A Grimm tale

1st Apr 2019


The Brothers Grimm are associated with fairy-stories, make believe tales that fascinate children. The harsher reality is that they are actually quite scary pieces of literature. But, we sleep soundly at night because we know they are fictional.

Now let me tell you a fairy-tale, something that could never happen in the UK in the 21st Century. Imagine a Government department wants to improve energy efficiency retrofits in people’s homes and pays a body to subcontract out that work. In turn that body turns to an “expert” to write the policy. Let’s give this policy a codename and call it PAS 2035.

Now imagine for a moment PAS 2035 recommends that those overseeing these retrofits achieve a new qualification as part of the process. We all want to see standards improve. So far, what’s the problem? Nothing, that’s what makes this totally innocent fairy-tale so powerful.

Now obviously industry wants to do the right thing so it seeks out this qualification. It searches the internet and finds a course provider. They offer a range of courses, from online to in-person teaching (fees from £900 to £1500). Now the scary bit. The course is obviously good because it has been developed by the provider’s tutor, who just happens to be the very same person who wrote the PAS 2035.

Now it is perfectly possible that because this individual is so worthy, they are doing this public service entirely out of the goodness of their heart – no money is changing hands. But imagine the alternative. The technical author of PAS 2035 probably got paid for writing it (so they should have); and the same person who coincidently writes the course materials got paid for doing so (and nothing wrong with this); then the person actually delivering the course (OK, it’s the same person) gets paid for teaching it too. All for a qualification that was never needed previously.

Now, of course, this is an entirely fictional account – a fairy-story. It could never happen. No Government would allow it to happen under its watch. Because to do so would indeed by a Grimm Tale.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO