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Highways Agency delays CAT reassessments for a year


ROADS FIRMS are to be let off the annual chore of proving their worth after the Highways Agency announced that it will not be running the supplier rating process this year.

Since 2003, all firms hoping to win work with the Agency have had to undergo a thorough assessment of corporate culture before receiving a score out of 72.

But the Agency will not run the Capability Assessment Toolkit (CAT) process in the 2005/06 assessment period to give companies time to prepare for a revamped system in autumn 2006.

The revamp comes after suggestions that the process had become too easy to score well on. Last year, Halcrow and Costain were top-scoring consultant and contractor respectively, both scoring 70 out of 72.

In 2003, 63 was the top score.

The year's reprieve will be welcomed by many, as preparing submissions is time consuming and costly. Atkins dedicated 200 man days to the process in 2003 to ensure it got the top score.

It also means that Halcrow and Costain will enjoy a second year as top consultant and contractor. Costain is actively using its position as a way to market itself for Olympic work (see News page 6).

The revamped CAT will include new areas of interest refl ecting the Agency's new emphasis as road operator rather than road builder.

It will also address diversity in the workforce and include new indicators for innovation, risk management and corporate social responsibility.

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