Plans to appoint a chief construction officer held up by opposition from the government’s own procurement body
Government plans to appoint a chief construction officer to marshal construction policy have been delayed following opposition from the government’s own procurement arm.
The industry had been hoping for the government to make an announcement on the role before parliamentary recess this week, but Building understands the decision has been shelved because it is opposed by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).
The decision rests with Lord Mandelson’s Business, Innovation and Skills Department, and it is thought new construction minister Ian Lucas, who reports to Mandleson, is very keen on the idea. However, according to several sources, the OGC is unhappy that the role will conflict with its job overseeing procurement across government. One source said: “We gather [OGC chief executive] Nigel Smith is saying, ‘Over my dead body’ to the proposals.”
Industry figures have been concerned the plan may be dropped since a discussion paper from the business department in February, which failed to make it clear who the construction officer would report to.
Spokespeople for the OGC and the BIS said they hoped to make an announcement “soon”.