Meet the Partner: Gareth Duford at PQS

Our first Meet the Partner blog is with Gareth Duford, Scheme Lead at PQS. PQS is our latest partner, offering free SSIP assessments to NAS shopfitting, fit-out and interior contracting members.

Can you explain a bit more about what PQS does, and what your role is within the company?

PQS is short for Pre-Qualification-Scheme.  We are a SSIP Registered Member and provide independent pre-qualification and assessment services for businesses across all sectors.

As Scheme Lead I have a diverse role, including a focus on the development of our online software to ensure a seamless and friendly user experience when businesses apply and renew their SSIP and other approvals.

For those who may be new to the shopfitting, fit-out and interior contracting industry, can you explain what is SSIP?

SSIP is short for Safety Schemes in Procurement and the governing body. The aim is that a SSIP certificate issued by a member scheme should be accepted by others. A deem to satisfy process is adopted to ensure you do not need to be fully re-assessed if you have an in-date certificate with an SSIP partner.

This is no different to the ISO world, an ISO45001 certificate is recognised by any certification body governed by UKAS. A customer does not say, we require ISO45001, and this must be issued by XYZ Certification.

What is the benefit for NAS members to obtain SSIP through PQS?

Thanks to the NAS, the assessment process is FREE to shopfitting, fit-out and interior contracting members and will lead to SSIP approval for 12 months issued by PQS. NAS associate members can benefit from a 10% discount.

The certificate will be mutually recognised by any SSIP registered scheme.

We have a very positively received registration process and assessment process and have been praised on the clarity of the assessment criteria and practical support from the PQS team. We are looking forward to sharing these features with NAS members and ensuring they have a market leading experience.

How did you first come into the industry?

As always, accidentally, after initially providing some adhoc consultancy.

What is your favourite part about your job?

Supporting customers with pre-qualification solutions that are customer focused, often collaborating on new features, functions, and services. The positive feedback we now get from customers is particularly satisfying and testimony to the user experience and service we have worked hard to develop.

What are your biggest achievements, personally and professionally?

Personally – I’ve not long purchased an older property that’s needed a little tlc. Now that’s further along I can safely say I am proud of the progress and new skills I have learnt. It was a steep learning curve.

Professionally – It would have to be the PQS portal and the cloud based supplier/contractor management software. Both portals interact in real time, meaning successfully renewed assessments will automatically update the customers approved list. I think people often underestimate how much work and planning can go into software to ensure a positive user experience. As with any large software project, there’s a lot of unseen infrastructure to support it and I would say it is this that I am most proud of.

What’s the most helpful advice you have ever been given?

Planning + Perseverance = Success

If you’re a NAS member wanting to access your free SSIP assessment, please log into our Members Area for further details.