Protecting consumers and
These notes have been prepared to assist applicants to understand the application process to join REAL and in completing the application form and the linked compliance check form. Please read these notes and the linked guidance carefully as they contain very important information.
A company that wishes to gain certification under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) must first be a member of an Office of Fair Trading approved Consumer Code such as the REAL Consumer Code (REAL). Although MCS certification covers both commercial and domestic installations, the REAL Consumer Code (Code) applies to domestic installations only. Nonetheless, installers of non-domestic installations are still obliged by MCS to join the Scheme. REAL allows them to do so at a reduced rate and provides them with access to the services offered by the Scheme.
To apply to the REAL Consumer Code you need to complete a REAL Application Form. Each application will be considered by REAL on its merits. Prospective members should however recognise that the Scheme is a quality assurance mechanism on which consumers wishing to purchase or lease small-scale energy generation systems for their homes can rely. It is therefore appropriate that applications are scrutinised carefully and where appropriate that companies that do not meet the strict criteria for membership are rejected.
Please be aware that providing any false or misleading information in any part of the application process is a disciplinary matter which is likely to result in your application being rejected or immediate expulsion from the Scheme.
Please do not ask a junior member of staff to complete the application on your behalf.
The application form firstly asks you for some general details about your company such as contact details, the systems you deal with, regions you operate in and how many employees you have working with renewables (including office staff and sales representatives).
During the application process you will also be asked to make a number of very important legal declarations. One, for example, asks you to declare that no director, manager, partner etc of your company has been involved with a company that has gone into liquidation in the past five years. If no director, manager, partner etc has been involved in a liquidated business please tick the appropriate box to indicate this.
If you are unable to make a declaration(s), for example if a director of your company was previously a director of a company that went into liquidation, then you will need to complete a hard copy application form and send this to us along with a covering letter and any supporting documentation, such as an administrator’s report. You can phone 0207 981 0850 for more information.
It is essential that you make these declarations truthfully, and that you inform us if any relevant circumstance should change.
In addition to the above declarations you will also be asked to complete a Self-Assessment Compliance Check. This is also a very important part of the application process. Please be sure to read the linked guidance here before you complete the Compliance Check.
The Compliance Check asks you to confirm that your company complies and agrees to continue to comply with key aspects of the Code. Before you can complete this section you should read the Code, prepare a set of compliant documents and make suitable arrangements to meet the Code’s requirements. The REAL website has examples (or ‘templates’) of compliant documents that you can use. Using these documents is the most effective means of ensuring compliance with the relevant sections of the Code.
Your REAL application form, including the Self-Assessment Compliance Check, will be reviewed by the membership team. We will contact you if we require any further information. Your application may be selected for spot-checking (see below). You should allow 1 month for your REAL application to be received, checked and confirmed. Please be aware that applications that are spot-checked can take longer than 1 month to handle.
REAL has discretion to determine applications for membership subject to review by the Applications Panel where appropriate. Please see the linked guidance notes on the circumstances in which REAL can refuse an application for membership of the REAL Consumer Code. . As stated above, each application will be reviewed on its merits.
The Office of Fair Trading requires REAL to spot-check a proportion of membership applications as part of a comprehensive monitoring programme to ensure full compliance with the Code.
If you are selected for spot-checking, you will be contacted by REAL, or by an independent auditor working for REAL, and asked for further details and/or supporting evidence for your application.
If REAL is minded to reject an application in line with the circumstances listed here, REAL may refer it to the independent Applications Panel. The Panel will review the application together with REAL’s recommendation that it should be rejected. More information on the Applications Panel can be found here. The Applications Panel will decide whether the applicant:
Applicants will be informed if their application is to be referred to the Applications Panel and given the choice whether they wish to proceed at this stage.
The Applications Panel process is set out here. Applicants subject to referral to the Applications Panel may first be subject to an audit by REAL’s auditors, the cost of which the Applicant may be required to meet. The cost of the audit is currently £500 exclusive of VAT and travel and subsistence costs.
The decision of the Applications Panel will be final. Applicants are not barred from re-applying as appropriate in the future though the same criteria will be applied in reviewing their application.
If you have any further questions about applying for REAL membership please contact firstname.lastname@example.org