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Guess who's still in charge of your gas safety, Brits? Capita

Out of the frying pan into the... frying pan

Hard-pressed outsourcing biz Capita was today selected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to manage the Gas Safe Register (GSR) for five years, including overseeing the competence of engineers listed.

The five-year agreement kicks off from April Fools’ Day 2019 and is valued by London Stock Exchange-listed Capita as being worth £93m over that period.

The Gas Safe Register, as the name suggests, is the official directory of firms certified to work on boilers, cookers, fires or any gas appliance. In addition to managing this, Capita will run the rules on gas safety inspections that validate engineers, and it will promote awareness of the register and gas safety across the UK.

Capita, which has run services for HSE since 2009, claimed that in that time, 40 per cent more businesses registered with the GSR; it handled 2.8 million calls to the helpline; and it ran 40,000 inspections a year.

New areas to consider in the forthcoming contract extension include creating a shiny new digital platform for the GSR that provides an electronic register, an “enhanced” contact centre, and web and mobile apps. Inspections of gas engineers will also be stepped up.

HSE director of regulation Philip White claimed the winning bid was the “strongest on cost and quality” and he is “confident” Capita will “continue to raise the standards of gas safety”.

Cynics who have watched Capita bungle multiple contracts whether it was with Transport for London, the Co-operative Bank or with the Primary Care Services, to name a few, might not hold the same level of confidence.

Jon Lewis, Capita’s latest CEO to try to make things at the company better on the financial front, said the contract renewal showed his company’s “expertise in harnessing digital technologies”.

The new broom has so far swept out a bunch of businesses deemed non-core to Capita, including Asset Services, and is narrowing the firm’s field of vision to include software, HR services, customer management, government services and IT services.

The latest contract win follows the arrival of Pat Butcher as CFO – unsurprisingly not the Eastenders character – and the appointment of Ismail Amla as chief growth officer. ®

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