CITB responds to industry and government calls for reform

Sarah Beale
Sarah Beale

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has revealed it fully supports the conclusions of a recently-published independent review of the training body and has outlined a new agenda for change in response to calls for reform.

The Industrial Training Board (ITB) Review, an independent process led by Paul Morrell working with three industry departments, concluded that while the CITB’s levy-raising powers is still the right model for the construction industry, reform and improvement are needed.

Building Support: the review of the industry training boards sets out a series of reforms, including making the CITB board more representative of the small businesses that make up the vast majority of employers in the sector.

The report stated that the effectiveness of ITBs must be judged by whether firms can recruit, retain and develop people with the skills and knowledge they need.

Following the publication, the CITB has set out its Agenda for Change, a six-point plan for reform throughout 2018. It includes a commitment to be more accountable, representative and responsive to industry’s needs.

Following the ITB Review, the UK government will:

  • Encourage the ITBs to adopt a set of principles, including open decision making, and a focus on delivery only where there is market failure or the need for collective action
  • Appoint to the CITB Board people with direct experience of small business, and a new CITB Chair when James Wates steps down from the role as planned next year
  • Set out a process for regular reviews of the scope of the ITBs. This will allow industry to make sure that CITB’s work reflects changing developments in the sector.

  • Directly addressing the recommendations stated in the ITB Review, the CITB has committed to:

    • Becoming a streamlined organisation focusing on the areas where it is best placed to make a difference in the areas of careers, standards and qualifications, and training and development
    • Renewed governance, increased transparency on outcomes, and greater accountability regarding their achievement. This will include increased representation of smaller firms in CITB’s governance and much greater engagement with key decision-makers in our industry

    • An effective, sustainable business model with the emphasis on influencing, partnering, funding and commissioning, and directly delivering only by exception
    • Better value for levy payers, with a reformed Levy-in, Skills-Out grants scheme
    • A greater focus on supporting construction to modernise and boost productivity, working closely with the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) on skills needed to deliver the sector
    • Restructure the CITB Council and National Committees, starting early in 2018

    • Establish a new, cross-sector group, reporting to ministers and the CLC, to provide leadership on apprenticeships for the construction industry.
    • Responding specifically to the ITB Review’s call to report to Ministers and the CLC by next spring on the actions needed to ensure apprenticeship meet the future needs of the industry, CITB announced that it will create a new executive industry group, which will be led by a senior industry figure.

      It also emphasised that it will work closely with employers, FE and government to overcome the barriers to delivering the high quality work placements that will ensure students for the new T-levels progress into construction.

      James Wates, chairman of CITB and Wates Group, said: “Without doubt, 2017 has been a challenging year for CITB. But with the support of Government and industry, we now have stability and clarity on the way ahead. A massive programme of change is in store at CITB, to reform the organisation into the efficient, accountable, transparent body the industry needs to help build a better Britain.”

      In response to calls for reform from both industry and government, CITB has set out its Agenda for Change, six key outcomes that it will deliver over the next 12 months. It is a tool for industry and government to understand CITB’s commitment to reform and hold it accountable for delivering the first phase of our three year reform programme, Future CITB – Vision 2020.

      The objectives are:

      1. Be accountable
      2. Through national campaigns, transparent strategic planning and a new outcomes focus you’ll help shape what we do, how we do it and see it happen.

        1. Be representative
        2. Through strong partnerships, renewed governance and improved accountability we will be more representative of our industry.

          1. Be relevant
          2. By modernising, changing the way we do business and providing the support that you need – building an insight base, creating a high-quality standards framework, advocating, engaging and influencing to ensure training provision.

            1. Be responsive
            2. By reforming our Grants Scheme, making payments easier and more accessible, and using our resources to support a sustainable, responsive and high-quality training and development market.

              1. Be innovative
              2. Ensure our resources are focused on getting the market working, creating an outcomes-orientated business that is agile, flexible and strategic, delivering on the outcomes that matter to our industry.

                1. Be influential
                2. Build engaging, dynamic partnerships that offer creative and innovative responses to industry’s big challenges – from closing the skills gap to advocating for construction careers.

                  Sarah Beale, chief executive of CITB, added: “The ITB Review echoes what our industry has told us it wants from a future CITB. We fully support its conclusions. We’ve heard the calls for change loud and clear so now, we look ahead to some tough but vital decisions to become the ‘levy in, skills out’ organisation that our industry needs. I appreciate the backing of government and of industry as we start on the journey of transforming CITB.”

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