Construction Matters …

… does it?

After recent speculation, it was officially announced that the position of Chief Construction Adviser would expire in November. Peter Hansford officially steps down on 30th November and there will be no replacement; but does this matter?

Without being privy to discussions that came to this conclusion, I can only speculate as to the reasons why the government believe this is the right thing to do.  However, we can look at the rationale behind the decision to create the position in the first place.  And when we do, the question is …what has changed?  Moreover, it is evident from the Government’s own press release, there is confusion over what has happened in the past.

The need for a Chief Construction Adviser

It was seven years ago when Construction Matters was published by a cross-party committee, (chaired by Conservative MP Peter Luff), and recommendeConstruction Mattersd the position of Chief Construction Officer.  Paul Morrell was subsequently appointed in November 2009 as Chief Construction Adviser, initially on a two-year term.  The principal reason for the role was stated “To overcome the problem of the fragmentation of construction policy and procurement across government” and the position would have “operational involvement in policy and regulatory matters across departments.”  I would concur with Graham Watts’ assessment in the CIC press release where he indicates that he doesn’t see “any circumstances that have changed to negate the need for the role”.

Confused? Government Construction Strategy & Construction 2025

In the announcement about the new Construction Leadership Council, note 4 incorrectly states that the “Government Construction Strategy was developed with the launch of the Construction 2025 strategy”.  The Government Construction Strategy and Construction 2025 are two separate documents.  One focused on government, the other a vision for the wider construction industry.  The announcement may be right that some duplication may have resulted, but this is more likely to be due to the creation of the Leadership Council and having a different focus than the one originally set for the adviser.  The Government Construction Strategy provided a clear direction that I have argued has delivered what the Government required.

What next?

I would argue that the Government needs a Chief Construction Adviser with an updated Government Construction Strategy for the current parliament (the original strategy related to the last parliament).  As Government is collectively the largest client to the construction industry, it is imperative that it shows appropriate client leadership and supports in the development of this important industry.  The Government has long recognised this and that change is needed in the industry, but change requires leadership and the Chief Construction Adviser was that leader.

Note: This post is a slightly amended version of the the one first published on my Linkedin Pulse

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One thought on “Construction Matters …

  1. It’s hard to disagree with the logic of this, and as the largest UK client you would hope the UK Gov would set a lead – rightly so. Perhaps there is a tangential point here – many people are using lack of client demand for stepping back from innovation and improvement, we’ve all heard it…..”if the client doesn’t ask for it, we;re not doing it.”…., or similar themes. The flip side of the Gov strategy has been to say to “industry” over to you, we set the targets, you sort (and pay for) the implementation.

    Unfortunately we are now in a phase where the Government won’t speak with one voice, and we as an industry are totally incapable of doing this as well!

    Honestly? Not sure what the answer this at the moment but I can feel a tidal wave of change coming for our industry, but whose beach it lands on remains to be seen. We are going to be in difficult times for several years yet, but it seems to me that those who press on with adapting to the changing conditions of our nascent New Industry will be in a good place, whether they wait for client leadership or not.

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