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Atkins emerges as top cat in Highways Agency rating scheme

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ATKINS has emerged as top scoring consultant in the Highways Agency's new supplier rating system, NCE can exclusively reveal this week.

The firm is understood to have gained the highest marks in the Agency's controversial capability assessment toolkit (CAT) exercise.

Consultants are ranked by the CAT using 18 different criteria mainly relating to their corporate culture. The top five scorers have the best chance of making tender lists for work over £5M.

Under the new system the track record of firms on similar projects will in future count for just 20% of the overall rating during the shortlisting (see box).

Twenty five consultants have been assessed and scored by the Agency, but the results are officially still under wraps. However, based on our industry research, NCE has assembled a table of scores for the Top 15 roads consultants, as ranked in the NCE Consultants File.

Atkins is ranked at the top with a score of 63. Divisional director for highways and transportation Richard Craig paid tribute to the Agency's approach.

'The whole process has had a very positive effect on us as a company. The very fact that a major client is taking business excellence very seriously and saying that the better companies will get more chances to bid is very encouraging.'

KBR, Parsons Brinckerhoff and WSP are tied for second with 61. But at the other end of the scale, Halcrow, Hyder and Mott MacDonald revealed scores just 52, seriously jeopardising their chances of winning roads work.

Halcrow managing director for transportation Alasdair Coates accepted the score and said that steps have already been taken to improve performance.

'Halcrow is committed to showing continuous improvement, which will be reflected within our future CAT scores, ' said Coates. 'We are confident that in 2005, we will be recognised as one of the most improved companies, ' he said.

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