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Delays to CITB review threaten chief executive appointment

Delays to the government’s review into the future of the CITB are threatening the appointment of a permanent chief executive to the training board.

CITB chairman James Wates has expressed his frustration at the delays to the review, which have created uncertainty as to whether the skills body will continue to exist in its current form.

“It makes it difficult to sell a compelling proposition to someone when they might be three months into the job and then [the CITB is] not there anymore, frankly,” he said.

The CITB has already selected its preferred and second preference candidates for the position.

It also has an additional contender in case the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which has ‘oversight’ of the appointment, wants a third candidate in the running.

Mr Wates confirmed that all three contenders for the role are in employment and are from outside the construction industry.

“People don’t hang on forever. So, having identified two good candidates, we want to make sure we get one of them lined up,” he said.

James Wates interview:

See tomorrow for the full interview with James Wates on the future of the CITB.

All non-departmental public bodies face triennial reviews, carried out by the relevant government department – in this case BIS – in two stages.

The first stage is to decide whether there is a ‘continuing need’ for the organisation. If the answer is yes, the second phase considers whether its governance arrangements are up to scratch.

The first phase was supposed to be completed by the end of 2013. The government’s own guidelines for conducting triennial reviews of NDPBs include the “key principle” that reviews “should be completed quickly – the first stage ideally within three months – to minimise disruption to the NDPB’s business and reduce uncertainty about the NDPB’s future”.

In an interview with Construction News, Mr Wates said the delays created uncertainty and disrupted people’s day jobs. Phase two of the review is now not expected to be complete until the middle of the year.

However, Mr Wates said the results of CITB’s survey of levy payers and industry federations showed strong support for the organisation to continue in its current form.

“That would be part of any conversation one would have with BIS if they started to look at something different,” he said.

A BIS spokesperson said: “The triennial review of partner organisations is an important process, which must be thorough and comprehensive and will be completed as soon as possible.”

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