The government is launching the second phase of its Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) in order to help local authorities and their suppliers on issues regarding timber sourcing.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is inviting interested parties to tender for the job of running phase two, which will include a telephone helpline and possibly an interactive web resource.

Until now CPET advice has been limited to a pilot helpline involving selected government departments, the Scottish Executive, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Caerphilly Council.

Defra procurement adviser Bob Andrew said: “Authorities and their suppliers can come to CPET in the event of problems on how to source legal and/or sustainable timber.”

Defra says submissons to run phase two should be received by April 15, with the helpline scheduled to be operational from the autumn.

Mr Andrew said the pilot helpline had been “really busy” since its launch last October.

The service is not expected to be extended to companies supplying the private sector, as CPET advice is designed to meet the government’s procurement criteria. Mr Andrew said private companies often had their own procurement policies which differ from that of the government.

Phase one of CPET involved an assessment of five certification schemes by ProForest. Only the Forest Stewardship Council and Canadian Standards Association were deemed to satisfy the government’s contract definition of sustainable forest management.