Hodgson View: Is CITB Delivering a Valuable Service

Changes to the way CITB operate have affected members in a number of negative ways over the last few years.

Cuts to CITB funding

Funding for apprentices, attendance grants, short duration courses and the range of training available to levy payers have all been cut. In addition, PCA is being forced to do administration work on behalf of members in order to access these small attendance grants. Work for which we, the Association, must do for no reward.

In addition, the number of regional support staff employed to help levy payers has been dramatically reduced and the processes for claiming grants through “skills and development grants”, has been complicated too. Has it all gone just a little too far?

CITB changes are a disadvantage to our members

The PCA has been both robust and vocal in its insistence that these changes have disproportionately disadvantaged specialist companies – like those making up the vast majority of PCA members! Letters to the Directors of CITB generated what we believe to be a unique offer.

Enquiry launched into the impact of these changes

For six months CITB seconded a member of staff to look at the deal PCA members get from CITB and report on the impacts of the changes they have implemented. This was agreed by the PCA with a clear understanding that the results of these enquiries would be an honest appraisal with recommendations that would be used to inform decision makers. At the heart of the study is the question; is CITB delivering a valuable service to PCA members by providing a return on the levy it takes or is it applying a tax that members would be better off not being a part of?

CITB draft report fails to demonstrate value

Late in 2018 after the conclusion of a number of case studies, CITB submitted a draft report. Unfortunately, the PCA felt unable to be a co-signatory to this draft document. It was our view that although the report identified actions that could be taken by firms to improve the value they receive from CITB, the report failed to acknowledge that many of the reasons that levy payers are getting less support from CITB are a result of recent CITB policy decisions. The draft report also failed to answer the central questions relating to value.

Further work needed before report published

At a recent meeting between CITB and PCA it was agreed that further work was needed to the report before it was acceptable and could be published. This work is now underway. The PCA believes that as an organisation committed to the representation of members and their operational technical and commercial interests, we have an obligation to members to stand up for, and when necessary, fight your interests!

Skills and Training Grants

As a result of our ongoing communications with CITB we are delighted that they have volunteered to attend all our forthcoming regional meetings (our thanks to Heidi from CITB for coming along to yesterdays regional meeting). This will be an opportunity to hear how the recently extended “skills and training fund” can be used to fill the gaps left by the diminished level of grant available from the attendance allowances. In fact we are informed that this fund has now been used to bridge the gap – a gap which was left when CITB reduced the funding on the PCA apprentice scheme.

Does this new ‘skills and training fund’ have the potential to continue filling the gap? I suppose only time will tell…

More information and previous Hodgson Views: