CITB spending under scrutiny


Concerns have been raised over the amount of money spent by the Construction Industry Trade Board…

Contractors have raised concerns over the cost of certain projects run by the Construction Industry Trade Board (CITB).

The CITB, which provides financial support and advice for employers, is currently under pressure as the government considers plans to change the way in which apprenticeships are paid for.

Last month fears were raised by the BSRIA that the organisation could be rendered obsolete if the government goes ahead with its plans for an apprenticeship levy.  Currently, CITB collects a levy from construction employers, which is used to fund training, standards, and research.

The government is under pressure to keep Britain building and is seeking new ways of ensuring construction continues to thrive. To do this, appropriate skilled workers must be in place. A shortage in this area is currently holding up the industry and leading to delays. In a bid to bridge this gap, the CITB has pushed ahead with numerous measures to draw more trainees into construction.

However, the organisation is now under fire for its spending habits. Figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request revealed the CITB spent £1.2m setting up its latest careers website.

The website, which formed part of the CITB’s Go Construct campaign, launched earlier this year. It aimed to improve the skills situation by creating a gateway website to provide information on apprenticeships and funding, as well as matching trainees with employers.

However, contractors have now raised concerns about the amount being spent by the CITB, with one stating, “We spent about ten grand on our company website which we thought was quite a lot so I’ve got no idea how you spend these sort of figures.”

CITB said the first phase of Go Construct saw around a quarter of £1.2m spent on developing the brand identity. The organisation broke down the spending further, revealing around £309,000 was spent on marketing and PR, and £380,000 was spent on educational content for the site. The remaining money was used to build the website. This included conducting usability research, registering a domain, and paying for web hosting.

Defending the spending, the CITB said the costs were “comparable with similar projects.”

Strategic Partnerships Director Sarah Fenton commented: “In quarter one of 2015, as part of the Industrial Strategy, Government and industry asked CITB to coordinate an integrated campaign to promote construction as a great career and provide a single point of entry for anyone wishing to learn more about the sector.

“This approach brought together different industry campaigns under one umbrella, so that as a sector we could be more effective, avoid duplication and enable the industry to speak with one voice.

“As part of this, we have built a website where people of all ages can access information about every construction career available, and find out how they can join the industry.

“Under this new approach, we have worked closely with representatives from across industry, plus young people and jobseekers, to develop content, test it and promote it to potential new recruits.

“The costs incurred for this valuable industry project are competitive with new-build websites and marketing campaigns of a similar size and scale.”

In a time of cut backs, the CITB will—like many other organisations—have to justify its spending, particularly as it faces an uncertain future in the wake of the apprenticeship levy consultations. What will happen to the firm once the government decides how to proceed with the levy is uncertain for now.


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