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CITB chief executive Adrian Belton quits

CITB chief executive Adrian Belton has resigned after three years in the job.

He will step down at the end of this month, with chief financial officer and corporate performance director Sarah Beale becoming acting chief executive.

Mr Belton was named permanent chief executive of the CITB in January 2014 after nearly six years as head of the Food and Environment Research Agency.

On joining the CITB, he said his brief was to “deliver change that will equip the organisation for the next 50 years”.

In July 2015 the future of the CITB became uncertain after the government announced it would be launching an apprenticeship levy that would see all firms with a payroll over £3m contribute 0.5 per cent of their payroll.

In June this year, Construction News reported that the CITB and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills had reached an agreement that would see more than 900 contractors pay both the CITB levy and government apprenticeship levy from April.

The decision has been met with mixed reactions from the sector.

Last month Laing O’Rourke’s director of human capital John O’Connor told Construction News that paying two levies was not sustainable and that most tier ones would be calling for it to be changed.

Mr Belton’s resignation comes at the start of an important 12 months for the CITB.

In October, the skills minister Robert Halfon commissioned a report to be led by former chief construction adviser Paul Morrell over the future shape of industrial training boards. Mr Morrell will report on his findings next year.

The CITB will also begin its consensus process in summer, which sees the organisation seek permission from the sector to continue to receive its training levy.

Earlier this month it launched an overhaul of the process, with the organisation trebling the number of firms it asks for feedback.

CITB chairman James Wates said today: “I would like to thank Adrian for his dedicated service to CITB and to our industry.

“In the past three years, Adrian has led the development of key organisational reforms that have enabled and shaped CITB’s future offer to industry.

“Now that a plan has been delivered to the board, Adrian has decided the time is right to leave CITB and pass on the baton for a successor to deliver on that plan.

“CITB is now moving onto the next phase of its reform, which is engaging with industry on how it will support, delivering the required change and consulting on a new Levy Order.

“This includes reforming the grants scheme to ensure that levy funds are invested in the skills most needed by our industry.

“Sarah Beale will step up to be acting chief executive, in accordance with established succession arrangements. She has excellent knowledge of the organisation and our industry, and a practical, hands-on approach that will be needed for this next phase of engagement and delivery.

“As chairman, I will take a more direct role in engaging with industry during this time, and providing support to Sarah and the rest of the executive team, in whom the CITB Board and I place our full confidence.”

Mr Belton took over from interim chief executive William Burton, who came in after Mark Farrar stepped down following seven years with the training board.

In October, Cast chief executive Mark Farmer published his Modernise or Die report on behalf of the government, which proposed reforms to the CITB.

Commenting on Mr Belton’s resignation today, Mr Farmer said: “CITB has some big challenges ahead if it is to address industry’s own concerns regarding its fitness for purpose. Ultimately refreshed leadership of this body could be important but I suspect will be viewed as tokenism by some.

”Any reform or review of the CITB will be like ‘moving deckchairs around on the Titanic’ unless some of the bigger picture issues facing the industry raised in my recent review are addressed.

”These require a coordinated and wholesale modernisation and change programme driven by industry and clients and supported by government. This is a much bigger problem than just reorganising CITB.”

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