CITB cuts ties with industry skills card scheme

The future of the industry’s skills card scheme was thrown into question this week after the CITB revealed it is cutting its ties with the scheme. CITB-ConstructionSkills – which administers the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), used by over 1.6 million workers – revealed it has put its contract on notice. The move, prompted by commercial differences, ends an often turbulent 16-year partnership. Sources close to the situation claimed personality clashes and disputes over how income had been divided between between the two bodies had contributed to the schism.

The news has sparked fears that the CSCS card scheme will be damaged by the end of its association with the industry’s government-backed skills council.

CSCS cards are demanded as proof of occupational competence by most major clients and contractors on sites.

James Wates, chairman of CITB, admitted the relationship had been difficult but dismissed any suggestion of a recent falling out.

He said: “It’s been a challenging relationship because it’s been a difficult contract for both sides to work within. But I don’t think there’s been real dissonance. “The [recent] disagreement was around detailed terms of the contract, which I won’t go into because they’re commercial.”

Mark Farrar, CITB chief executive, said: “CITB continues to fully support the scheme for the duration of our agreed contract.”

The notice period will last five years unless the two parties terminate the contract earlier by mutual agreement.

The CSCS indicated it will consult on how best to administer the scheme.

The falling out between two bodies has provoked dismay from the industry.

One source close to the CSCS said: “You’ve got to ask questions when two boards that are drawn from the same organisations can’t agree.”