8 January 2017

What do the CRO Changes mean for you?

Why are the changes being made to the CRO card?

It is important that the construction industry is able to demonstrate it has a qualified, safe workforce. In 2015, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) announced that skills certification card schemes carrying the CSCS logo must only certify those occupations with nationally recognised construction related qualifications i.e. S/NVQs or approved equivalents. 

Since 2015, CSCS has implemented a number of changes to the scheme to comply with the CLC announcement.

Most recently, this has included the withdrawal of the Construction Related Occupation (CRO) card which affects 230,000 cardholders. This card did not require the holder to obtain a nationally recognised construction related qualification and therefore did not meet the expectations of the CLC. As a result, CSCS withdrew the CRO card at the end of March this year.

What happens to affected card holders?

CRO cards issued since 1 October 2015 will expire on 30 September 2017. CRO cards issued before 1 October 2015 will remain valid until their expiry date. For affected card holders, the most likely next steps will be:

• In some cases CRO card holders will be able to apply for a skilled CSCS card as they already hold a relevant S/NVQ.
• Some card holders may be asked to move to one of CSCS’s Partner Card Schemes that are more appropriate for their occupation. A full list of the occupations moved to Partner Card schemes can be found here.
• In some cases, CRO card holders will be required to register for existing or newly developed qualifications before their CRO card expires. A full list of CRO occupations with approved qualifications is available via the CSCS website.

All cardholders can find out the steps they need to take by visiting the CSCS Card Finder tool and following the steps on screen.

There isn’t a suitable qualification for my occupation.

A number of CRO occupations have qualifications that currently don’t meet the nationally recognised standard for those skilled occupations. For many of these occupations the sector representatives and the standard setting bodies are working together to bring these qualifications up to the agreed national standards.

When the qualification for the CRO occupation becomes available affected card holders will be expected to register for and complete the qualification before the CRO card expires.

If this is not possible, card holders should apply for the Experienced Worker Card which is valid for one year and is non-renewable. This card will enable access to site whilst the qualification is completed. The qualification must be completed before the Experienced Worker Card expires, and those who do not complete the qualification before the card expires will be unable to obtain another CSCS card.

Please note: If your CRO expires before your qualification is available, you should contact CSCS to discuss what temporary card options are available to you.

Further information and details of the sectors and qualifications under review is available via the CSCS website

What about non-construction occupations?

CSCS cards are intended for construction related occupations only. Following discussions with key industry representatives, including CITB and employer representatives, it has been agreed that a number of CRO occupations are non-construction related and should be removed from the scheme entirely.

A full list of the occupations removed from the scheme is available here and includes occupations such as vending machine operator and catering staff. In these instances, workers are not expected to carry a CSCS card.

Build UK and CSCS are challenging the perception that a 100% CSCS carded workforce is the correct approach for industry. Further information can be found on Build UK Newsline and via the Build UK Training Standard.

What do these changes mean for industry?

These changes will have a positive impact on industry by allowing:

• Skilled construction operatives to demonstrate their qualifications and training via a CSCS card
• Principal contractors to clearly see which operatives are attending their site to undertake a non-construction occupation, and ensure their obligations to the health and safety of all on site, are fulfilled.

In the short term, Build UK members will need to be aware that there will be some sectors which will be unable to provide skilled worker CSCS cards or demonstrate proof of training, due to a lack of qualification being available. Members should regularly review the qualifications in development list and ensure that they have undertaken a risk assessment and have an agreed process in place to allow access to operatives from affected sectors.

Further guidance will be provided to members as it becomes available.