Government right to press on with roll-out despite setbacks says Capita Symond’s Richard McCarthy

The government is right to push ahead with an autumn launch of the Green Deal despite recent setbacks, former top civil servant and Capita Symonds executive director Richard McCarthy has said.

McCarthy, who as a mandarin at the Department for Communities and Local Government led development of the government’s controversial planning reforms, said the government was right to go for a “soft launch” of the Green Deal.

He told the Ecobuild conference in London: “It’s great to see civil servants and ministers say we want to get on with it rather than waiting for a ‘Big Bang’ moment.”

Fellow conference panellist Moira Wallace, permanent secretary to the minister for climate change Greg Barker, admitted “marketing” of the Green Deal would be key to its success.

Wallace said there was a danger the scheme could be hijacked by unscrupulous builders “you wouldn’t buy a second hand car from.”

But she said there was “a very large number of companies” interested in delivering the scheme.

McCarthy joined Capita Symonds as an executive director last month. He said Capita Symonds was still assessing what role it could play in the Green Deal, but will consider working in an “enabling” role or as a Green Deal assessor.

McCarthy’s intervention came amid growing concerns about the government’s plans for a “soft launch” of the Green Deal scheme, which is scheduled to be operational from October.

As Building revealed this month, the six major energy firms - EDF, Scottish Power, Southern Energy, Npower, E.ON and British Gas - have told ministers they will not be ready to deliver the payment mechanism for the Green Deal until “first quarter 2013”.

A well-placed industry source said the energy firms were pressing ministers to delay the October launch as they feared that, unless all the elements of the scheme were in place, the Green Deal could be undermined from the outset.

This week climate change minister Greg Barker said the Green Deal would launch in the “autumn” and said the government was aiming for “controlled growth”.