After confusion for our clients about whether student loan income* is categorised as public or private income with respect to ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme), Lucideon has received confirmation from the scheme’s regulator, the Environment Agency (EA), that student loans are not categorised as public funding
Most public sector organizations do not need to comply with ESOS however there is confusion about whether universities are classed as 'public sector' for the purposes of ESOS. As student loan income is not classed as public funding, universities need to consider whether the total public funding they receive amounts to more than 50% of their total funding, which would class them as 'public sector' and so exempt from ESOS. Alternatively, if the university meets certain criteria stated in Regulation 3 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 or Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (PCR) they would not be required to participate in ESOS.
If none of the above criteria are met, a university does not automatically have to comply with ESOS, however they need to assess whether they meet the standard qualification criteria, which can be found in the EA’s guidance document.
Ann-Marie Cornall, Sales Consultant, Assurance, Lucideon advises:
"We recommend that organizations should email: email@example.com with their percentage incomes and get in writing absolute confirmation from the EA whether their individual university does or does not need to comply with ESOS."
For those organizations that are required to comply, ESOS provides a number of different routes to compliance including ISO 50001 certification - click here for more information.
*student loan income refers to loans that are repayable by the student, as opposed to student grants which would be considered to be public money.