Anti-cowboy initiative has so far cost £16,891 a contractor, but has no long-term business plan.
The roll-out of the government's troubled anti-cowboy quality mark scheme has not been costed, a leaked DTI report has revealed.

It has also emerged that it has cost £2.5m so far to launch and set up pilots, despite only 148 contractors signing up – a total of £16,891.89 a contractor.

The draft DTI report, which is due to be handed to construction minister Brian Wilson this week, recommends that the quality mark is rolled out nationally.

The report, seen by Building, concedes that a long-term business plan for the scheme, including forecasts for take-up and break-even points, is yet to be developed.

It also suggests that the scheme, which is being piloted in Birmingham and Somerset, should be run by an industry shadow body, but would still need to be owned by the DTI for an initial period.

One industry leader said the scheme would cost millions to promote, on top of the £2.5m it has already cost. He added that it is still unclear who would be responsible for running it.

He said: "There also doesn't appear to be an effective business plan, which nobody would be able to get away with in the commercial world."

There isn’t an effective business plan, which nobody would be able to get away with in the commercial world

Industry leader on the findings of the quality mark review

The industry leader added that the momentum for the quality mark had been lost, and that in the long term, the government wanted to get out.

He said: "The government has got something that won't fly and it wants to cap its own financial liabilities. It doesn't want to have an open-ended chequebook. The trouble is that the industry doesn't have any money to put into it either."

The review recommends that a proportion of the DTI start-up marketing funding that has been allocated to the scheme should be shifted from marketing spend to recruitment initiatives.

According to the review, it has been suggested that the DTI and outsourcing firm Capita should submit a proposal to Constructionline, the national list of approved contractors, on developing closer links between the industry body and the quality mark.

The report adds that that quality mark would continue to be based on third-party accreditation. It says accreditation would be expanded to include other independently accredited schemes.