and that the Gas Emergency Service carry and use
equipment to test for CO. These recommendations were not implemented,
partly due to lack of Parliamentary time. The recent recommendation
by HSC is that the need to raise funds for publicity about the
dangers of CO can be achieved by requiring a franchisee (which
is likely to be CORGI) to raise funds from the industry. This
franchisee will also have the job of registering gas installers
and presumably will continue to be required to be the public's
gas safety watchdog. In my opinion there is already a conflict
of interest because it is not unheard of for a CORGI installer
to cause death or injury. Imposing a further burden on the registration
body to raise funds to pay for awareness will exacerbate this
problem. In other words, an organisation with funds which are
ring fenced for registration, and with a huge conflict of interest
between gas installers and members of the public, is supposed
to influence industry to provide the funds it has so far proved
totally unwilling to provide. Please note that attempts have been
made since 1997 (when VIGIL was set up) to persuade industry to
provide these funds voluntarily.
I wish to question how the franchisee will be
judged. The draft specification document has not even been finished
yet it was promised for June. With further delay, more people
are being killed or permanently disabled by a poisonous gas 45%
of them do not even know exists. In my opinion this latest recommendation
shows just how unrealistic the HSC/E has become.
I suggest that these documents should cause
you great concern and I ask you to consider a general review and
inquiry into the HSC/E and the setting up of a body to actually
achieve a meaningful improvement in health and safety.
Lord McKenzie of Luton
Department for Work and Pensions
London SW1H 9DA 23.07.07
Our meeting on 16 July at 4.00 pm to 5.00
pm Now postponed to Wednesday 25 July at 4.45-5.45 p.m.
I understand that the purpose of this meeting
is to talk about the progress of COCAA and the industry in tackling
this topic of raising awareness and gas safety generally.
I understand that you have limited attendance
As this meeting has been postponed it is difficult
to find MPs able to attend at short notice.
COCAA has stated that its members cannot provide
any funding until 2008. This is hardly a good start to the recommendation
made by HSC in January 2007 to put the burden on the franchisee
"to lead industry activity in fund raising in support of
enhanced gas safety awareness" (see Enc. 1 Heath and Safety
Commission Gas Safety Review p. 15 Annex 3 para. 3). The most
obvious problem with this scheme is that no definite funding from
industry for raising awareness has been specified by the Commission.
How will the franchisee be judged? Furthermore our view is that
the government should not delegate such an important issue, which
has been repeatedly ignored by the industry. A levy is the only
way forward. To date 120 MPs have signed MP Colin Breed's EDM
1032 advocating a levy as recommended by the HSC in 2000. In our
opinion for so many MPs to sign shows that this is an issue of
concern to the public and action should be taken immediately.
No organization would be more pleased than CO-Gas
Safety if a levy was not required. However, in our opinion real
action seems incredibly unlikely especially in view of the evidence
for the APPPGS in summer 2006 (see Enc.2 Minutes of Proceedings
Committee Room 17 04.07.06 page 14) when Barry Sheerman commented:
"CHAIRMAN: But it is the opposite. Your
industry is in the Ice Age, it is Neanderthal compared with cars
because, with cars, there is What Car? or Which Car?,
so you can go into a newsagent, open a page and the star rating
for safety is there and people buy their cars now, as a matter
of course, on safety, security as well as performance. That is
the difference. The culture has changed and safety is a given,
but it was not 30 years ago. Safety does not seem to be a given
in this sector. I get a real feeling of complacency, that it is
down to only 10 deaths and, honestly, I get the feeling that you
are a bit complacent. Is it me because it is a hot day, it is
a steamy room, but it does not seem as though you are worried
about it, energised about it and want to make a difference? Am
I right or am I wrong?"
CORGI has recently reported that there have
been 50 accidental CO deaths in 16 months. This does not surprise
us and we still consider these figures to be the tip of an iceberg.
In our opinion, the industry is merely making soothing noises
in the hope that the government will drop the idea of a levy.
In our opinion, the time for a voluntary levy ran out, at the
latest in 2004. The government has shown far too much patience
with the wealthy fuel industry and will be abrogating its responsibilities
if it continues to fail to take immediate action.
A further problem is the fact that the specification
for the franchise is still not published. We have heard that the
scheme is now being questioned by the Treasury, for various reasons.
The means further delay which will result in the death and injury
of more people from the preventable and silent killer, CO.
B. More detailed examination of the Minutes
of COCAA dated 07.02.07, 28.03.07, 10.05.07 and Steering Group
only, 13.06.07 please find these enclosed (Enc. 3A, 3B, 3C &
1. It seems no real funding will be found
until 2008 due to the need for the companies to obtain budget
approval. (see Enc. 3A dated 07.02.07 at Item 2 para 4)
2. The idea of a soap opera CO story is good.
However it has been done before (eg Coronation Street suggested
by CO-Gas Safety). Also it seems that CORGI, not COCAA is doing
the work on this, (See Enc.3B Item 3 d. 28. Minutes 03.07.)
3. We find the following chilling after nearly
13 years of lobbying for real action to be taken to stop these
unnecessary deaths and injuries. I have copied some extracts to
give you a flavour of the discussions reported in the minutes
(bold added by us). Please note we have not been invited to a
single meeting yet and the first one we have been invited to,
is to be held on the 23.07.07.
28.03.07 (See Encl. 3B at Item 8):
"John Richards wanted to understand what
each organisation gets from doing a separate campaign rather than
carrying on with their planned activity and reporting it to the
Eve Cooper explained that we are all doing the
right thing with our current campaigns, but Lord McKenzie will
not be satisfied with the current level of activity. This may
be however, because we do not shout about the things we do now.
We need to have a two pronged attack by doing both our individual
activity and then a collective campaign. If we provide enough
evidence of the things we are doing this year, then we may not
have to invest as heavily in the combined campaign. This will
reduce what we have to do in the future."
10.05.07 (see Enc. 3C at Item 5 paras 10 &
"Jeff Watson wanted to know how we know
how much to spend.
Dan Caesar said we need to speak to Government
to find out
what they will be happy with."
We ask you to ask them to supply funds to run
a proper media campaign similar to the anti drink driving and
anti smoking campaigns.
10.05.07 (See Enc. 3C at Item 6 para3):
"Russell Hamblin Boone said we won't all
want ownership of it forever. Start the campaign and then give
it to the GovernmentCOL It's a social issue."
CO-Gas Safety does not totally disagree with
this but it shows how unwilling the industry really is to achieve
10.05.07 (see Enc. 3C at Item 5 para 15):
"John Richards said that Barry Sheerman
challenged Lord MacKenzie to get other organisations involved
for fundingsuch as insurance companies etc. CORGI to investigate."
In our opinion, insurance companies have always
been a red herring. The insurance companies are not interested
because property is valued more highly than people and in any
case, most people cannot even prove their cases.
10.05.07(See Enc. 3C Item 4 para 4):
"John Richards wanted to get the CO victim
support groups to sign off on key messages. Dan said that the
CO Victim support groups will be invited to join COCAA. Key messages
We hope we will have an opportunity to be consulted
on these messages. Frankly this comment just underlines how we
feel about COCAA and our membership. We are simply being used
by the industry and COCAA for their convenience. See Enc. 4 our
application to be members of the Steering Group dated 05.06.07
and again 22.06.07, which has simply been ignored.
Steering Group Minutes (see Enc. 3D)
It was stated at 2 (c) that "passwords
and user names have been sent to all members" but see (Enc.
5) Stacey Rodgers' email dated 14 June 2007 stating that she still
has not received these.
Chris Bielby from British Gas does throughout
appear to be trying to move things forward and we are glad to
have his and BG's support of our children's poster competition.
However, we would appreciate some support for this from Government
and this seems sadly lacking so far.
However, (see Enc. 3B Minutes 28.03.07 at 8
"Chris Bielby suggested that our campaign
should focus on the cause of CO poisoning; open-flued appliances.
He suggested we should be pushing for people to have CO alarms
fitted and we should target health professionals who often mistake
the symptoms of CO for the flu."
We are not against these but it must be noted
that these, servicing, replacing open flued appliances and selling
alarms will add to BG's profit. Not that we care as long as lives
are saved it is just that we want you to recognize that these
proposals are proposals that add to profit. It is such a shame
that BG has taken so long to see this. I pointed this out to BG
in 1995 but they absolutely refused to listen. It is very depressing
that it has taken over 12 years to get this far.
Russell Hamblin-Boone (see Enc. 3D 13.07.07
at Item 8 para 1) seems to be more concerned with writing to the
MPs who have signed Colin Breed's EDM to "prove why a levy
is not required":
"CO-Gas Safety campaign: CO-Gas
Safety is collecting signatures for an Early Day Motion sponsored
by Colin Breed MP to encourage the Government to place a levy
on energy retailers. Russell said we need to prepare our response
and prove why a levy is not required. This will give us the opportunity
to contact all those MPs who have signed the EDM and update them
on the work COCAA is doing. The ERA will be putting forward an
EDM close to CO Week about COCAA. Zoe said that COGDEM has purchased
email addresses of all the MPs. Zoe suggested that this could
be used to update the MPs on our work."
C. THE BACKGROUND
1. CO-Gas Safety launched at the House of
Commons in 1995. Quite quickly we realized that there was a huge
need for awareness and that funding was needed to raise awareness
of the dangers of CO. Also that a main problem was the lack of
testing of appliances by the gas emergency service. We pointed
these out to everyone and suggested a levy of "£1 per
household per year". Nothing was done.
3. Eventually Sue Slipman, who was head
of the Gas Consumers Council at the time, realized that something
had to be done and set up VIGIL in 1998, which was like COCCA.
We attended full of enthusiasm. A steering group was appointed
consisting of the industry alone. Nothing happened except time
wasting meetings. We never even received the minutes of the steering
committee and began to doubt it even met.
4. In 1999 aware that VIGIL had achieved
nothing, New VIGIL was set up. Again nothing was achieved except
lots of meetings and time wasting.
5. The HSE started its fundamental review
into gas safety. We were not invited or even allowed by HSE to
attend the first stakeholders meeting.
6. We were interviewed for this review and
the recommendations were made for a levy on the gas suppliers
(we would prefer the whole industry but the suppliers are easier
to get at) to raise awareness of the dangers of CO. Also a further
recommendation was that the gas emergency service carry and use
equipment to test appliances for CO. We were delighted.
7. Work groups were set up to implement
the recommendations. CO-Gas Safety had to spend hours on the telephone
and write at least an inch of correspondence to endlessly ask
to be part of the work groups. In the end we were given permission
by one kind civil servant, who happened to answer the telephone
late on a Friday evening. (I had called to make sure my most recent
email had been received.) The first meeting was on the following
Monday. I also achieved permission for the other group which existed
at that time to join the Work Groups. This was Carbon Monoxide
Support run by Debbie Davis. Debbie attended about two meeting
altogether, although it could have been one only, which was extremely
disappointing. She is no longer doing this work.
8. Endless meetings of the Work Groups achieved
nothing. I attended all meetings or sent a colleague on the rare
occasions that I could not attend myself. The sticking point was
always funding and the refusal by the industry to provide any.
9. The breakfast meeting, which I think
Bill Callaghan organized in 2003, (we were not asked) achieved
10. I do not see COCAA achieving anything
unless the government threatens a levy publicly and means it.
Frankly, after all this time we consider a mandatory levy is what
is required urgently. In our opinion the industry has amply demonstrated
that it has no intention of doing anything meaningful unless forced
to do so and why should it? Industry is there to look after the
bottom line, not people. Looking after people is what the government
Going over the history has made me think a good
deal about the past nearly thirteen years of running the charity
as a full time volunteer. I have experienced utter frustration
and listened to story after story of unnecessary grief and tragedy.
I have therefore listed some other issues I have had with the
HSE, which I would like you to consider seriously. Recently we
have tried to be treated as a full stakeholder in the Supply Licence
Review by Ofgem. Although in our opinion we have not succeeded
in this, we are surprised to find that Ofgem has been more approachable,
has listened and dealt with us with more consideration to safety
than HSE ever has. This strikes us as strange and we think you
should read about our experiences with the HSE (enclosed as a
separate document) because you are the Minister responsible for
HSC and HSE. We think you should consider whether or not, HSC
and HSE are "fit for purpose". In our opinion they are
Stephanie Trotter OBE (Mrs.)
President & Director
*We were only asked to become members of COCAA
after a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group
(APPGSG) when Barry Sheerman MP insisted that we be asked on the
grounds that "Stephanie and Stacey know far more about CO
than all the rest of us in this room" or words to that effect.
It is quite obvious to us that we are not welcome and while that
is not important if progress is truly being made, we doubt there
will be real progress while Government allows industry to continue
to merely talk about raising awareness while people continue to
die and become disabled for life.
Some of the problems CO-Gas Safety has experienced
throughout the 12 and a half years of trying to raise the issue
of gas safety and carbon monoxide poisoning with HSE and HSC and
leading to a conclusion that HSC and HSE are not fit for purpose.
The apparent lack of funds for HSE means that
HSE seems keen to delegate anything it can. In our opinion, this
is why CORGI is in such a mess. HSE was far too keen to delegate
its responsibility to CORGI in the first place and this resulted
in CORGI taking on a clear conflict of interest. CORGI cannot
act as a club for CORGI installers and also help an individual
who may have an argument about work done by a CORGI installer
and may have been poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO). HSE of all
bodies should see that it is not possible to in effect, act for
both prosecution and defence, yet this is what HSE has imposed
on CORGI and under the new system this will continue. Indeed HSE
has imposed a further burden on CORGI, that of raising funds from
industry to raise awareness of the dangers of CO. This industry
has shown itself to be extremely resistant to any attempts to
persuade it to provide such funds.
2. CORGI'S DILEMMA
CORGI cannot even raise these issues with HSE
for fear of not receiving the franchise, which it needs to continue
its own existence. This totally unfair to CORGI and means that
all the issues are swept under the carpet.
3. THE LACK
ABOUT CORGI AND
WHAT HSE HAS
I was told by an HSE civil servant in 2005 that
CORGI had no remit other than to register gas installers. At the
time this was the only visible duty (being in legislation) so
I believed this. However, in January 2006 at a meeting with Lord
Hunt, another civil servant from HSE started reading from what
I later found out to be (after inquires) to be the CORGI criteria
laid down by HSE. The criteria were not sent to me and were not
published on the HSE website until I insisted. We found that the
criteria lay down duties for CORGI, such as to "thoroughly
investigate a complaint by a member of the public". The most
important issue is surely safety and yet even now when, after
years of lobbying, CORGI inspectors do have and are trained to
use flue gas analysers, they do not use them to check to see if
a consumer is safe or not from CO when they "thoroughly investigate".
The inspectors only use the FGAs when they are instructed to undertake
an investigation costing around £1,500. This is merely an
example but is outrageous.
4. THE HSC GAS
It took CO-Gas Safety over three years of applications
to be appointed to the HSC Gas Safety Sub-Committee. However,
there has been no meeting of this sub-committee since we were
appointed in 2003. We have raised this issue but were told "there
is nothing happening at the moment on gas". When I stated
that this was the problem we wished to raise at the next meeting,
still there was no meeting etc. There has been no meeting of the
HSC GSSC to this date to our knowledge.
THE HSE AND
HSC AND MINISTERS
We have only ever been allowed to make a presentation
to the HSE not to the HSC or Ministers. Even this took years of
work. Eventually the HSE allowed us to make a presentation in
2000, (Les Philpott did not attend which was a great pity as he
had been in charge of gas since we started) and to the officials
group in 2007 (Les Philpott did attend this). We consider that
the Commissioners should certainly receive such presentations
once a year. Frankly it seems to us that the Commissioners are
mainly members of industry and government and merely rubber stamp
the decisions by the Executive. This seems to suit HSE but it
is not good enough because unless and until these people hear
from victims, they cannot be fully informed or engaged.
6. LACK OF
There is nobody on the Commission with any experience
of being a victim or of representing one. We have continually
drawn attention to this without any success. Consumers are equated
with victims which is ridiculous.
7. MEETING REFUSED
We could not and cannot even obtain a meeting
with Bill Callaghan, Chair of the HSC despite asking for this
in writing since 2001 and renewing it ever since (see Encl. 1letters
dated 06.09.2001 and 12.12.2001 and 21.10.2004). By 2004 we had
been lobbying for over ten years. Surely he could have seen us
at some stage?
Correspondence has been going on over this for
many years (see Enc. 2, copy letter to Ian Drummond dated 1998).
This letter states "I have been writing about the Advice
and Information for Bereaved Families for some years now".
We are not satisfied that this leaflet is being given out and
we would still like the copy changed and the bodies which can
assist families drawn to the attention of those families in writing
several times if necessary. We recently sent you a letter to Les
Philpott about this dated 20.06.07.
9. NAMES OF
We have been writing about names of the dead
for many years. We were told that they could not be given to us.
Recently we have been told that HSE does not even collect names
of the dead unless it prosecutes. What is the true position? Why
were we not told of the true position years ago? Many years ago
when Angela Eagle MP was Minister for the HSE, she was instructed
by HSE to state in Parliament that CO-Gas Safety deaths included
suicides. I wrote to HSE with all our deaths named and listed
with details and asked for information to support this allegation.
A year later I chased this up with HSE but HSE never responded.
Please find enclosed our press pack with the names of our dead
(see Enc. 3). These have been published on our website since about
2003 and we have received no comments other than good ones.
10. HSE OFFERED
In summer 2006 in a meeting, HSE offered to
buy our data of deaths and injuries for £70,000. As the data
is freely available on our website, (and if further details should
be required these can be obtained by employing our database officer
at cost), we found this offer very strange. We offered HSE our
data free so that further study might be undertaken using our
data. This offer was not taken up. HSE stated that they wanted
to give us some funding so we offered various other projects but
no funding whatever was forthcoming. Our data is our only real
asset. Why was HSE willing to pay so much for data that it can
use free anyway and then not even use it?
HSC IN 2000 IGNORED
It seems that the HSE did little or nothing
to promote the recommendations made by HSC in 2000 once the government
had dropped the Safety Bill. Surely another legislative vehicle
could have been found or pressed for? Some feeble efforts were
made to impose the levy voluntarily (namely a breakfast meeting
was organised with the suppliers) but we can find no other initiatives.
IN 2000 NOT
The HSE paper prepared for the HSC to vote on
in January 2007 failed to mention the recommendations made in
2000, namely a levy on the gas suppliers to raise awareness of
the dangers of CO and a recommendation that the gas emergency
service carry and use equipment to test appliances for CO. We
think this was misleading. It was also stated in that paper that
the recommendations made in 2000 were "largely industry focused"
see Annex 2.
CO-Gas Safety looked on HSE and HSC as allies
with regard to improving gas safety and indeed health and safety
is the job of the HSE and HSC. Even on a purely economic basis,
efforts should be made to stop these deaths and injuries (see
Encl. 3, our press pack December 2006 Press Conference at the
House of Lords. Page 25 "Cost benefit analysis"). These
vital issues have been ignored by HSE. We think HSE is still too
concerned with saving money, doing little and not concerned enough
about improving safety and saving lives. However, the impression
given to the public is that HSC and HSE looks after them. In our
opinion, this is highly misleading and the HSC and HSE are not
fit for purpose.
Stephanie Trotter, OBE, (Mrs.)
Lord McKenzie of Luton
Department for Work and Pensions 4th Floor
Thank you for the meeting last week on 25 July
with Colin Breed MP.
Thank you for taking very seriously:
1. Our concern over any research testing
people at GPs' surgeries or in A & E and how there is a danger
of a false negative for Carbon Monoxide (CO) due to time passing
and oxygen being administered.
2. Public Liability Insurance. Our concern
is that legislation is required so that the new Franchisee can
insist on PLI for all gas installers.
3. Our concern that CORGI inspectors have
and have been trained to use equipment to test appliances for
carbon monoxide, yet use this equipment only when on an investigation
costing £1,500 and not when visiting a consumer who is complaining
about a CORGI installer's work. We are grateful that you took
on board our concern that the CORGI inspector should make sure
such a consumer is safe from a leak of both natural gas and CO
by using such equipment.
4. The work done in Kirklees. We are very
pleased you will be visiting this area and hope you see both Stacey
Rodgers and Cath Rawnsley-Pemberton from the council, who have
both worked so hard. We are concerned that Cath's work may have
been discontinued due to lack of funds. This is very regrettable
because she did some excellent work and she is really committed.
It would be such a waste if she could not continue.
5. We are glad that all fuels are being considered
with regard to carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, we are very disappointed that you will
not consider the levy or even specifying an amount to be contributed
by the industry, even if some of this sum could be given back
should progress be made and deaths and injuries reduced. I am
sure you know that Ofgem has suggested this, (please find enclosed
find our response to Ofgem, relevant parts in red, which is apparently
now on the Ofgem website). We consider that unless some very clear
guidance by government is given to industry, (either an amount
to be spent or particular actions to be undertaken by a certain
time), industry will continue to prevaricate and people will continue
to die and be permanently disabled from a poison they cannot protect
themselves from because they do not even know it exists. Even
those who may know about CO do not know where it comes from or
how to prevent CO poisoning. Surely it is up to Government and
HSC/HSE to protect or at least warn people? You have great faith
in Social Corporate Responsibility, yet the CEOs of these companies
will not even see us. We well understand that the raison d'etre
of companies is to maximise profit for their shareholders. What
we cannot understand is the expectation of Government, which seems
to think companies will do the decent thing even where this could
affect their profit.
Furthermore, we ask how the franchisee can be
held to account when no amount is specified and it is the industry
which is being asked by the franchisee to provide this funding?
The industry has stated that its budgets are
committed until 08-09 yet surely even quite a large amount for
raising awareness is merely small change for such companies and
will not have to be in its budget or could be found from their
Social Corporate Responsibility budget? We have asked Ian Powney
of CORGI to look into the social corporate responsibility budgets
of the large industry players but in our opinion, neither he nor
CORGI can easily press them on this. This is surely a job for
We are glad that you and the rest of the Ministerial
Group are willing to support the second CO Awareness week -which
I am sure you are know was initiated by the victim and consumer
groups (as was the first CO Awareness week last year). Hopefully
it will be possible to have a meeting with the Ministerial Group
after the event on 15 October. However it is common for Ministers
to be called away to deal with urgent business in their own department
or in Parliament at such a time of day and we are concerned that
if this happens, the consumer and victim groups will not have
been given equal treatment compared to the industry stakeholders.
If this occurs we ask for a meeting at another time with the Ministerial
Group to ensure even handedness.
CORGI CONFLICT OF
You disagree with the conflict which we see
is at the root of CORGI and will be the foundation of the new
franchisee. How can one organisation police gas installers and
be the public's gas safety watchdog at the same time, when the
consumer could well be suing the installer? We hope that some
robust protocols can be drafted to at least reduce this conflict.
However, in our opinion it would be far better to remove the conflict
in the first place and leave CORGI free to concentrate on the
gas installers and the generalities of gas safety leaving it to
another body to represent the interests of consumers and victims.
THE CORGI TRUST
We have lobbied for years for some decent research
to find out the scale of the CO problem. A randomised survey of
a statistically significant number of UK homes would cost £1
million and in our opinion, should be undertaken as a matter of
urgency. The CORGI Trust seems to us to have had £3 million
of unrestricted funds in its published accounts in March 2006.
Surely the Trust could fund this research and undertake other
valuable awareness projects?
There is still no contact directly with the
Trust except through CORGI itself. What is the CORGI Trust doing?
In our opinion, CORGI suffers with regard to
the HSE's lack of prosecutions of illegal installers. We would
like to see this remedied as soon as possible. Some extra funding
of HSE to undertake these prosecutions would be the answer.
Letters from us dated 23.07.08
We do hope that you have had time to read these
letters. The last thing we wanted to do was to state that in our
opinion the HSC and HSE are not fit for purpose. We were very
surprised that these letters were immediately forwarded to the
civil servants concerned. We did not wish to criticise the civil
servants but we did consider that we should report to you, the
person with the responsibility for the HSC and HSE. It is our
experiences over many years which led us to this sad conclusion.
For your informationsome good news!
The Schools Poster Competition
We have (at last!) had wonderful support with
regard to this. British Gas was immediately helpful in offering
the prizes for both the children and the schools. Now we have
the support of Dominic Mansfield in the Communications Department
of Children, Schools, and Families and he has agreed to put news
of the competition out on Teachernet at the start of the Autumn
term. COCAA has agreed to pay for the judges, receiving the posters
and for the necessary PR. The Department of Health seems very
pleased with the initiative and there should be a great deal of
very cheap awareness of the dangers of CO raised by this competition.
We are putting the finishing touch to an accompanying leaflet
with illustrations drawn by an excellent cartoonist, who has suffered
from CO poisoning.