Some jobs to be retained at Bircham Newton as CITB sells scheme to NOCN Group
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has agreed to sell its Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) to NOCN Group, one of the sector’s largest Awarding Organisations (AO).
The sale will include the retention of all CPCS-related jobs in Norfolk, as well as all CPCS-related mobile roles.
The move comes as part of CITB’s Vision 2020 programme of reform to "better meet the demands of British construction".
CITB will take on a "more strategic and influential role focusing on securing the right training mix, high standards and quality assurance, building employer confidence in the market".
The CPCS provides skills cards to individual workers involved in the plant sector of the construction and allied industries.
Each card provides identification and recognises the competence and qualifications of the individual holder.
The scheme maintains health, safety and environmental standards through a programme of testing to prove workers comply with minimum standards.
Braden Connolly, director of products and services at CITB, said: “CITB is committed to supporting a robust, high quality skills and training market.
"Card schemes will continue to play an important role in demonstrating workforce competence and by stepping away from direct delivery, we remove any conflict of interest.
"CITB will evolve to oversee and ensure standards are maintained, targeting funding to meet current and future skills needs.
"This will enable us to focus on building the right relationships with providers to secure the kind of provision British construction needs.
“We already have a successful relationship with NOCN Group – having sold our Cskills Awards to them last August – so we are delighted that NOCN Group will continue the CPCS.
"We are confident that the organisation will continue to deliver this scheme to the highest quality. CITB will remain part of the CPCS Management Committee and NOCN Group Board, ensuring our influencing role helps to maintain high standards and meets the needs of the sector.”
Graham Hasting-Evans, managing director of NOCN Group, said: “With this acquisition, NOCN Group continues to build its education and skills investment in the construction sector.
"NOCN has successfully integrated Cskills Awards to become the premium construction qualifications brand, now it welcomes CPCS into the Group to widen its product range further.
"This will give the Plant industry a single organisation to go to for its skills needs, increasing the speed and cost effectiveness of the journey into work.
"We will retain the CPCS business in Norfolk to ensure continuity, keeping jobs local and protecting livelihoods.”
The agreed sale of the CPCS to NOCN Group is an example of a service which CITB will transfer as part of its Vision 2020 plan to take on a strategic role to influence training provision and competence.
This means providing training and card schemes will be better delivered by others.
The transition is expected to happen in two phases with completion expected by August 2019, subject to all parties being ready.
This will ensure a smooth changeover of systems and processes with minimal disruption to colleagues and customers.
CITB has also announced today its intention to sign an enabling partner agreement with SSCL (Shared Services Connected Ltd).
From February 2019, SSCL will take over the following activities on behalf of CITB - HR, Finance, Procurement, Technology and Change (Corporate Performance), Apprenticeship Processing and certain Customer Operations.
CITB colleagues in affected teams may be eligible to have their employment transferred (TUPE) to SSCL and others could be retained by CITB.
Any transfer of employees will be undertaken in a phased approach.
These colleagues are currently based in offices in Bircham Newton, London, Thurmaston, Bridgend, and Inchinnan whilst some are also mobile workers.
CITB expects the majority of the 337 colleagues across the impacted teams will transfer to SSCL as part of these arrangements.
SSCL is a joint venture between the UK Cabinet Office and Sopra Steria.
They have a proven track record of providing high quality operational services to some of the UK’s largest public bodies, including the Environment Agency and Department for Work and Pensions.
The contract is being awarded to SSCL following an exceptionally robust procurement process.
A standstill period is in effect, with CITB due to sign the contract with SSCL in early December.
From December CITB will begin work with SSCL to transition services across. By working in close partnership, this transfer will avoid any disruption to CITB customers.
Sarah Beale, CEO of CITB, said: "Partnerships are at the heart of our Vision 2020 strategy, so that we can achieve more for our industry and modernise our business.
"SSCL is an industry leader in delivering core services to organisations that are similar to CITB.
"Our new partnership will modernise our systems and bring the latest innovations in service to our customers.
"This next phase of CITB’s modernisation is being delivered on time and as promised to British construction and the government.
"It will allow CITB to focus on our priorities and become a leaner, more agile organisation that delivers the skills needed by British construction.
"We do not underestimate the impact that this will have on our colleagues, who are incredibly talented and committed.
"I see the fantastic work they do every day, and this decision to outsource is in no way a reflection on their skills and abilities.
"SSCL’s commitment to staff care and development was an important factor when we were looking at this partnership. We will be working closely in the coming weeks to support CITB colleagues affected by these changes."
John Neilson, chief executive of SSCL said: "We are pleased SSCL’s proposal to provide enabling partner services has been approved by CITB (the Construction Industry Training Board) and contracts will be signed in early December.
"SSCL will deliver a wide range of business support services to CITB from February 2019.
"In that process, we remain deeply committed to working with CITB colleagues to ease the transition to the new ways of working.
"SSCL has a track record of successful large-scale transformation and delivers digital and technology services to the public sector enabling public sector clients to benefit from efficiency savings; and we look forward to working with CITB to achieve its Vision 2020 programme of reform to fulfil their role supporting British construction."