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Roads firms face CAT score gamble with optional 2004 reappraisal

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ROADS CONSULTANTS and contractors are to be given the chance to 'stick or twist' with their Highways Agency supplier rating when scores are reassessed later this year, it was revealed this week.

The capability assessment toolkit (CAT) has ranked firms using 18 different criteria mainly relating to their corporate culture.

Firms are expected to resubmit self-assessments for validation on an annual basis.

However, preparing submissions for a CAT score is time consuming and costly. Top scoring consultant Atkins, for example, says it required 200 man days.

'If you add up all the time that firms have spent on this, the costs could run to several million, ' said divisional director for highways and transportation Richard Craig.

As a result the Agency has decided that for 2004 firms can opt to stick with their 2003 score or take a chance on getting a better score.

'The framework is not going to change substantially so if organisations are happy with their score they can elect to stick, ' said Agency supply chain manager Gary Wright.

'But it is unlikely as there is sure to be a big push to improve, ' he added.

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