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Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 10 April, Official Report, column 395W, on Transco, whether an exemption certificate was issued to Transco by the HSE from the requirement to reassess its engineers' qualifications by the approved competency standard before 3 March 2002. [111552]

I am advised by the Health and Safety Executive that it has never issued a certificate to exempt Transco from the requirement for its engineers to be assessed or re-assessed against nationally approved competency standards.Exercising its powers under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, the HSE issued, on 1 April 2002, a certificate temporarily suspending the requirement on Transco to be registered with CORGI until such time as the new national vocational qualification, referred to in my previous answer, had been aligned with the nationally accredited certification scheme for individual gas fitting operatives. The certificate was issued in order to enable the national gas emergency service to continue without interuption, in the interests of public safety. The alignment and assessment processes were successfully completed by the certificate's expiry date of 31 October 2002.