CITB-ConstructionSkills paid out nearly £126m in grants to contractors last year, with Carillion, the recipient of the largest sum, being paid nearly £4m

The payment details have emerged in leaked accounts, which included the salaries of the top seven employees who together earn more than £750,000. Chief executive Peter Lobban was last year paid £207,96, including bonus and benefits.

Seven of the 10 biggest companies in the industry each received more than £1m from the CITB for training, grants and allowances.

These were Carillion, Barratt, Kier, Persimmon, George Wimpey, Laing O’Rourke and Morgan Sindall.

Carillion and Henry Boot, which received £913,000, are entitled to additional grants because they operate managing agencies for the Construction Industry Training Centres.

The CITB is also to receive £4m over the next three years from the Sector Skills Development Agency for four areas of development:

  • Reducing skills gaps and shortages and anticipating future needs
  • Improving productivity, business and public service performance
  • Increasing opportunities to improve the productivity of everyone in the sector’s workforce
  • Improving learning supply.

The accounts state that additional funding may also be available for other initiatives.

The leaked accounts also disclosed the six-figure packages of finance director John Cowley and skills strategy director Sheila Hoile, among other top CITB officials.

Senior salaries are set by an independent committee and are in line with the industry

CITB-ConstructionSkills spokesperson

The senior officials were given a 3% bonus after they were judged to have performed well according to a scorecard of 12 indicators.

Commenting on the highest earners’ salaries, a CITB spokesperson said: “Senior CITB-ConstructionSkills salaries are independently set by a remuneration committee. They are based on an audited scorecard and are in line with industry equivalents. We make this information public through the annual report.”

However, it is understood that the CITB has paid money to industry trade associations from the training grants that has simply been recorded in the annual accounts under “other recipients”.

  • CSCS chairman George Brumwell has criticised the lack of consultation involved in the decision made by Peter Lobban to halve the cost of the CSCS health and safety test.

Lobban, speaking at the HSE’s construction safety summit last week (see page 17), announced that the cost of the health and safety test would be cut from £35 to £17.50. Lobban said: “This is great news and will see an extra £4m ploughed straight back into the industry.”

However, Brumwell is angry that Lobban took the decision without proper consultation with the management board. He said: “The CITB seems to be disregarding the CSCS management board.” He added that there was no reason why the CITB should have a monopoly over the test.

Construction unions, which have seats on the CSCS board, last week indicated that they intended to take legal action against the CITB over the intellectual property rights of the health and safety test.