Following a BBC Newsnight investigation broadcast on 21 October 2015 Build UK has issued the following statement:
Build UK fully supports a comprehensive training and qualifications structure capable of delivering the necessary skills and properly certifying the diverse construction workforce. We are committed to recognising industry card schemes that carry the CSCS logo. CSCS relies on the Awarding Organisations to verify that an individual has achieved the required qualifications before issuing the appropriate card and we welcome the introduction of Smart Technology which is already helping to reduce card fraud. Where fraudulent testing activity is discovered, this enables cards gained in this way to be invalidated. However, it is vital that construction sites use the technology available to check all cards so that workers that have had their qualifications revoked are not allowed onto site.
CITB already has an auditing process in place for test centres and has announced an acceleration of this programme to include monitored CCTV and spot checks. We fully support this activity and welcome news that operating licences for test centres found to be undertaking fraudulent activities have or will be removed.
Build UK is confident that the majority of cards issued are correct and will work with its members, CSCS, CITB and, where appropriate, Government to make sure that all employers carry out the proper checks on the construction workforce.
Following the BBC Newsnight item on CSCS cards (Broadcast on 21 Oct.) CSCS has issued the following statement and clarification:
The CSCS card scheme is clearly seen as valuable enough to enter into fraudulent activity to obtain a card and some positive points highlighted by the broadcast were:
The vast majority of industry expects employees to carry a CSCS card.
Smartcards are featured with the comment that this makes it more difficult to forge cards.
Legitimate test centres deliver tough tests under invigilated conditions
Confirmation on camera from the guilty parties that the Awarding bodies will close them down if caught and the qualifications revoked.
There were three types of fraud uncovered by the programme.
Fraud 1 – Relating to invigilated test centres.
These centres have been established to enable applicants to complete the touch screen HS&E test.
They are accredited by CITB and overseen by Pearsons under contract to CITB.
There are 421 accredited test centres and over 150 Pearson centres.
An invigilator, working for one of the accredited test centres was seen to complete the test for the undercover reporter.
The BBC identified three rogue test centres and CITB has identified an additional two centres where there is a reasonable suspicion that fraudulent activity is taking place. The operating licences for all five centres have been revoked by CITB.
All CSCS cards issued as a result of tests completed at these centres will be invalidated and cardholders will be required to retake the test if they wish to obtain a new CSCS card.
As some of these cardholders will have achieved their cards by completing a legitimate test the retest charge will be waived by CITB.
CITB has confirmed that security and audit arrangements will be strengthened.
Currently any new applications to run a test centre are required to install CCTV monitoring; this will now be extended to existing test centres.
CITB has also confirmed that whilst it currently carries out unannounced audits on every test centre at least twice each year this will be increased.
Fraud 2 – The programme showed an employee of WEP completing the end of course assessment for all attendees on the Level 1 Award training course which is required to obtain a Labourers card. On this occasion the British Safety Council (BSC) was the Awarding Body; WEP’s accreditation has been withdrawn by both BSC and CITB.
All cards issued as a result of training and assessments delivered by WEP will be invalidated and cardholders will be required to retake the relevant qualification if they wish to obtain a new CSCS card.
CSCS will meet with all 24 Awarding Bodies to review testing and training centre security and audit procedures.
Fraud 3 – The programme showed an employee of Future Training 4 Jobs handing out Site Safety Plus SSSTS and SSMTS certificates and accepting cash payments in return.
These are CITB health and safety training courses for supervisors and managers
These certificates are not required in order to obtain a CSCS Supervisor or Manager card
CITB will be tracing and invalidating all certificates issued by Future Training 4 Jobs and reviewing security and audit arrangements as above.