The chief executive of TrustMark, the scheme launched four years ago to protect consumers against cowboy builders, has appealed to the government for more funding to keep the initiative afloat during the recession
It emerged this week that officials at the body, which was launched in 2005, told the business and enterprise department (BERR) in February that, without more funding, TrustMark would fail by the end of 2009. A statement from the body to BERR said this would be “the worst possible signal to the sector, particularly given the high-profile launch”.
The organisation is understood to be suffering from a slowdown in membership requests and consumer inquiries as the recession hits the home improvement market.
Roman Russocki, TrustMark’s chief executive, said this week that the organisation had secured a commitment from BERR to fund a marketing campaign starting next month, and that he had “every confidence that it would bring in more firms”.
The failure of TrustMark would be the worst possible signal to give the sector
However, he said: “This doesn’t mean we’re not looking for more regular funding. We are in discussions with the government about how best to support the scheme until the recession eases.”
Russocki’s comments follow this week’s relaunch of Constructionline, the contractor vetting service used by public sector and commercial clients. It is run by Capita, but is wholly government-funded. Russocki said BERR should also offer greater support to TrustMark. He said: “It doesn’t seem to be a level playing field.”
Constructionline was officially relaunched on Tuesday as part of the government’s drive to deliver £9bn annual efficiency savings in public sector procurement.