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Capita pips CORGI to gas scheme

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that 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.

Comment on the decision by clicking on the link at the bottom of this story
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 their decision and the process was reviewed by the chief executive who made Capita the preferred bidder.”

The Executive said the main differences between the two bidders lay in their approach to areas such as new gas safety initiatives and developing efficiencies. The HSE spokesperson stressed that the new scheme would be governed much more tightly by the HSE than the previous regime.

“We think this is a great opportunity for a fresh approach. This new body will focus exclusively on gas safety increasing value for installers and consumers,” the spokesperson added.

“The new scheme will see tighter governance, incentives to improve gas safety and financial implications for not meeting certain key performance indicators.”

Do you think Capita will do a better job than CORGI? See the column to the left to vote in our poll
Speaking about the gas scheme competition before the announcement of the preferred bidder, Les Philpott, deputy director of the HSE expressed unhappiness with levels of public awareness of gas safety.

He told attendees of the recent Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractor’s conference in Leeds: “University College London surveyed a ‘snapshot’ of 597 homes in the East and South of Greater London in the summer of 2006. It found that 45 per cent had received no information on carbon monoxide risks. This amounts to a lot of ignorance after 20 years of gas safety work. The new regime will be designed to address this staggering statistic.”

He added that the new scheme would be less costly for installers, and that new funding would be sought for gas safety awareness.

“This will be on a voluntary basis,” said Mr Philpott. “But it will seek to draw more funds from the supply side of the industry. The wider gas industry is not doing enough at the moment.”

The HSE also stressed the robustness of the procurement process, which involved testing bidder’s proposals with key external stakeholders.

A HSE spokesperson said: “This has been a very thorough process which originated with the 2006 Review. Since March we’ve been engaged in a very complete, independently-chaired evaluation.”

Full details of the proposals for the new HSE scheme can be viewed here.