Bodies confirm peace talks after tumultuous year

The two organisations responsible for running the industry’s 1.7 million-strong skills card scheme have agreed to re-enter talks to try to repair their broken relationship.

CITB-ConstructionSkills, which administers the scheme for privately-run CSCS, put its contract on notice early last year due to commercial differences.

But CITB chairman James Wates told Building there was now “every possibility” the organisation would renew its 16-year-old contract with CSCS following the appointment of a new chief executive and chairman at CSCS.

Graham Wren, former boss of Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, was appointed chief executive of CSCS last week, following the appointment of former Labour MP Mick Clapham as chairman last December.

The top level appointments come after a tumultuous year for CSCS, during which construction employers forced its previous chairman Trevor Walker to resign after a prolonged dispute over the future direction of the scheme.

Clapham said he was corresponding with CITB chief executive Mark Farrar to set up talks.

CSCS cards are demanded as proof of occupational competence by most major clients and contractors on sites.

Wates said: “We think there’s a great opportunity to re-engage. There’s every possibility [we could repair the relationship] - why reinvent the wheel?”