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Griffiths holds meeting to discuss alternative to Quality Mark scheme

CONSTRUCTION minister Nigel Griffiths is due to hold a crunch meeting next week to canvass industry opinion on a successor to the struggling anti-cowboy Quality Mark initiative.

Trade associations, consumer standards bodies and industry umbrella groups have mulled over a consultation paper on Quality Mark's future prepared by consultant Dan Bernard and will air their views at the DTI meeting on September 13.

Mr Bernard is understood to have drawn up a new structure for Quality Mark, which has been provisionally renamed the Building Trades Qualification Scheme, and given a brutal assessment of the scheme's performance.

Chris Sneath, chairman of the Plumbing and Heating Industry Alliance, said: 'The paper says that Quality Mark has not met expectations and there is a certain amount of realism there.'

Mr Bernard has suggested changes to Quality Mark's warranty system and placed the demands of the scheme more into line with existing trade association insurancebacked warranties to give it the critical mass of membership it needs.

Only around 600 companies have joined the scheme in the three years since its launch, but Quality Mark is a manifesto the Government could not ditch without political embarrassment.