Headlines: November 4th, 2011

Community groups across the country are being urged to put Britain’s construction and built environment industry at the heart of their plans as the Government’s ‘Big Society’ programme of legislation to devolve more powers locally gathers pace.

The call comes from Industry Training Board and Sector Skills Council, CITB-ConstructionSkills, as the Localism Bill inches closer to becoming law. It will move powers for the planning and commissioning of construction projects from central Government to local authorities.

The Bill, which hass received its third reading in the House of Lords, aims to re-focus the UK onto a leaner, greener model of growth, driven by local needs and aspirations, including job creation and sustainability. It will support the Big Society agenda. However, unless collaboration between local authorities and employers is fostered at an early stage, the construction and built environment sector, which has endured a tough year, could suffer further.

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills, explained: “The Localism Bill will have a huge impact on the construction and built environment industry. That’s why we’re calling on Government to take advantage of our local sector knowledge, available from Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts, and for collaborative working relationships to be established between the public and private sectors.

He added: “We’re urging all Local Enterprise Partnerships, responsible for the future economic development of their local area, to appoint a member of the local construction and built environment industry to their boards, to deliver the right skills for economic growth locally and nationally through construction.