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As a local government officer I share Philip Kirby's view (Letters 11 January) about the time and money wasted in unnecessary duplication where health and safety prequalication is required.

The Contractor Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) is the largest of its type in the UK with more than 200 members and nearly 15,000 registered contractors and consultants and is going from strength to strength.

We have reached an important crossroads with the introduction of Gershon efficiency savings in the public sector and the introduction of the core criteria for assessment of competency in the CDM regulations, which come into force in April. Many clients now appreciate the savings from using our scheme and the past two weeks alone have seen 14 new members.

Kirby's letter criticises local government, yet the same can be said of main contractors who also use their own prequalication standards for their approved list. Many main or major contractors have acknowledged this and have joined the scheme.

John Murphy, CHAS scheme manager, john.murphy@merton. gov. uk

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