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Downing Street to consider tender pleas

DOWNING Street policy adviser Geoffrey Norris is considering plans to help firms wading through a quagmire of qualification schemes to get on tender lists.

The Specialist Engineering Contractors Group met with Mr Norris, the Prime Minister's senior industry adviser, last week to raise problems faced by small construction companies. SEC is concerned about the effectiveness of the Government's contractor registration scheme, Constructionline, as well as the raft of separate schemes used by clients requiring membership fees from contractors.

John Nelson, SEC Group's executive secretary, said: 'We are preparing him a report on the issue, which he has promised to take a look at. There are a vast number of schemes out there which members have to join, when each of our member trade associations are running competence and qualification schemes.

'If these schemes could be recognised when public sector procurers go out to the market to get work and firms don't have to pay extra, then this would be a step forward.'