24 October 2018

CITB Reform – An Update from Sarah Beale

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of CITB outlined to Build UK members at their first skills briefing, how CITB has listened to industry and has clearly delivered against its Vision 2020 Business Plan.

In its response to the consensus question in 2017, Build UK members voted to retain CITB, but were clear that this should come with significant reform. Build UK specifically asked for reform in Strategic Direction, Governance, Funding and Communication and Sarah set out how CITB has delivered against these Build UK priorities since Vision 2020 was launched in April 2018.

Strategic Direction

CITB set three key priorities: Careers, Standards and Qualifications and Training and Development. These three priorities have been set as long-term objectives and would continue in CITB’s future three-year rolling business plans.

Identifying these three priorities demonstrated a marked change for CITB and provided it with a clear focus on ‘doing fewer things, better’. A clear roadmap has been developed which included the:

  • Sale of CPCS which was on track to be completed by the end of October to a purchaser which was able to demonstrate the best fit with the needs of industry, rather than the highest price
  • Introduction on three online systems: Training Directory, Training Register and online grant payment system, which combined held millions of records.

Sarah acknowledged there was still work to do and that the entire industry needed to support the principle of Levy in, Skills out for its strategy to be implemented successfully.

Governance

Build UK has been clear that CITB governance should reflect the industry and there must be a clear way for employers to engage with it.

As a result:

  • CITB has set in place a Board which has become skills-focused and would be recruiting for three new members over the coming months
  • New Nations Councils for England, Wales and Scotland have been introduced to better reflect employer types and geography. Although the previous Council had been valued, it had not been set up with these principles and wasn’t able to represent the full scope of industry as a result
  • The majority of committees and working groups have been removed from the governance, as these drew on the same individuals and led to confusion over which to support. These have been replaced with ‘Hear and Tell’ sessions – employer forums which provide the opportunity to discuss potential proposals and provide opportunities for clear feedback
  • The Board and Council have been set clear, measurable outcomes which the CITB executive will be expected to report against, and which the Board will be expected to deliver
  • There will be increased visibility of Board and Council members to ensure their priorities are effectively promoted to the industry.

Funding

To ensure impactful activity is funded, CITB is moving towards a commissioning-led funding model. This will use research and evidence produced by CITB to influence where funding is awarded and the clear outcomes which should be supported. This will lead to CITB funding one clear problem, solving the problem and then moving on to the next.

Other clear changes have been made in the way grant was funded through the Training Directory, Training Register and online grant automation. These tools will be incredibly powerful if industry committed to use them and would lead to a better strategic understanding of the industry skills mix and industry training costs.

Communications

CITB is working hard to develop its communications and ensure transparency against its business plan. It has launched quarterly newsletters and in November would issue the first six-monthly report against its objectives and Key Performance Indicators.

Other CITB Priorities

CITB continues to invest in developing its evidence-base and has produced reports on Migrant workers, digital skills and work readiness amongst others. These reports are being used to shape Government policy, with CITB being the first port of call for skills strategy.

Although industry has called for an industry-wide campaign to encourage people in to a construction career, Sarah highlighted the need for the infrastructure to support that campaign is in place first of all. This joined up approach would ensure a more effective campaign, with clearer measurable outcomes.

CITB launched Vision 2020 six months ago, and in that time has demonstrated significant achievements against the plan. Sarah acknowledged that there was still some way to go and that industry had a role in ensuring it committed to a Levy in, Skills out system and support the initiatives which CITB is developing on behalf of industry.

Sarah’s presentation is available here.