Applications Panel Guidance and Terms of Reference
Renewable Energy Consumer Code Guidance and Terms of Reference for the Applications Panel
The purpose of this Guidance and these Terms of Reference for the Applications Panel in relation to Applicants to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (Guidance) is to provide guidance to the Applications Panel on its powers and obligations in relation to Applicants to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code. This Guidance is provided in accordance with the Bye-Laws of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (Bye-Laws). Any conflict between this Guidance and the Bye-Laws shall be resolved by reference to the Bye-Laws.
Independence of the Applications Panel
Applications Panel meetings
Matters the Applications Panel shall take into account
Decisions of the Applications Panel
Please note that the definitions adopted in this Guidance are as set out in the Bye-Laws.
- The Renewable Energy Consumer Code considers applications made by Applicants on their merits in accordance with Bye-Law 3. Renewable Energy Consumer Code has published guidance for Applicants entitled “Guidance for completing the Application Form”, “Guidance for completing the Compliance Check” and “Circumstances for Refusing Membership”. These documents give further details of the process for applications, the Compliance Check and the matters which the Executive will take into account when determining an application.
- If the Executive considers that an application meets one or more of the Circumstances for Refusing Membership, it will refer the application to the Applications Panel.
- Applicants referred to the Applications Panel may be subject to an audit to be completed promptly in order that an application is not unduly delayed. If required, the audit will take place before the Applications Panel considers the application. The applicant may be required to meet the cost of the audit.
- The application may be refused where the Applications Panel considers it appropriate by taking account of all relevant circumstances. Circumstances for refusing Membership include (but are not limited to) the matters set out in the Bye-Laws and in the “Circumstances for refusing Membership”. These are any one or more of the following:
- Where the directors of the applicant or individuals associated with the applicant have previously been disqualified from acting as a company director or required to give undertakings under the Enterprise Act with reference to the applicant or another business, whether or not in a related sector.
- Where the directors of the applicant or individuals closely associated with them or it have a history of involvement with entities that have been the subject of the appointment of a receiver, liquidator, administrator, resolution for winding up, an arrangement with creditors or become insolvent.
- Where there are Court Judgments against the applicant and/or one or more directors of the applicant and/or individuals associated with the applicant.
- Where consumers have been adversely affected in the past by an applicant or individuals or other entities associated with an applicant.
- Where false or misleading declarations or statements are found to have been given on the application form or in correspondence with Renewable Energy Consumer Code.
- Where the Executive considers there is reasonable evidence to suggest that admission of the applicant would be likely to bring the Scheme into disrepute.
- Where there is evidence that an applicant is not compliant with key elements of the Code.
- The Executive may refer an application to the Applications Panel for a decision. This Policy is intended to assist the Applications Panel in determining such referrals and applications.
2. Membership and independence of the Applications Panel
- The Applications Panel shall be independent of the Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL) Board of Directors, whether executive or non-executive, and the staff employed by REAL. It shall consist of 3 independent members (who, for the avoidance of doubt, may also be members of the Supervisory Panel and/or the Non-Compliance Panel). At all times the Applications Panel shall have regard to the best interests of the Scheme and the effective implementation of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (Code) and the Bye-Laws.
- If any member sitting on the Applications Panel is aware of any conflict in his or her personal or professional position with an Applicant then that member should declare the conflict to the Executive and ask to be replaced by another individual serving as a member of the Applications Panel from time to time in relation to any discussions, meetings, hearings or decisions regarding that Applicant.
- If any Applicant raises a concern with the Executive in relation to a conflict with a member on the Applications Panel appointed in relation to them, the remaining members of the Applications Panel shall consider in all the circumstances whether a conflict arises and shall in their absolute discretion determine whether the member should be required to stand down. In such circumstances the Executive shall immediately appoint a replacement.
- In the event of an Applicant objecting to all members on the Applications Panel, the question of conflict shall be determined in the absolute discretion of a member of the Supervisory Panel, considering all the circumstances.
3. Applications Panel meetings
- The Applications Panel shall meet within 14 days of a referral by the Executive or as soon as practicable thereafter to consider the questions relating to applications by Applicants referred to it by the Executive.
- The meetings shall be quorate when attended by the 3 members of the Applications Panel. The Executive and the Applicant shall not attend or be represented at the meetings.
- In considering matters relating to applications by Applicants, the Applications Panel shall review all material referred to it by the Executive which shall include any documentation and comments received from any Applicant in relation to their application.
- The Applications Panel shall consider whether, in light of the material it has reviewed, the Applicant should be admitted to the Scheme. Guidance on decisions by the Applications Panel appears at 5 below.
4. Matters the Applications Panel shall take into account
- In reaching a decision at or following a meeting, the Applications Panel shall take into account:
- The documentation including the audit report prepared for the Executive with reference to paragraph above, if relevant, written submissions provided to it by the Executive, to include documentation submitted by the Executive and by the Applicant (if any).
- Any further discussions at the meeting.
- Each matter raised by the Executive and the Applicant shall be considered by the Applications Panel and addressed in its Decision.
- In reaching its Decision the Applications Panel shall, as set out above, have regard to the best interests of the Scheme and the effective implementation of the Code and the Bye-Laws.
5. Decisions of the Applications Panel
- The Applications Panel will decide whether the Applicant:
- should be admitted to the Scheme without conditions; or
- can be admitted to the Scheme subject to certain conditions or undertakings or to satisfactory results in an a period of intensive monitoring; or
- should not be admitted to the Scheme.
- Guidance as to the conditions which the Applications Panel may impose in respect of admission to the Scheme are set out at 5.3 below.
- The Applications Panel may, where it considers appropriate, issue certain conditions or undertakings which must be met or given by an Applicant to ensure it meets all the requirements for admission to the Scheme. Such conditions or undertakings may include matters such as the following, which are set out by way of example.
- Enhanced monitoring during a period of probation, including:
- Undergoing a further audit at the Applicant’s expense, the outcome of which is to be subject to further review by the Applications Panel.
- Successfully responding to a mystery shopping review by REAL within a given time-frame.
- Implementing amendments to advertising material, websites, training programmes or contractual documentation.
- Implementing amendments to company practice.
- An undertaking to remove a director from his office within a certain period of time, with (as appropriate) a further undertaking that the individual director in question will have no association with the Applicant in future.
- The Applications Panel should set out a reasonable time-frame within which compliance with each condition must be achieved or within which each undertaking must be given.
- The Applications Panel shall produce a written decision following the meeting. The written decision should be logical and concise and drafted by the Applications Panel itself without input from the Executive. It should be signed by each Applications Panel representative.
- The Decision should clearly set out whether the Applicant has been admitted to the Scheme. It should consider and comment upon each of the concerns or reasons for non-admission referred to it and any comments or documentation provided by the Applicant which have been taken into account in making the decision. The Decision should record any findings of fact which are essential to the Decision and the conditions or undertakings (if any) imposed on admission.
- A suggested format for the Decision is as follows:
- Summary of concerns or reasons for non-admission raised by the Executive.
- Summary of the response from the Applicant including reference to documentation.
- Essential findings of fact relevant to the Decision with careful reference to each concern or reason for non-admission raised and the Applicant’s response (if any).
- Decision with reference to each concern or reason for non-admission.
- Conditions or undertakings (if any).
- Time-frame within which any condition or undertaking imposed on an Applicant is to be met.
- The Decision of the Applications Panel shall be final. Applicants are not barred from re-applying for membership of the Scheme as appropriate in the future though the same criteria will be applied in reviewing their application.
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