Industry training body CITB-Construction Skills will meet government ministers next week in a bid to clarify its future after reports that it was to be privatised, according to Construction News.
Last week The Daily Telegraph published details of a leaked document that listed over 250 public bodies it said were to be scrapped , privatised, subject to merger or placed under review.
The CITB - which collects a compulsory levy from construction firms according to their wage bills and distributes it according to staff training levels - was one of four quangos reportedly due to be privatised.
According to Construction News, chief executive Mark Farrar will raise the issue with construction minister Mark Prisk and education minister John Hayes at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham next week.
Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UK Contractors Group, supported CITB-ConstructionS kills in its current form. “Nothing has yet been announced by the government and we do not understand quite how ConstructionSkills as it is currently formulated could operate as a private company,” he told Construction News.
However, the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors, which has accused the CITB of providing poor value for money, called for the body to be abolished.
The federation said that its research in 2009 found that its members received on average only about 17 pence in grants from the CITB in return for every £1 they paid to the training body through its compulsory levy.
Meanwhile, a report in Building speculated on what a re-formulated skills training body could look like. Brian Berry, external affairs director of the Federation of Master Builders, speculated that a management buy-out was "feasible". Another source suggested that an acquisition by a private company, such as outsourcing giant Capita, was a possibility.
David Edwards, chief executive of the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board, which also receives a levy and faces privatisation, said he "couldn't see an easy way" of making a non-mandatory levy work.