New advisory group within Strategic Forum of ‘powerful leading businessmen’ to wield greater political influence

Strategic Forum chairman Peter Rogers is setting up a lobby group of industry chiefs in an attempt to influence the government more effectively.

Rogers said the group would formally be an advisory group for the forum but would also provide a powerful lobby voice.

He said: “The group would be real heavy hitters: chief executives and chairman level. It would probably only meet twice a year but would be powerful enough to effectively lobby the government.”

Rogers said that the group was likely to be formed when a chairman for the Strategic Forum was found. Rogers’ reign as chairman officially finished at the end of last year but he agreed to stay on until a successor was appointed.

He would not be drawn on names, but said that the forum was talking to two to three candidates.

Rogers added that the lobby group would provide greater focus to the work of the Strategic Forum and provide a united voice for the sector.

He said the idea for the advisory group sprang from a similar group of chief executives that lobby on procurement issues in the aerospace industry.

He said: “The government ignores the views of a group of powerful leading businessmen at its peril. After all 70% of the UK’s capital investment is tied up in the built environment.”

Sources at the Strategic Forum said that they hoped a new chairman would revamp the structure of the group.

A source said: “Peter Rogers has been fantastic, he has given the forum a greater clarity and focus but has as yet not reduced the size of the bureaucracy. The forum cannot be effective when it is so cumbersome.”

New guidance has been launched to help designers comply with health and safety regulations.

Learning Aims is intended to help designers identify risks and hazards and Standards of Competence is to be used as the basis of measuring the competency of designers.

Both initiatives have been developed by the Safety in Design and the Construction Skills Council with funding from ConstructionSkills.

Discussions are now taking place about how the initiatives might be adopted by designers. The inclusion of the initiatives in undergraduate design courses or the CSCS scheme are also being considered.