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Capita is preferred bidder for scheme

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that outsourcing firm Capita is its preferred bidder in the gas installer registration scheme tender. Current incumbent CORGI has been appointed reserve bidder.

The HSE will now go into detailed discussion with Capita with a view to finalising contracts by September. The new scheme will start in April 2009.

A HSE spokesperson said: “We’ve had a period of intense negotiation with both bidders and succeeded in getting both of them to improve their original offers. The evaluation board then made its decision and the process was reviewed by the chief executive, who made Capita the preferred bidder.”

The HSE said the main differences between the two bidders lay in their approach to areas such as gas safety initiatives and developing efficiencies. The HSE spokesperson stressed that the new scheme would be governed much more tightly than the previous regime. The HSE also said there would be financial implications should Capita not meet agreed performance indicators.

Capita released a statement to its investors responding to the announcement, which valued the contract at approximately £14 million per annum for a term of at least five years. Capita expects about 250 CORGI employees to transfer to the new scheme under the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE).

Capita chief executive Paul Pindar: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to create a new, highly targeted and effective registration scheme that will significantly reduce the administration and cost burden on registered installers. We are pleased to be able to support HSE in its pursuit of continuing to improve gas safety.”

CORGI has expressed its disappointment with the decision but said it would work to ensure a smooth transition process between scheme providers. It stressed the decision would have no disruptive impact on the day-to-day running of CORGI-registered businesses.

CORGI chief executive Mike Thompson also insisted CORGI would continue to operate. “Beyond April 2009, the CORGI group of companies will continue to provide a range of commercial services under the CORGI brand to financially support the CORGI Trust,” he said.

Initial industry reaction to the announcement was positive. Tony Brunton, chairman of the Association of Registered Gas Installers said he hoped the decision would lead to a better relationship between installers and the registration scheme provider than has existed in the past.

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors also welcomed the news but warned that new entrants to the industry should still approach CORGI. Chief executive Clive Dickin said: “We would also discourage anyone who sees this as an opportunity to leave CORGI. This change must not be an excuse for any engineer to operate illegally.”