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Industry braces for next iteration of Gas Safe Register contract

Better stakeholder engagement and an increased number of inspectors are among key amendments backed for next Gas Safe Register contract that is currently being tendered

A tender to appoint a new five year contract to manage the Gas Safe Register scheme, which is currently managed by Capita, is now underway with figures from across the industry seeing room for improvement in a number of areas.

An increasing number of inspectors and improved awareness of the overall register scheme, which lists gas engineers registered to work legally in the UK, are among some of the recommendations that stakeholders hope to see.

Although the broad scope of the contract has already been set out in the tender, some industry figures have also called for better stakeholder engagement in future, along with the potential introduction of stricter controls on how boilers can be purchased.

Among the key changes that are being considered as part of the new contract tender are the introduction of an advisory panel that is made up of the register’s membership and industry experts with the aim helping steer future initiatives through the register. This work would be supported through the use of webinars and online voting, according to the tender document.

The possible introduction of mandatory student registration has also been put forward.

Paul Hull, managing director of contractor PRHull, said he hoped that there may be greater accountability of the scheme to the HVAC sector and broader interaction with industry on how the register is managed.

This would include reviewing a current requirement that means concerns over illegal gas supply work can only be reported at present by a homeowner as opposed to a trained installer.

Mr Hull, who is also the co-founder of the Gas Safety Super Heroes campaign that seeks to improve awareness of safety issues involving boilers, said he would also back increasing the number of inspectors managing the register.

Paul Williams, a past president of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) and owner of maintenance and installation group Gwili Renewables, said installers he had spoken to felt that promises made about the previous Gas Safe Register contract have not always been delivered.

He also raised concern about a lack of prosecutions for infringement of Gas Safe requirements, principally in the case of larger companies.

Mr Williams said he was warier of how some of the proposed changes under the new agreement will be implemented, particularly the proposed changes around introducing mandatory student registration put forward under the new five-year contract. One specific concern being whether the requirements will apply to full-time students alone, or via other training being offered too.

Mr Williams added that the Gas Safe Register team faced a significant learning curve when Capita took over the contract, yet he welcomed the team’s presence at major conferences in recent years and their general level of engagement with industry.

He applauded some of the recent consumer campaigns focused on safety that the group had been running and hoped to see an expansion of this work going forward with whoever takes up the functions.

The full feature can be read on page 26 and page 27 of the March issue of H&V News. A digital edition is available here.

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