CITB announces levy-vote delay

The next vote on plans for the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy has been delayed by a year, amid a Whitehall review of the body’s future.

Under a policy known as consensus, the organisation puts its plans for the amount companies must pay to an industry vote every three years. The next vote was due to take place between February and April 2024.

But after the summer announcement of a review led by Mark Farmer into the CITB’s future, which is due to report in January 2024, the vote will be held in 2025.

Farmer has been asked to consider the ongoing need for the CITB, as well as the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board and the effectiveness of the levies that fund them.

A CITB statement said that it would ask the government for a one-year levy order for 2025, although it does not state the rate it is planning to ask companies to pay.

“Consensus is an important process for our employers to be able to have their say on levy proposals and therefore it is essential we provide all the relevant information on what our plans are to enable them to do this,” the statement said.

“For that to happen appropriately, we need to be able to respond to the industry training board review so we can continue to support the industry to have a skilled, competent and inclusive workforce.”

In 2021, the proposals for 2022-25 were approved, but support among independent businesses fell from 77 per cent to 67 per cent. That vote had been delayed by a year due to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Among the 14 trade bodies that cast a block vote, 11 voted in favour and three against – an improvement on the four that voted against it in 2017. The biggest of those, Build UK, voted in favour but nevertheless called for fundamental change at the CITB.

The organisation had already altered its delivery model and made hundreds of redundancies following a previous review carried out in 2017 by former national construction adviser Paul Morrell.

In May 2022, under new chief executive Tim Balcon, it revealed it would dig deeper into its cash reserves than it had planned when drawing up the proposals that were voted on the previous year.

A House of Lords committee last year urged ministers to “consider alternative models” for skills training.

Education regulator Ofsted rated the body as “requir[ing] improvement” in May, following its post-2017 move away from providing direct training, apart from in a handful of niche roles.

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