Industry consultation indicated that the current complex flexible funding system created confusion and discouraged firms from applying for funds.
From September 2015 there will be just two categories of flexible funding, in addition to the existing grant funding scheme. These will be:
- The Flexible fund: Short-term funding designed for projects lasting less than 18 months.
- The Structured fund: Long-term funding designed to support projects longer than 18 months.
The new flexible funding streams will between them distribute £20m a year, in addition to the £140m that CITB distributes via grant funding. The grant funding process is also under review and an announcement on its future is expected in early 2016.
CITB director of policy and external affairs Steve Radley said: “Industry has told us that accessing CITB’s funding was overly complicated and bureaucratic. That’s why we are introducing a system that is clearer, more transparent and straightforward. We are also putting robust evaluation in place to ensure that the funding we distribute has clear benefits and that we only fund what works.
“But getting the funding right is only half of the solution. This new approach is underpinned by robust analysis on industry skills needs. It is only by understanding which skills will make the real difference that we can target funding appropriately and unlock construction’s full productivity.”
The advisory group for the review was chaired by Lend Lease head of operations Tim Peach. He said: “These changes will make it easier for construction firms to invest in the training and development of our people, with funding that is simpler to access and better matches industry needs. Construction can only reach its growth potential by improving skills and training where it is needed most, and the new approach to flexible funding will help make that possible.”