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Sat January 22 2022

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CITB staff in revolt

5 Jun 18 The Construction Industry Training Board appears to have lost the confidence of its workforce over its relocation plans.

Staff oppose plans to relocate from Bircham Newton
Staff oppose plans to relocate from Bircham Newton

CITB plans to move its head office from Bircham Newton in Norfolk to Peterborough but the workforce is against it and has produced a 32-page document outlining the case against the CITB’s proposed head office move.

In April the CITB released a business plan reducing the organisation’s headcount from the current level of 1,370 to just 484 people by 2020, through redundancies and outsourcing. It is currently engaged in a staff consultation process.

The workforce had originally intended to make alternative proposals. However, they found the CITB’s process to be so severely flawed that “the only conclusion that can be drawn from this analysis is a vote of no confidence in the process, dissemination and accuracy of all data.”

Their response document asserts that, even when applying the CITB’s own criteria, the proposed move to Peterborough did not come out as the best option, with other towns and cities coming out more favourably.

The document that has been presented to the CITB’s board contains four main criticisms of the boards proposals: It challenges the validity, robustness and fairness of the data used; it registers a vote of no confidence in the data and estate design principles; it registers a vote of no confidence in the whole process; and it refutes that there has been a fair and meaningful consultation, with Peterborough being presented as a fait accompli.

Mark Robinson, regional co-ordinating officer for the Unite union, said: “The CITB’s plans to move from its headquarters in Bircham Newton to Peterborough have been eviscerated.

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“The process has been exposed as so flawed that it is not even appropriate to make an alternative proposal. If the CITB’s board wishes to maintain an iota of credibility it must restart the process of evaluating and consulting on the options for moving the head office.”

Mr Robinson added: “We urge the board to look at this document. Staff and management representatives have already expressed concerns about the lack of constructive and meaningful consultation regarding the head office move and fear a similar fate, if and when, the divestment of the national construction college services commences later in the year.

“It is not too late for the board to think again before it seriously damages, not only the lives of hundreds of dedicated CITB employees, but also the training so desperately required in the construction industry. The CITB needs to urgently go back and consult the industry it is supposed to represent.”

A spokesperson for the management representatives’ staff association said: “This report should have given the executive food for thought and it is hoped this report will give the CITB the opportunity to establish a truly robust process which allows industry and employees to play a constructive part in shaping an onward thinking, flexible and innovative platform for the CITB’s future.”

A CITB spokesperson said: “The collective consultation period around our proposal to create a new single head office continues. We received a detailed response from employee representatives at the final planned meeting of the consultation. Our executive team is now considering this submission and is committed to assessing the detailed information thoroughly, and will respond fully when that work has been completed. We expect this to be by mid-June.

“We thank all colleagues who have contributed to the collective consultation process. As ever, communications around this consultation and other aspects of the Vision 2020 programme will be shared with colleagues first.”

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