Select committee review recommends that Whitehall official is appointed to co-ordinate built environment change and improve public procurement

MPs have concluded that a high-profile ‘construction champion’ is needed to oversee change in the construction sector and to improve public sector procurement.

The revelation came as part of the long-awaited Construction Matters report, following a select committee investigation.

The report stated: “Truly joined-up working between government and industry, and between different government departments, would be immeasurably improved by the creation of a post of chief construction officer.”

Industry leaders have welcomed calls for the new specialist post, which is likely to sit within the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR).

Lord O’Neill, president of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group, announced that he was delighted with the committee’s announcement. He also stressed the need for a chief officer who is “committed and determined to get things done”.

BSRIA chief executive Andrew Eastwell also backed the recommendations, but warned that the industry “cannot dither in implementing the report’s findings”.

The call was one of a number of recommendations designed to use the government’s position as the UK’s largest construction client to bring about change in the sector.

Other recommendations were:

  • Early involvement of the supply chain in the procurement process to ensure buy-in from the whole delivery chain;
  • Greater use of project bank accounts and insurance, and collaborative contracts, to facilitate team-working;
  • Ending the practice of retentions within the public sector;
  • Simplifying the Building Regulations.