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May 21, 2008

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Gas scheme clause to stop commercial gains

The HSE is to add a clause to the contract for the new gas installer registration scheme to prevent any new provider from using its position to take commercial advantage.

The clause — or service concession agreement — was welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), which believes it will help ensure the new provider devotes full attention to installer competency. It follows criticism of current scheme-holder, CORGI, which has been accused of selling products to consumers, and introducing schemes that take advantage of its monopoly.

An HSE spokesperson said: “In the competition for the new scheme, the HSE has already asked bidders to identify perceived and actual conflicts of interest, and how these will be managed or avoided.”

Blane Judd, chief executive and secretary of the CIPHE, told SHP: “It’s important that the organisation concentrates on its core business by ensuring that competent installers are registered, rather than looking at alternative methods of increasing revenue.”

Commenting on regime improvements it would like to see made, Judd added: “We’d like to see a risk-based approach to assessment and registration, taking into consideration the volume and quality of work that installers carry out, rather than a blanket scheme for everyone. This kind of approach will reduce costs without compromising safety.”

CORGI said it was unable to comment, owing to the ongoing bidding process. The successful bidder is expected to be announced this month.

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