Restructuring the Construction Leadership Council
On 16 July 2015, Skills Minister at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Nick Boles MP announced that the CLC would be restructured. Ref Gov.uk.
This followed concerns for the future of the CLC after a main council meeting was cancelled in June 2015 and then a subsequent meeting of the delivery group was also cancelled.
The Construction Leadership Council was established in 2013 to oversee implementation of Construction 2025, a publication which set out the government’s long-term vision for ‘…how industry and Government will work together to put Britain at the forefront of global construction…’. CLC is an industry / government council jointly chaired by the Secretary of State at BIS and an industry representative.
The restructuring of CLC involved reducing the number of members from 30 to just 12. It was suggested that this was done in response to calls from the industry to make the council more effective and business-focussed. The new members are considered to have sufficient seniority and business skills and a wide enough range of perspectives to be able to give effective leadership to the industry.
The new Council will meet with ministers 4 times a year to advise and update them on efforts to drive improved productivity and growth.
Specific work streams will deliver improvements to working practices:
The new Council is intended to build on the work of the government’s Chief Construction Adviser (CCA), a role created in 2008 to support joined-up working between government and industry, and to add expertise to the role of government as construction client. However, since that time, the Government Construction Strategy was developed, Construction 2025 published and the CLC created. The government argued that this had led to a duplication of roles, and as a result, the CCA position was scrapped in November 2015 when the tenure of Peter Hansford ended. Cabinet Office minister Nick Hancock then took over responsibility for the Government Construction Strategy.
The Council’s industry co-chair, David Higgins, said, “I’m delighted the government has responded to calls for a smaller, more business-focused Construction Leadership Council. The new Council of 12, with its business leaders from across the sector, will be best placed to drive the skills, innovation and productivity outcomes to help the industry build on its recent growth.”
However, there was some anger from the industry, with the Construction Products Association (CPA) suggesting the Council would “…no longer represent the whole construction supply chain as it does not have an industry leader from construction product manufacturing or distribution. The decision means one-third of the construction supply chain by value will be absent from the Council’s membership.”
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said, “The loss of the Chief Construction Adviser role at this crucial time will leave a significant gap in terms of drawing together the skills of the sector. The industry needs to look at how the workstreams announced will be coordinated to avoid silos developing in the new approach. It’s therefore vital that the work of the new Construction Leadership Council is informed by the whole of the industry and the professional services sector has strong representation.”
The Construction Industry Council (CIC) proposed that the construction industry itself might fund the role of Chief Construction Adviser to "...keep this important post which combines both expert advice to ministers and the highest representative of the industry."
NB In September 2015, following concern expressed by the industry that the new structure of the CLC did not give proper representation to the supply chain, the full list of members was announced, and included a representative of the Strategic Forum for Construction and a representative from Saint-Gobain.
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