In the last few weeks, the GGF has observed further examples of misinformation around the COVID-19 situation and its impact on the home improvement sector.
Given the serious nature of this misinformation, the GGF has now raised this matter with Government who have confirmed that the examples of misinformation provided were inaccurate, incorrect and were opinion-based and not factual.
John Agnew, GGF Managing Director (pictured), commented: “It is unacceptable for anyone to be acting in this way at a time when our industry needs accurate, correct and verified information.”
By contrast, the GGF has launched a ‘first to market’ Safe Guide for Homeowners, followed by the launch of the GGF’s new Safe Guide for Home Improvement Companies, which offers comprehensive, accurate and up to date information for installers to work safely in people’s homes.
The new Guides have integrated the most recent and relevant Government Guidance on working safely in people’s homes during the COVID-19 crisis.
James Lee, GGF Director of External Affairs, said: “The GGF policy has always been to deliver high quality information that can be trusted by both trade and consumers and both guides are to the expected GGF standard.”
Both new publications have been produced in collaboration with a diverse cross section of Industry experts, GGF Members, GGF Staff and Government officials.
Just a couple of examples of the kind of misinformation the GGF has observed and has since sent to the Government for verification are listed
Example 1: ‘The government believes that tradespeople are more likely to maintain safe distancing and practises than people meeting up with their family (hence differences in restrictions)’
Example 2: ‘It is understood that the infection rate will increase’
James Lee remarked: “Both examples have appeared as ‘Government Updates’ on various online platforms, thus compelling the GGF on behalf of its members and the industry to enquire if in fact the statements were true.”
The Government (BEIS Directorate of Construction) response was ‘These points are a matter of opinion on the part of the organisation that published them. They have not been made by any organisation that is a part of HM Government nor have they been published on any Government information websites.’
James Lee added: “The second example shown, completely goes against all the Government messages and statistics that show the infection rate will in fact decrease rather than increase, due to the safety measures being taken.
“I am sure you will appreciate that the GGF as the industry’s leading trade body has a responsibility to check Government information such as this and especially around the very serious matter of COVID-19.
“During COVID-19 we have constantly engaged with Government and indeed have pressed them for greater clarification on several occasions to ensure our new Safe Guides (for companies and consumers respectively) and the many GGF press releases on COVID-19 reflect the latest Government Guidance.
“The GGF has had to seek verification of information that has come out in recent weeks that has been questionable and needing verified. The Government response and the confirmation we have received on this misinformation, is in the industry’s interest.
“We trust that like the GGF, and many in the industry, that you will treat our press releases and information in the spirit they are intended, to help the industry and homeowners through these extremely difficult times.”
John Agnew summarised: “In these difficult times, I would also advise all companies to follow the GGF and Government Guidance available, and to avoid the misinformation that is out there.
“This misinformation and misleading opinion appear to be designed to divide our industry at a time when, more than ever, we need to be united and rebuild following the devastating impact of COVID-19.
“As always, the GGF will continue to liaise with Government and work with Members and industry experts, to ensure the best possible information and guidance is made available to help companies and consumers cope through this extraordinary period.”
Both GGF Safe Guides are for all companies in the industry to use and are available for free download and viewing on the GGF website.
Glass and Glazing Federation
40 Rushworth Street
t: 0207 939 9101
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