Former MP Mick Clapham acknowleges leadership dispute ‘damaged’ organisation’s reputation

The newly appointed chairman of the industry’s troubled skills card scheme has vowed to repair its “damaged” reputation.

Mick Clapham, a former Labour MP, chaired his first Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) board meeting with industry employers this week.

Clapham’s predecessor Trevor Walker was forced to resign last December as chairman of the 1.7m-strong skills-card scheme after a concerted campaign by employers to depose him.

The employers claimed Walker lacked the skills necessary to modernise and run the scheme effectively.

In his first interview since his appointment at CSCS, Clapham acknowledged the leadership dispute had “damaged” the organisation’s reputation and vowed to learn from the organisation’s “past mistakes”.

He said his priorities were to reform the scheme and to expand its membership to cover an estimated 500,000 workers that don’t have CSCS cards.

He also wants the organisation to speed up the roll-out of smart cards, which allow additional information about workers such as security clearances to be stored on chips. Currently 400,000 cards out of 1.7m are smart cards.

Clapham added CSCS will look to “repair its relationship” with the CITB, which currently administers the scheme but put its contract on notice last year due to commercial differences.

Clapham said that he worked alot with the construction industry during his time as an MP, as chairman of the Commons’ All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health.