Claire Ryan - Energy Action Ireland

Report
“ENERGISING THE COMMUNITY,
ADDRESSING DISADVANTAGE”
THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY BASED
ORGANISATIONS IN RETROFITTING
IRELAND’S HOUSING STOCK
FUEL POVERTY CONFERENCE, DUBLIN CASTLE
6 FEBRUARY 2012
OBJECTIVES OF THIS PROJECT
• To describe the achievements of Community Based
Organisations (CBO) in delivering retrofits
• To set out the value-added and benefits of a
community based approach to retrofitting
• To draw attention to the challenges and
opportunities for community organisations
operating in the retrofit market
• To make recommendations to policy makers
HOW FAR HAVE WE PROGRESSED?
• Draft paper has been prepared by consultant
(Joseph Curtin) on the basis of information provided
by all CBOs and other research
• Interim findings being considered by CBOs: it is
important to achieve a common position
• Final position paper will be circulated by the end of
March
• Presenting “interim findings” today: feedback
welcome
WHO ARE WE?
• 30 Community Organisations spread throughout Ireland
• Each has a focus on their local area
• Energy Action first CBO operating in retrofitting since
1979
• Legally distinct though similar organisations
• Common thread is “not for profit” ethos
We do not employ people to retrofit, we retrofit
to employ people in our local community.
We retrofit to tackle social disadvantage, high
unemployment levels and environmental
challenges in our area.
BENEFITS OF LOW-INCOME HOUSING
RETROFIT
“The danger of ignoring “value” that we cannot quantify”
• We reviewed the well-established case for low-income
housing retrofits:
• Average 2,129 KWh energy savings per household intervention
under the Warmer Homes scheme per annum (despite
“rebound effect”)
• 0.5 tonne CO2 per home per annum
• Government liability for benefits reduced over time
• Ancillary benefits (Affordable Energy Strategy)
• avoided bad-debt write-off; reduced cost of billing and collecting
arrears
• increased property values and economic activity
• health benefits
• many more…
UNIQUE BENEFITS OF COMMUNITY
BASED APPROACH
(1)
Local Economic activity and employment:
• Operating in most disadvantaged areas
• Creates Local employment opportunities
• Supply chain in local area-Supports the local economy and
small business
• Labour costs associated with delivering CBO retrofits will
generally come at low or perhaps no cost: (ability to
leverage funding from a range of sources and
programmes)
• Provide employment opportunities for early school leavers,
long-term unemployed, disadvantaged young people,
drug/alcohol misusers, ex-offenders, travellers, people with
a disability and carers
UNIQUE BENEFITS OF CBO APPROACH
(2)
Training for the Labour Market and Generating
Enterprise
• Numbers Trained: Approx. 2,600 trained increase in
these people’s work-readiness
• Create an Enterprise culture in local communities:
enhancing business and management skills and
creation of off-shoots
• Pride, self-confidence and dignity!
UNIQUE BENEFITS OF CBO APPROACH
(3)
Partnership in the community
• Deeply integrated/embedded into the local
neighborhoods
• Couched within a broader ecosystem of service
provision to the vulnerable in the community
• Many CBO’s deliver a range of other services including
childcare, Rural transport, Local Employment Services,
jobs clubs, afterschool supports and homework clubs for
young people in disadvantaged areas, women's refuge,
care and repair services for older people, training and
enterprise supports for long term unemployed wishing to
set up a small business
• Result: a more effective and targeted use of exchequer
funding avoiding duplication
UNIQUE BENEFITS OF CBO APPROACH
(4)
Targeting the Most Vulnerable
• Problems: lack of access to the internet, insufficient
literacy levels, low levels of confidence filling out the
necessary paperwork to access grants
• CBOs have well-established network of contacts in
their communities
• In a unique position to identify households most in
need
UNIQUE BENEFITS OF CBO APPROACH
(5)
Quality of works:
• Sometimes assumed that private contractors can
deliver a higher quality service
• CBO’s invest substantially in staff training and
development. All workers trained to FETAC level 5
• Vast experience going back many years
• Culture of not-for profit- focus on service delivery
not profit
• High quality of works reflected in auditors reports
and inspections
OPPORTUNITIES
• Rapid expansion of Warmer Homes scheme
Year
Number of Homes
2000
1430
2011
20,396
• Yet 317,000 households were still experiencing some form of
energy poverty in 2009. 80,000 householders experiencing
extreme energy poverty
• 2011 400,000 householders in receipt of state fuel allowance
• Eligibility criteria for WHS to be revised?
• Currently those living in privately owned homes built before
2006 , who receive the National Fuel Allowance qualify for
interventions under the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme
• Energy Affordability Strategy: Access to broader cross-section of
most in need?
• Entry of new potential partners into the market under Better
Energy: new partnerships?
CHALLENGES
• Better Energy Scheme Market-Orientated Approach is a good thing,
but:
• Since 2009 entry of private contractors, could CBOs be squeezed?
• Experience of Scotland
• Trend towards more technically challenging and deeper retrofits in
retrofit market.
• For CBOS utilising labour market schemes high turnover of staff
poses challenges
• Reduction in levels of funding and increased requirements
• Complying with accounting and monitoring requirements. CBO’s
have succeeded in meeting the admin and accounting
requirements so far…
• Private sector businesses have a range of supports by comparison:
“28 tax breaks, a government department with a budget of €2 billion
and a variety of support agencies ranging from County Enterprise
Boards and Enterprise Ireland to specialist agencies such as An Bord
Glas”
Social Enterprise Task Force
CHALLENGES
• Public Procurement Guidelines
• no requirement to take account of social costs
and benefits in awarding public tenders
• Increasing difficulty partnering with local
authorities
• Exchequer Funding
• Cut Backs to CE scheme
• Recruitment Embargo on CE schemes
• Qualifying criteria for places on labour market
schemes
• Stop-go nature of funding
DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS
• General Recommendations for Social Enterprises
• Establishing a Social Enterprise Unit within the Department of
Enterprise Trade and Employment
• Access to County Enterprise Boards, Enterprise Ireland, Business
Innovation Centres for business and management skills training
• Public procurement Guidelines:
• Assess applicants on both social and economic merits
• Permitted under European Union procurement rules
• Italy and the UK examples
• Partnerships with Energy Companies and other Actors
• When CBOs and private contractors wish to partner with
private actors, how can social goals be balanced with
necessity to avoid unfair competition?
• For government to resolve this tension…but how?
DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS
• Evolution of Better Energy: Warmer Homes
•
•
•
•
Sub-annual or annual budget allocation leads to stop-start activity
Lay off staff every November and cease delivery of services
Multi annual budget allocations?
Explore options of maintaining contracts with CBO’s year on year
• Evolution of Labour Activation Programmes
• 6-12 month turnover of staff: trade off between local employment V
local training
• With increasingly rapid turnover of staff and cuts to training budgets
CBOs are finding it increasingly difficult to finance training
• Participants on Tús Initiative are randomly selected by the Department
of Social Protection: makes it difficult to find “best fit” no funding for
training on this scheme
• Tailor conditions of scheme to meet the employment, training and
environmental objectives of the Better Energy Homes
DISCUSSION
Welcome feedback
THANK YOU!

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