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7th October 2019

Improving the quality and wellbeing of the built environment high on the CIOB’s agenda during party conference season

The CIOB Policy and Public Affairs team attended Labour’s Party conference in Brighton and the Conservative’s Party conference in Manchester to discuss key issues affecting construction and the wider built environment.

Although the Supreme Court ruling on the prorogation of Parliament was the story that will be remembered from this party conference season, the CIOB Policy and Public Affairs team held several events and meetings to promote quality and wellbeing in the built environment.

At Labour:

The CIOB hosted a fringe event in partnership with the New Statesman on tackling mental health and improving wellbeing. The panel included contributions from Professor Charles Egbu, President of the CIOB, Alex Cunningham MP, Shadow Housing Minister, Gail Cartmail, Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union and Lawrence Waterman OBE, Chairman of the British Safety Council.

Discussions centred on the shocking figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which found that male workers in the construction industry are six times more likely to die from suicide than a fall from height. Charles Egbu informed attendees about the CIOB’s own survey into mental health, which has so far generated over 2,000 responses from industry, as a mechanism for raising awareness and to help develop practical tools to improve the sector’s record on wellbeing. A more detailed writeup of the debate can be found here. The team also held meetings with the Centre for Mental Health and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy to ensure collaboration on this important issue.

Members from the local area also attended a Joint Institutes (consisting of the CIOB, RIBA, RICS and RTPI) panel debate and reception to discuss improving skills provision in the built environment. Political speakers on the panel included Tan Singh Dhesi MP and Karen Buck MP, who focused on construction’s unique ability to improve social mobility, whilst needing to still improve diversity in the sector.

At Conservatives:

Our focus at the Conservative Party conference was on ensuring that improving build quality (including the implementation of the Hackitt Review, the formation of a New Homes Ombudsman and further clarity on regulatory reviews) remains high on the political agenda, despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The CIOB hosted a private roundtable event with the New Statesman on Building Better: Improving Quality in the Built Environment to further explore how professional bodies, industry and policy makers can tackle the quality challenge. MPs in attendance included Eddie Hughes MP, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP and Richard Bacon MP. 

Another Joint Institutes event took place, featuring a keynote address by Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse. The CIOB utilised this event to demonstrate its commitment to supporting the northern powerhouse as a collective of Institutes, showcasing our member’s expertise in the built environment and the role they can play in supporting regional economies.

The team also held several meetings, including with RIBA President Alan Jones, the Federation of Master Builders, Anxiety UK, Mental Health First Aid England and with the Chair of the CIOB Manchester Hub to discuss improving dialogue with CIOB HQ.

Next steps:

The team will follow up with the relevant policy makers, organisations and members to make sure the important issues that were discussed are understood and tackled, with collaboration and cooperation where possible to deliver for a better built environment and those working to create and maintain it.

Our new CEO, Caroline Gumble, commenting on her first party conference, said:

“It was valuable to gain a real insight into the workings of the policy and public affairs team as well as have a number of positive and fruitful meetings. I do believe that collaboration with other organisations is important and can help drive our work forward and support delivery of the best outcomes for our sector.”

For further information about CIOB Policy and Public Affairs go to:


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