PRIVATE OPERATORS this week promised to treble the size of Constructionline, the government's register of approved contractors and consultants, within three years.
Capita Business Services, which has taken over the on-line directory from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, also expects to extend access to the database to over 1,000 public and private sector clients.
As part of the expansion, Capita will invest £750,000 in the system during the first year. It will overhaul the IT infrastructure, set up a national telephone helpline and expand the sales and marketing team.
Constructionline's database has information on up to 11,000 approved contractors and consultants. In the past, it has been used primarily by central government serving only 200 public sector clients.
Firms seeking to register will be judged against financial, managerial and technical criteria and on their track record. They should expect to be re-assessed financially every year and technically every two years.
Registered firms will pay £70 a year to pre-qualify automatically for projects. This will avoid repeated pre-qualification procedures currently required by public sector projects.