CITB review still pending as minister in charge quits

The status of an anticipated review into the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has been thrown into doubt after the minister overseeing the report quit unexpectedly.

Robert Halfon quit his role as minister for apprenticeships and skills on Tuesday afternoon (26 March).

Construction News understands that Halfon had received the review from industry heavyweight Mark Farmer and was consulting with the CITB and its sister organisation the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) over the recommendations.

The Department for Education (DfE), which commissioned the review, told CN that the review process was still ongoing. The department previously told CN in January that ministers were considering the government response to the report and that it would be published in due course.

The DfE launched its periodical review into its arm’s-length bodies a month after the CITB received a ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted rating.

Farmer, author of the 2016 Modernise or Die report and chief executive of Cast Consultancy, led the review, which considered the ongoing need for the two boards and the effectiveness of the levy process.

In an interview with CN conducted hours before Halfon quit, Mace chief executive and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Mark Reynolds said he hoped the government would conclude its deliberation of the report before the next general election.

He said the CLC had asked to be involved with the CITB and ECITB transition plans, adding the report contained some “quite challenging proposals” in some areas.

In his resignation letter, Halfon quoted Gandalf’s farewell speech to Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, adding that he often felt more like Bilbo Baggins than Gandalf.

The CITB declined to comment.

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