Letter: Name and address supplied December19, 2017
Your letter from a retired employee resonated true with me, I do agree with every point made.
I witnessed first hand the previous shambolic attempt to move head office to Peterborough. The communication was laughable to the extent that the staff were herded into the gymnasium to listen to an apology from the then CEO about the fact that the staff were not the first to hear about proposals.
But, of course, the promise was that the lesson had been learnt. Suffice to say that when the Lynn News ran a story the following week about a possible move to BRE at Garston that was the first we knew of it. It came to nothing, apart from considerable cost then, as it probably will be the case this time round.
CITB will survive. The industry needs someone to encourage training and CITB is well practised at it. It is important to realise that Bircham Newton HQ is home to many other businesses/activities under the construction skills umbrella, not just the training centre. The site is not ideal in some respects, but as a training facility it provides a great grounding for prospective construction workers in a thoroughly suitable environment.
CITB, however, is no different to other public/quasi-public bodies in the way it operates. The professional and hard working staff succeed despite the gallant attempts of the senior management to distract them. There should be no need for a stressful environment but the political influences provoke a defensive reaction from managers who over emphasise the good news and somehow make the bad news disappear. Sensible staff are worn down over time. Managers are protected from lack of management ability by bureaucratic systems. Whistleblowers do not survive. My experience is the same in the NHS and other public sector bodies. Huge salaries and generous severance packages are the norm. Early retirement is often a prominent feature. This leads to the lack of transparency, the waste of money and fiscal irresponsibility previously referred to.
I was recruited for my industry background, but the culture at CITB was not compatible. It was interesting that the previous letter referred to little or no construction industry experience My attempts to deal with fundamental issues were not understood by a fat organisation used to having money to spend. The industry I moved from had long since shed its flesh and was down to the bare bones. As a construction group we could not stop services, but we did make genuine savings in order to survive.
I would say that CITB and other Government departments/bodies need to continually modernise, not make expensive sweeping changes. Rebranding doesn’t necessarily change the underlying issues for an organisation and can be expensive. I hope I am right in saying the CITB will survive, the retired employee has said it all and Henry is on the case.