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Skanska accepts blacklist inquiry request

Skanska UK chief executive Mike Putnam has told CN the firm has accepted a request to appear in front of a Scottish Affairs Committee investigation into blacklisting.

The firm received the invitation on Thursday and has said it will give evidence, but has yet to decide who will appear in front of the committee, Mr Putnam said.

Several high profile contractors have come under the spotlight for their involvement with The Consulting Association, which was shut down in 2009 after a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Sir Robert McAlpine’s non-executive director Cullum McAlpine gave evidence in front of the committee last month, where he told MPs that the contractor used The Consulting Association when working on the Olympic Park.

Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive Dennis Hone sought assurances in December 2012 from several firms involved that blacklisting checks were not used during the London 2012 build.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Mike Peasland wrote to Mr Hone last year, saying that in an internal review of employment on the Olympic Park, 12 operatives were found to have been checked through the Consulting Association in 2008.

Skanska HR executive vice president Harvey Francis wrote to Mr Hone, saying that “our investigation found no evidence that Skanska used the Consulting Association on any Olympic project and nor did Skanska use any other form of so-called blacklist or covert means of checking those who were allowed on site in relation to any Olympic project.”

Mr Putnam reiterated to CN that Skanska had not used blacklists as part of its work on the Olympic Park or on Crossrail, for which it was recently awarded a deal worth around £200 million in joint venture with Costain to build its new Bond Street station.

He said: “We have been called to give evidence and we will be accepting that. Regrettably we were a user of [TCA], our policy at that time was to stop doing it, cooperate with all the various authorities which we have done and will be doing at the select committee hearing.

“I can absolutely, categorically say that it is not happening today [within Skanska].

“What competitors do is down to them, I can’t vouch for them but I can for us. We were very straight with our answer [to Mr Hone], we did not enter into it for the Olympics or Crossrail and we recognise that it is not the way to do business.”

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