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Exclusive: FMB board approves creation of regional hubs

The Federation of Master Builders’ board has approved restructure plans that will see four regional hubs created in England and a consultation put out to staff on jobs, CN can reveal.

The eight existing FMB regions will report into four new regional hubs: FMB North (based in Leeds); FMB Central (based in Birmingham); FMB South (based in Bristol) and FMB London.

CN understands the vote was unanimously agreed by those at the board meeting last night, but not all members of the board were present for the vote.

A total of 15 staff will be appointed across the four new hubs, including a director, manager and administrator for each, and the directors will report into the FMB’s newly appointed commercial director Nigel Stubbings.

A members’ consultation has been launched and will run into October according to the plans, but FMB chief executive Brian Berry has insisted jobs and funding will not be lost as part of the restructure.

Regional offices will retain their individual councils, but regional office staff may be asked to apply for new positions, and external candidates will be considered if existing staff are not appointed to new roles.

FMB changes

Former FMB director of membership services Robin Hood-Leader has also left the organisation.

Mr Hood-Leeder was one of the members of staff who was trusted with taking over former FMB director general Richard Diment’s role after he left the organisation last year.

However, he has been a casualty of the changes which has seen Mr Stubbings brought in, and changes including the promotion of Beatrice Orchard to a role as head of communications.

Mr Berry said the move would allow for greater use of resources on the ground, and that it was “what members had been calling for”.

He added: “This is about empowering the regions and providing better clarity about what they are doing on retentions and recruitment, for example. We are putting regions at the heart of the FMB.”

Mr Berry insisted that “this is not about cost cutting or reducing head-count” but admitted that existing staff “may not want to apply for the new roles” or may not be skilled enough to carry them out, at which point external candidates will be considered.

FMB North will oversee the northern counties, North-west and Yorkshire & Trent regions; FMB Central will oversee the Midlands and eastern counties; FMB South will represent the South-west and southern counties.

Details on what the restructure means for the FMB’s Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish regions is not yet clear, but Mr Berry said there would be “tweaking” of job titles for staff in those regions.

The federation will use existing office space to provide homes for the new regional hubs. CN revealed last month that a buyer has been found for the FMB’s £5 million London headquarters as the federation looks to move location by the end of the year.

There are currently vacancies for positions across the regions including for a director in the FMB London office.

The FMB, which was established in 1941 and represents around 10,000 businesses, hopes that the new structure will be in place by the end of October.

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