Blog

17th January 2017

Dear all,

I was recently interviewed on You & Yours, BBC Radio 4’s consumer affairs show – you can listen to the interview here. Whilst a daunting experience, I was delighted to appear on the show to discuss the positive changes CIGA and the wider Cavity Wall Insulation industry is making to continually improve our customer services and protect the consumer.

Whilst I faced some challenging questions, I saw this as a great opportunity to discuss industry’s robust procedures to ensure the highest standards of CWI installation. In particular, I was pleased to elaborate on the additional pre-installation checks that industry is implementing to ensure that cavity wall insulation is only ever installed in appropriate properties.

It was a pleasure to be able to represent CIGA and the wider CWI industry. I look forward to us continuing to work together in 2017.

 

20th December 2016

Dear all,

Now in my third week as CEO and having started to get my feet under the table, I thought it was the perfect time to share my first blog post with you all.

As I start to get to know the CIGA team and council, as well as our industry members and customers, I have been excited by our ambitious plans for 2017. I am relishing the challenge so far – thank you to everyone who has been so welcoming and supportive.

I’m pleased today to welcome the publication of the long-awaited Bonfield Review. It’s fantastic to see a report that does not underestimate the significance of the millions of customers who want access to the best quality and value-for-money products to drive home energy efficiency. One of my priorities as the new CIGA CEO is to ensure we continue to work for, and with, industry providing customers with the assurance in and benefits of the services we provide.

It’s inspiring to see CIGA featured as a case study in the Bonfield Review, highlighting the industry-leading role we are playing in our approach to customer service. The report highlights some of the most significant improvements we have made to date through our Change Programme, including; the recruitment of our Consumer Champion, publishing of our first Annual Review and Guide to Best Practice, as well as committing to regularly publishing data around our customer service progress.

The report recommends the need for ADR, Consumer Charter Codes of Practice and Standards and a Code of Conduct – areas of significant and growing experience for us. I know we would feel privileged to share our learnings.

The Bonfield Review is an important first step. Looking ahead to 2017, this report will provide CIGA with the impetus to continue our Change Programme. More widely, I am eager for CIGA to play a leading role in bringing the report’s recommendations to life.

I know that as CIGA continues to work closely with industry partners and customers, together, we can ensure that cavity wall insulation continues to be a product that keeps energy bills down and ensures millions of households stay warm and dry, especially over the festive period.  I look forward to working with you all in 2017 and beyond.

Have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year.

Best wishes,

Nigel Donohue, CEO CIGA

CIGA’s quarterly stats round 3

22nd September 2016
CIGA is extremely committed to being open and transparent, and as part of that commitment we have recently published our quarterly stats for Q2 2016. This is the third round of quarterly stats released since the launch of our Consumer Champion Review and they provide a clear outline of the number and nature of complaints received in the second quarter of 2016.

As with earlier years, the number of complaints received in Q2 2016 has halved compared with the prior three month period. The figures however, continue to reflect the collapse of a number of installers in the previous year, including Mark Group. As one of the UK’s largest installers of cavity wall insulation, Mark Group made up approximately one quarter of the industry and accounted for 15 per cent of guarantees issued since 1995. Its collapse therefore presented a strong challenge to the industry in general and CIGA in particular.

And, I believe CIGA has risen to this challenge.

Over recent months CIGA has and will continue to provide much needed support to Mark Group’s, and other installers’, customers by providing access to assistance and advice where needed. We have also been proactively contacting any affected customers so that on the rare occasion that something goes wrong, they can feel assured that CIGA is there to support them.

The steps CIGA has taken to meet the challenge of Mark Group’s collapse, such as writing to their customers informing them of CIGA’s support, and hiring additional staff in our customer services team, means that we have accomodated the additional workload whilst continuing to focus on introducing further improvements in customer service.

What’s more, whilst the number of referrals are still small, the implementation of an independent ADR provider as well as the adoption of the remaining Consumer Champion recommendations, makes me confident that CIGA is well placed to offer its customers the care that they deserve.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Celebrating a Year of change

30th June 2016

It has been an eventful year for CIGA and the publication of our second Annual Review is testament to the comprehensive programme of change undergone by the organisation over the last twelve months.

In early 2015 we recognised that both CIGA’s and the industry’s customer services was not up to scratch. In order to address this, the organisation has embarked upon a process of reform to improve the quality of service received by our customers.

This programme of change has seen us overhaul our customer services and improve transparency within the organisation and the industry as a whole.

So what exactly have we done?

The last year has seen CIGA appoint an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider, implement a CRM system and hiring three new customer service agents to improve the capability of its customer service team. Additionally, CIGA has adopted an enhanced performance standard to resolve 80% of cases within 20 working days as well as appointing three new non-executive directors in a bid to expand the breadth and expertise of its board.

We made these reforms following recommendations from our Consumer Champion Teresa Perchard, who conducted a root-and-branch audit of our customer services.

I am delighted to say that the changes we have made are already having an impact, with customer satisfaction improving on last year. A recent telephone survey, included in the Annual Review, revealed that 76% of customers agreed that CIGA was happy to help them solve their problem and 60% felt  confident that their case would be successfully resolved.

Having led the organisation through its recent reforms and driven improvements across the board, I have also announced that I will be standing down as CEO to focus on the commercial aspects of the Agency.

CIGA is committed to placing the consumer at the core of everything we do and that is why it is important that we embed and build upon the structural changes I have introduced. With this in mind, CIGA will be appointing a new CEO who has specialist customer service know-how to take the reins.

I am hugely proud of the progress CIGA has made and look forward to continuing to support the organisation as it goes from strength to strength.

Gerry Miller

 

Three New Non Executive Directors join CIGA’s board

3rd May 2016

I am delighted to announce that CIGA has appointed three new non-executive directors to join its board. The appointment follows our promise to expand the diversity of our board, outlined by Consumer Champion Teresa Perchard in her recent review.

Following a competitive hiring process, with more than 70 candidates, we have offered the new positions to Peter Baynham, Brian Yates and Michael Kaltz, each of which has accepted.

The three individuals bring to the table an understanding of finance, consumer protection, dispute resolution and housing. They also boast prior non-executive experience and will widen the breadth of CIGA’s board.

Let me elaborate a little on each:

Peter Baynham has previously worked as a partner in an international consultancy and is now a non-executive director and chartered accountant. He has a wide range of business experience in executive and non-executive roles including chair of a number of audit and risk committees.

Brian Yates brings with him over 30 years of experience in consumer care and dispute resolution, having previously chaired the board of the Consumer’s Association Which?. He now works in the field of professional regulation.

Michael Kaltz joins CIGA following a four-year term as a Public Appointments Assessor in the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. He has spent a large part of his career as a Partner in Ernst and Young and has held a mix of UK and international management and client-facing roles.

The appointments are designed to expand the diversity of the governance team and increase the board’s experience and independence.
As non-execs, all three successful candidates will take on a range of responsibilities, from attending frequent board meetings and participating in the work of the Finance and Marketing committees, to providing an independent and impartial voice to decisions by the board.

The appointment of Peter, Brian and Michael brings the total number of non-execs within CIGA’s board to four, including Consumer Champion Teresa Perchard. All four will work alongside the rest of the team, which is made up of five founding members and five annually elected individuals from CIGA’s membership.

The appointment of three new non-execs is a significant step towards both improving CIGA’s transparency and providing its board with a breadth of expertise and knowledge. This will ensure CIGA operates to the highest standard possible and is constantly improving to support and protect customers.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

CIGA’s quarterly stats round 2

25th April 2016

In keeping with our commitment to be open and transparent, we have today published our quarterly stats for Q1 2016. This is the second round of quarterly stats to be published following the launch of our Consumer Champion Review.

Today’s figures show that the number of complaints CIGA received in Q1 2016 was higher than the previous three month period. This was largely due to the collapse of Mark Group in October last year. One third of all claims in the period relate to Mark Group.

As one of the UK’s largest installers of cavity wall insulation, prior to it’s collapse Mark Group made up approximately one quarter of the industry and accounted for 15 per cent of guarantees issued since 1995.

CIGA was set up for this very eventuality and had we not existed, all those households affected by the administration of Mark Group would find themselves without access to the cavity wall insulation assistance and advice usually provided by the installer. Given the size of Mark Group, we fully expect the increased level of complaints to continue into Q2 and beyond. If it does, CIGA is at hand to help their former customers.

A number of additional smaller installers also ceased to trade in this period, including ICU, KNW, Viscount and Tameside. Although none were of the same scale as Mark Group, this will also have had an impact.

In taking on this challenge we have taken a number of steps to ensure we have the capability and capacity to deal with the increased volume of complaints. We have formally written to all Mark Group customers to inform them that CIGA is on hand to support them in the event that they need it. We have also hired additional staff in our customer services team, including a new Technical Inspector, and our newly installed CRM system will guarantee that all complaints are dealt with in a thorough and timely manner.

The spike in complaints should also be lightly attributed to the extreme weather conditions of Q1, with the 2016 winter the wettest on record for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the second wettest for the UK as a whole, according to the Met Office.

I am confident that steps CIGA has taken over recent months to enhance its customer services, through implementing the recommendations of the Consumer Champion Review, as well as additional action, will allow us to step into the breach left by Mark Group and protect effected consumers.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Making an Appointment

14th April 2016

To ensure that we offer our customers the highest quality customer care, the past couple of months has seen CIGA busy selecting a provider to appoint to deliver our new independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme to consider disputes under the Guarantee.

The service came into effect on April 1 and is part of CIGA’s push to improve the arbitration process by making it more transparent and in line with the evolving regulatory requirements.

When it comes to resolving issues relating to cavity wall insulation, I understand that the process is not always clear-cut. This appointment of an independent ADR provider means that in those rare occasions where there is a dispute, customers can feel safe in the knowledge that a clear path to resolution is available, should they need it.

The appointment will also ensure that consumers have the utmost confidence that their concerns will be investigated and resolved in a thorough and prompt manner.

I am therefore delighted to be able to announce that I have appointed the “Centre for Excellence in Dispute Resolution” (CEDR), a specialist provider, to take on cases where customers are not happy with the resolution of their concerns by CIGA or Member Installers. This decision follows a rigorous selection process and CEDR are a Trading Standards Institute approved ADR body.

I am very pleased to have them on board as CIGA’s designated ADR provider, and the appointment brings CIGA another big step closer to adopting all the recommendations set out by our Consumer Champion, Teresa Perchard, in her Review published in December 2015. The Review was designed to develop CIGA’s customer services and is part of CIGA’s wider efforts to improve the experience of consumers who contact the organisation or member installers to report a problem with their cavity wall insulation.

In addition to covering disputes that relate to cavity wall insulation under the Guarantee, the new scheme will also provide customers access to ad hoc dispute resolution for cases not related to the Guarantee or cavity wall insulation.

Today’s announcement stands us in good stead to meet our promise to implement all the Consumer Champion Recommendations in full by April 2016. With April upon us, we’re pushing harder than ever and I am confident that we will stick to target.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Honesty, Efficiency and Transparency

1st March 2016

Just two months into 2016 and CIGA is already well on its way to meeting its promise to implement all the recommendations of the Consumer Champion Review in full by April 2016. We have now put the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure we achieve our enhanced performance standard, to resolve 80% of cases within 20 working days.

Today I can announce that CIGA has procured a new CRM system and has recruited additional staff including a further technical inspector, taking the total number to 5 officials involved in this area, in a move to deliver on its new performance target.

The newly adopted target comes as part of CIGA’s push to improve its performance standards to ensure the highest quality of customer care.

We haven’t stopped there however. In addition to the enhanced performance standards, CIGA has also published a newly developed company vision and corporate values. These place transparency and customer care at the heart of all that CIGA does.

The review, which was conducted by an independent consumer champion, Teresa Perchard,  took place as part of wider efforts by CIGA – known as the Change Programme – to improve the experience of consumers who contact the organisation to report a problem with their cavity wall insulation.

With only two months until the April deadline however, we are pressing on to make sure all recommendations are met promptly. Following our search for a number of new non-executive directors to enable us to further enhance the independence of CIGA, we’ve had a strong response to the announcement. The deadline for applications is now closed and shortlisted candidates are soon to be interviewed with a view to making a decision no later than April.

Today’s announcement follows the recent publication of CIGA’s new Guide to Best Practice as well as the scheme rules, which we released last month. January also saw CIGA issue the first of an ongoing series of quarterly statistics that clearly outline the number and nature of complaints received in Quarter 4 of 2015.

Huge steps have been made and CIGA is now well on track to implement all recommendations by the April deadline, to coincide with the publication of its next annual review. Over the next three months CIGA will have implemented the following:

  • Issuing a tender for the provision of independent Alternative Dispute Resolution, and establishing clear limits and trigger events before a case is referred
  • Expanding diversity on the CIGA board by recruiting two professionals as non-executive directors
  • Developing and implementing a vulnerable person policy based on business best practice

The steps CIGA has taken to date will make a real difference to ensure that consumers are always supported. We aren’t about to stop however and over the coming months we’ll be focusing our efforts to implement the remaining recommendations outlined in the Consumer Champion Review. With a lot to do in just two months, we best get going!

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Strong steps

 29 January 2015

It’s just over a month now since CIGA published its Consumer Champion Review and in that time we have been busy taking steps to implement the first round of recommendations outlined within the Review.

The review, which was conducted by an independent consumer champion, Teresa Perchard,  took place as part of wider efforts by CIGA – known as the Change Programme – to improve the experience of consumers who contact the organisation to report a problem with their cavity wall insulation.

As January draws to a close, CIGA has delivered on its promise to implement the initial recommendations specified in the Review.

If you turn to the jobs pages of the Sunday Times this weekend you’ll spot that CIGA is looking to recruit a number of new non-executive directors to enable us to further enhance the independence of CIGA, and ensure that the consumer is the organisations top priority.

A new Guide to Best Practice in complaint handling  as well as all scheme rules are now readily available on our website, so anyone can clearly access the requirements that a member company must meet. By publishing these documents we are helping to empower customers seeking information on cavity wall insulation and making it easier than ever for them to access the details they need.

We have also published our first set of quarterly statistic that clearly outline the number and nature of complaints received. The first of this series is available here.

We’ve made great progress already, but we’re not resting on our laurels. CIGA is now turning its sights to the remainder of the Review’s recommendations, which we have committed to delivering no later than April 2016, to coincide with our next annual report.

Over the next three months, we will achieve the following:

  • Adopt targets to resolve 80% of cases for which CIGA is responsible within 20 working days, down from two months previously
  • Issue a tender for the provision of independent Alternative Dispute Resolution, and establish clear limits and trigger events before a case is referred
  • Expand diversity on the CIGA board by recruiting two professionals as non-executive directors
  • Develop and implement a vulnerable person policy based on business best practice

CIGA is committed to offering consumers support when things do go wrong and the steps we have taken so far will help ensure that this is always the case.

In a continuing push to make the organisation more responsive to customers, improve transparency and ensure that no consumer feels let down, we will now concentrate our energies on delivering the remainder of the Consumer Champion’s recommendations by April, so watch this space.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Championing reform!

 10 December 2015

Today CIGA has published its long-awaited Consumer Champion Review and I am delighted to announce that we have accepted all of the recommendations detailed in the Review, made by Consumer Champion, Teresa Perchard.

The Review comes as a direct response to the recognition that when it comes to CIGA and the cavity wall industry’s customer services, we can do better.

With this in mind, as well as promising to instigate all recommendations, CIGA will honour its commitment to its customers and take steps to hire an independent Alternative Dispute Resolution provider to settle customer complaints.

Over the course of the year, Teresa has gone to great efforts to collate the views from a wide range of groups involved with the industry, including individuals, consumer groups, policy makers and installers.

The Review aimed to shed light on what CIGA and the industry do well, what we do badly and how we can improve the experience for customers who contacted us.

At the beginning of this year I recognised that both CIGA and the industry’s customer service practices were not up to scratch. So I launched the Change Programme, which has seen us publish our first ever annual report, improve information on our website, hire a Head of Customer Service and launch a ‘Call Back Pledge’.

The appointment of a Consumer Champion was the most important part of the Programme.

So where do we go from here? Teresa has endorsed the Change Programme and now it is up to us to complete it.

Come January 2016, CIGA plans to publish its Guide to Best Practice in complaint handling as well as publishing all scheme rules so anyone can clearly see all the requirements that a member company must meet. We will also produce the first of an ongoing series of quarterly statistics on the number and nature of complaints CIGA receives.

The remaining recommendations will then be implemented by April 2016, to coincide with the publication of our next annual report.

The process has shone the spotlight on CIGA like never before and although at times the process has been uncomfortable, I am confident that Teresa’s efforts will lead to a much improved consumer journey.

CIGA exists to support consumers when things do go wrong, and today’s Review sets out a clear plan to fulfil that remit to the best of our ability.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Are you being served?

 2 November 2015

I am delighted to announce that Ola Taiwo is to become the latest addition to our team, as CIGA appoints its new Head of Customer Service.

Ola brings to the table over 10 years’ experience in customer services. His numerous previous roles driving customer service for high calibre organisations – combined with impressive drive and enthusiasm – immediately set him apart from the other candidates. We are delighted to have him on board.

Over the past 12 months, CIGA has been pushing through an ambitious programme of change aimed at improving how we work for consumers. In April this year, we were fortunate enough to welcome Teresa to the team to lead an independent review into our claims handling process.

Now as part of his new role, Ola will be responsible for building on and complementing Teresa’s hard work, bolstering how the organisation works for consumers. He will also be ensuring that our customers continue to receive the highest quality of service and that queries concerning cavity wall insulation are dealt with in a responsive and effective manner.

I know that Ola will have some great ideas and I look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead in putting them to work at CIGA.

Because we know that the job is not finished. We have made significant progress since the beginning of 2015 – publishing our first ever Annual Report, setting ourselves ambitious targets for improvement, investing in our frontline responders, hiring and supporting Teresa in her work.

Now, with Ola joining too, momentum continues to build and I am confident that we are going into 2016 with an even more ambitious vision of how CIGA should work for its guarantee holders.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Our guarantee

15 October 2015

On 7th October, Mark Group announced they had entered into administration with the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs.

For the former employees and their families, it was desperately sad news. I hope that they all find the support and help they need from the local community at what must be a difficult and uncertain time.

From the point of view of the wider insulation industry, it was troubling to see a long-established company forced to shut their doors and cease trading. It’s another sign of the challenging energy efficiency environment we’re operating in.

But for consumers, the silver lining to an otherwise bleak situation is that CIGA was set up with exactly this sort of eventuality in mind. And since our establishment, we have stepped in to help CIGA Guarantee holders whenever a member has gone out of business.

CIGA’s job is to help consumers on the rare occasion that there is a problem caused by workmanship or materials where the original installer member is unable to do so.

So for CIGA guarantee holders, know that nothing has changed: your CIGA guarantee protected you before and it protects you now.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Radio interference

26 June 2015

This Wednesday I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme with the intention of highlighting the launch of our Consumer Champion Review and to encourage as many people as possible to engage in the process. CIGA is eager to hear a wide range of views as to how customer service across the sector can be improved.

Yesterday’s interview has convinced me more than ever that our Consumer Champion, and the public Review she is conducting, are absolutely necessary and right.

Cavity wall insulation saves consumers considerable sums on their energy bills every year, keeps homes warm, and is vital part of the fight back against fuel poverty. It is a very reliable product with fewer than 2 in a thousand installations resulting in a concern being reported to CIGA.

However we are aware that, on occasions, the service that customers have received from CIGA and the industry has simply not been up to scratch.

Change is needed and more must be done to ensure that every consumer gets the service they deserve. As an industry we must make sure consumers are aware of the benefits of cavity wall insulation, and are confident that they will be supported properly on the rare occasions where things go wrong.

This was the reasoning behind the Consumer Champion Review and the raft of recent changes CIGA has made to increase transparency and improve customer service across the industry.

We, as an industry, must work hard to earn public trust and commit fully to a new era of improved customer service. If we do, I am absolutely certain that consumers will benefit greatly, and that misinformation about cavity wall insulation will rapidly dissolve.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

Reviewing the situation

22nd June 2015

Teresa Perchard, our recently appointed Consumer Champion, will today launch an industrywide review into the quality of customer service provided both by CIGA, and the industry as a whole.

It’s an exciting, unprecedented development for CIGA that, like other recent changes, reflects our ongoing commitment as the leading established Guarantee body to improving the way in which the insulation industry deals with consumer concerns.

Since coming on board, Teresa has been working tirelessly for consumers and from the onset was adamant that the review would provide invaluable insight and should be published.

I was clear from the start that I wanted the Consumer Champion role to be one of independent tenacity and believe this wide-ranging review will provide us with an excellent opportunity to take stock and delve into areas in which we can do better.

For the Consumer Champion Review to achieve all it is setting out to achieve, we’re asking for views and submissions from a wide range of people and organisations. MPs, industry experts, consumer bodies, anyone who’s interested in having their say on how CIGA and the industry can improve their customer service. The more voices and views we hear, the more evidence we’ll have to base our future direction on.

Once she has collected all the responses, Teresa will be working on a report to be published in November this year, aiming to provide a set of concrete recommendations on how CIGA and the industry can improve.

I know how important customer service is. The Consumer Champion Review is part of a wider programme implemented by CIGA to improve transparency and make the organisation more responsive to consumers.

We want to do our utmost to support public trust in cavity wall insulation. The industry must be totally transparent about how it deals with consumers when there is a problem. When customers choose to have cavity wall insulation installed, they need to be confident in the service they’ll receive from everyone involved: from assessors and installers to CIGA itself.

I look forward to a constructive and strong response to the consultation, and the final report which will be published and made publicly available later this year.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

Anyone wishing to contribute to the consultation can do so here:

 

Progress to report

CIGA today is embarking on a first for the agency and for the industry. We have published and presented our first ever publically available Annual Report.

The Annual Report is our way of opening the door to the inside working of CIGA and the cavity insulation industry. We want to be totally transparent. We’re shedding light on the facts and information that underlines our confidence in cavity wall insulation in the hope of sharing our confidence with the public.

In the report, we set out a range of information and statistics, relating to both CIGA and the wider industry. I’m confident that since our establishment in 1995 CIGA has performed well and cavity insulation has been of great benefit to the nation. I’m also confident that publishing this document will allow us to back that up.

Firstly, we’ve published the full details of our abbreviated financial accounts. We’ve always had our financial position regularly audited but we took the decision that it is important to publically demonstrate to consumers that if they ever make a claim against their guarantee we’ll always have the financial resources to see it through to resolution. We take our role as a guarantor very seriously, and that trust is central to our reasoning for the report.

Another first in the report is profiling all the members of our non-executive governing Council. I am proud of the vast experience and expertise CIGA has at its disposal through its Council – expertise that works directly for consumers – and I think it is important that we are clear and specific about that.

Perhaps most importantly, we’ve provided an informative analysis of cavity insulation’s performance across the UK. CIGA has a vast database and we’ve used the information from that to set out in clear terms just how reliable cavity wall insulation is – demonstrating for example that problems occur in cavity insulation installations in only two in every thousand cases. That’s going to be a great reassurance to any consumers who are unsure about cavity wall insulation.

We’ve also shone some light onto how CIGA as an organisation has performed. We commissioned a piece of research into customers’ experiences with us and how well they think we did dealing with their claim. On this, I’m clear that the results we got back are far from perfect. But what that means is that the need for strong commitments to improve is even greater and with that in mind, we’ve committed to specific and ambitious targets on improving our customer service.

The Annual Report also gave us an opportunity to provide a platform for our new Consumer Champion, Teresa Perchard. As I’ve written before, we’re absolutely committed to ensuring her role has real powers and really works. Her comments in the Annual Report will show that she shares that goal.

This Annual Report demonstrates our absolute commitment to transparency. We’ll be publishing the report every year from hereon; this isn’t a fleeting change but a sign of a meaningful shift in our approach. We know that sometimes this might mean highlighting instances in which we or installers have fallen short of our responsibilities.

But it will also make clear that the measures we’ve put in place are driving meaningful change and addressing any shortcomings. I take great pride in the work we are doing to improve our service to consumers, our ability to hold industry to account, and our transparency. This report is testament to that body of work.

The CIGA 2014 Annual Report is available in full here .

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

Another Step Forward

30th April 2015

Our search for a new member of the CIGA team has been a success. Today we welcome Teresa Perchard to CIGA as the organisation’s first ever Consumer Champion.

Teresa brings with her more than 25 years’ experience as a consumer advocate in a range of senior roles and high-profile organisations, most recently as an Executive Director for Citizens Advice. She has the calibre, the drive, the experience and the enthusiasm we were looking for in a successful candidate.

In March we started our search for the right person for the newly created role. We had hoped from the beginning to attract high-calibre applicants but none of us were prepared for the fantastic standard and volume of CVs we received.

Nor could we have hoped to have had such a knowledgeable figure as Baroness Hayter helping us make the hire. Baroness Hayter is not only a highly respected politician and parliamentarian – former Chair of the Labour Party National Executive Committee and current Labour Spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills – but also a highly experienced consumer champion herself. Her direct input into the process was invaluable.

Now, with Teresa on board, we are more confident than ever in driving through changes to our organisation and the wider industry that will benefit consumers most.

Because, as I’ve written before, we know that change is needed. Even a handful of consumers feeling they have been let down is too many, and it’s up to us to put the situation right.

Teresa is going to be front and centre in that process and we want to help her hit the ground running.

We have some ideas of our own about what the first weeks and months in the role for Teresa might look like. We’re in the process of putting together our first ever publically available Annual Report and we’ve put aside a section for her to pen personally – we want consumers to benefit from her own honest assessment of the situation as it is and what she thinks is the way forwards. Transparency is top of the agenda.

But importantly we also want this to be a role shaped by Teresa herself. She has fantastic experience from her previous roles and we’re excited to hear her ideas on what will work best.

She’s going to have unfettered access to not only our records and data, but stakeholders from member companies and the non-executive Directors who make up our board. Her first task will be taking a close look at these and working out what needs to be done.

Importantly, we also want Teresa to be a consumer voice at the heart of CIGA. She’ll be tasked with listening to consumers, and ensuring their point of view is heard by CIGA and the industry. Not only will she sit on CIGA’s governing council, alongside our non-executive directors, but she’ll have the power to initiate disciplinary proceedings against installers where she thinks necessary.

When we created the role we designed it to have real teeth and real powers. Now with Teresa on board, we’re convinced we’ve found the right person to use the tools we’ve put at her disposal to secure the best outcome for consumers.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

 

A Call to Action

8th April 2015

Today, I’m proud to be announcing CIGA’s “Call Back Pledge”.

This is a commitment to every consumer that when CIGA puts them in touch with their installer to have their problem fixed we’ll still get back in touch proactively and make sure everything is getting done as it should.

CIGA was set up in 1995 with a specific task in mind – to protect members of the public when they have cavity insulation put in their home.

Thankfully, cavity wall insulation is an extremely reliable technology. We’ve issued close to six million guarantees, and only two in a thousand have resulted in a claim.

We’ve helped more than 2,000 homeowners and residents who have made a claim by sending out a CIGA contractor to carry out work on their home.

But there’s a bigger number who, through the CIGA Guarantee, have had their cavity insulation fixed by companies in the industry. This is always the first port of call when someone has a problem and most of the time it works well.

The consumer contacts CIGA, CIGA contacts the installer, and the installer puts things right.

But there are a number of cases where the process hasn’t worked. Consumers who have been put in touch with their installers haven’t had the service they deserve. They’ve felt let down and their trust in the whole industry has been dented.

And while the number of cases like that is very small, at CIGA, they are our focus and our priority. For us and the industry, consumers being let down is not good enough.

That’s why we’re making this pledge.

To make sure that no consumer “slips through the cracks” CIGA is committing to get back in touch with all consumers who have been passed back to their installers after two months. When we get in touch, we will check that the work is getting done and the customer is happy.

If they’re not, then we’ll step in. If we judge that an installer hasn’t lived up to their responsibilities, we’ll demand that action is taken.

And if there is still no resolution we’ve got the power to hold the senior executive team to account and in extreme cases put in place disciplinary proceedings.

This is a pledge that’s going to have an immediate impact, helping protect consumers and holding the industry to account where there have been failings.

It is part of a wider set of measures we’re putting in place at the moment – the hiring of our Consumer Champion is continuing apace – that together will bolster the service we provide to consumers and provide them with an added layer of protection.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA

A Champion Idea

11th March 2015

Last weekend, CIGA began its search for a Consumer Champion to help ensure that we are always providing the very best service to our guarantee holders. Once hired, this individual will help improve our independence and transparency as well as hold CIGA and the industry to account if we collectively fail to provide the service that customers deserve.

This is an important step for CIGA.

As the largest provider of guarantees for cavity insulation in the UK, we understand that consumer confidence is vital.

Thankfully, the controls that are in place and guidance that CIGA publishes means that cavity wall insulation is a fantastically reliable and beneficial technology that has helped create millions of warm homes in the UK.

It rarely fails – problems occur in only two in every thousand installations – and it reduces energy bills and carbon emissions. Cavity wall insulation works well and it works often.

On the rare occasion that a household does have a problem with their cavity wall insulation – that’s where CIGA steps in. We’ll either work with the installer to get the problem fixed or do it ourselves if that isn’t possible.

Most of the time, customers are happy with their service. Their problems get sorted and they can focus on the things that matter to them.

But I am acutely aware that that CIGA, and cavity wall insulation, has been under some scrutiny over the past few months.

A debate in Parliament on potential problems with cavity wall insulation and some challenging pieces in the media have focused the industry’s mind and brought home the importance of always striving to provide the best service to customers we can.

And that’s why we’ve created this new role.

So how will an independent Consumer Champion help?

The Consumer Champion will act as a go-between for consumers, CIGA and installers, making sure customers’ voices are heard at the very top of the organisation.

If consumers are unhappy with CIGA, the Consumer Champion will be there to listen and take action – setting up a mediation process for example for cases that are taking too long and asking the difficult questions.

And where the Consumer Champion thinks there have been failings by member installers, they’ll have the power to recommend that disciplinary proceedings are taken against the offender.

Within CIGA they’ll have influence too. The Consumer Champion will have direct input into the board – publishing statistics on CIGA’s performance in the Annual Report and attending four board meetings per year.

To keep everyone up to date on what they’ve been working on the Consumer Champion will provide regular updates on this blog, so you can keep track of everything that is going on.

I take great pride in the good job CIGA already does in protecting consumers in most cases. My hope is that this individual, when we find them, will help us to provide the same service to all customers.

Gerry Miller, CEO, CIGA