The CIOB Policy Team Newsletter - April 2021
Our April edition includes an overview of our involvement with the Construction Innovation Hub’s Value Toolkit, a further update on the Fire Safety Bill and a quick look at the latest results from the local, Scottish and Welsh elections.
We would love to hear from you, so please do get in touch at [email protected].
One thing you need to do... submit your views on current immigration laws
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently seeking evidence on the Intra-company Transfer (ICT) immigration route which currently sits alongside the Skilled Worker route. This route is designed to enable employers in the UK to easily move existing senior employees and specialists who have been employed by the company for at least twelve months from overseas offices to roles in the UK. The Government is also seeking to expand its mobility offer to enable overseas businesses to send teams of workers to establish a branch or subsidiary.
The deadline for submitting responses to the call for evidence questionnaire is 15 June 2021.
1. Check out the Value Toolkit
April saw the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH) launch its pilot phase of the Value Toolkit, reaching a critical milestone in its mission to drive better outcomes through value-based decision making.
The Hub has launched the pilot phase of the Toolkit to give clients and practitioners a chance to test its processes and tools on built environment projects and programmes.
The Toolkit guides public and private clients to have the right conversations, with the right people, at the right time, to optimise value from investments. This has been developed by the Hub in collaboration with Government and more than two hundred organisations from industry, including the CIOB who led on the creation of the Human Capital.
2. Fire Safety Bill receives Royal Assent
The Fire Safety Bill received its Royal Assent on Thursday 29 April and passed into law, following its final stages of debate on Wednesday 28 April.
The bill returned to the House of Commons on Wednesday following its fourth defeat in the House of Lords, as peers sought to introduce amendments to protect leaseholders from paying for fire safety remediation costs.
The final of these – Lords amendment 4L – was rejected by MPs, with 322 voting against it and 256 voting for. Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said that the amendment lacked clarity about the nature of remediation costs and would be difficult and time consuming to insert into the bill. He said that the Government remains committed to delivering the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase 1 report, and that without the Fire Safety Bill, legal ambiguity around the Fire Safety Order would remain open to exploitation by negligent building owners.
Returning to the House of Lords, Building Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh moved that the House did not insist on its amendment 4L, because the issue of remediation costs is too complex to be dealt with in the manner proposed. He said that it is a vital issue, but not for the Fire Safety Bill.
Speaking on an amendment tabled in her name which was based on the original version tables by the Bishop of St Albans, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Communities and Local Government Baroness Pinnock said: "We must all recognise that passing this Bill will not magic away the crisis that individual leaseholders are facing. It will not remedy the construction scandal. It will not provide stability for a foundering housing market."She gave notice that she wished to test the opinion of the House, and moved Motion A2 as an amendment to original motion A. The amendment was disagreed by 242 votes to 153, and the bill subsequently approved by the House of Lords.
The Fire Safety Act 2021 will join the Building Safety Bill to form the Government’s proposed new building safety regime. The Building Safety Bill was published in draft form in July 2021 and underwent pre-legislative scrutiny by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee. It is expected to be announced in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech, and receive its first reading in the House of Commons in early Summer 2021.
3. Elections overview
On 6 May 2021 voters across the country cast their ballots in elections across the UK for local government, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd candidates. Due to the results coming in as we write this email, we will be putting together a special edition newsletter looking at the results in detail next week. In the meantime, a few key points worth considering include:
- The Conservatives have won the Hartlepool by-election with a majority of 6,940 votes. Jill Mortimer becomes the first Conservative MP for Hartlepool since the constituency was created in 1974.
- In the English councils’ election, after 29 councils have been declared. Conservative have gained control of an additional four councils, with 81 councillors in post. Labour have lost overall control of one council but are down 97 councillors.
- The first three of the 60 constituency and regional results in the Welsh Parliament elections have started to come in. So far Conservatives have two seats, gaining one from Labour. Turnout for the election has dipped to 42%, despite it being the first election where 16 and 17-year-olds were made able to vote.
- The first 14 seats in the Scottish election have been declared, with 13 going to the Scottish National Party (SNP) and one being retained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Early analysis indicates turnout across Scotland is up by between five and ten percent on the last Scottish Party election in 2016.
- The results from the Mayoral elections are underway, at the time of writing the only confirmed result was in Doncaster where the Labour candidate Ros Jones won with a share of 59.8% of the votes.
A full breakdown of the election results will be sent out on the week commencing 10 May 2021. If you would like any further information, please contact [email protected]
4. Devolved news - Job quality in the Irish construction sector
We have marked the CIOB’s first year of policy and research work in Ireland by publishing a report examining the state of play in Ireland’s construction workforce. We have partnered with the Think-tank for Action on Social Change (TASC) to produce 'Job quality in the Irish construction sector’ - the first data-driven study (based on datasets from EU SILC; CSO; and the Labour Force Survey) of its kind to be published in Ireland.
The report analyses the construction sector in terms of job stability, pay, and job satisfaction. It also shines a light on the demographics of the sector, as well as workplace culture. Inevitably, for a sector as far reaching and complex as construction, there is a multitude of data sets associated with it. Our colleagues in TASC have proved invaluable partners in making sense of the plethora of statistics this project has produced.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD joined us for a formal launch event to discuss the Government’s views on the report’s findings and its recommendations.
The report also received widespread coverage across national media, including the Irish Times and RTE. A link to the full report can be found below, should you wish to discuss the report or our work in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, please contact Joseph Kilroy, Policy & Public Affairs Manager – Ireland on [email protected]
5. CIOB's vision for the built environment in Wales
Ahead of the Welsh general election on 6 May 2021, the CIOB produced a manifesto outlining our vision for the built environment and priorities for the construction industry in Wales.
The manifesto aligns with the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, to ensure that our recommendations help improve Wales’ social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being, whilst also improving recognition of the important contribution of the built environment in Wales.
To do this, we have focused on three core themes: build quality and safety, education, skills and training and net zero. We are calling on the future Welsh Government to:
- Increase its investment in construction, to create safe, high-quality buildings that are fit for the future generations that will use them.
- Implement the findings of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety to continue to lead on improving existing standards of building safety and quality.
- Support the development of degree-apprenticeships in key areas of skills shortage for the industry.
- Commit to training construction technicians and professionals in the skills they will need to decarbonise our existing building stock. These priorities are explored in more detail in our 2021 Wales Election Manifesto.
CIOB will be continuing to engage with newly elected members of the Senedd and the Welsh Government once formed, to raise awareness of our work and collaborate with policymakers to implement the recommendations set out in our manifesto.
Coming up in May
Following polling day for local council and devolved parliament elections on 6 May, we are expecting results to be announced beginning on Friday 7 May and continuing throughout the weekend.
The State Opening of Parliament is scheduled to take place on 11 May. Parliament was prorogued on 29 April, bringing the 2019-21 session to an end. The State Opening marks the beginning of the parliamentary session.
Its purpose is for the monarch to formally open Parliament and, in the Queen’s Speech, outline the Government’s legislative agenda for the coming parliamentary session. We anticipate that several bills will be carried over, including the Environmental Bill and the Finance Bill. We are also expecting to see the Draft Building Safety Bill formally announced and potential subjects of legislation on planning reform in England, public procurement reform and lifelong learning.
We will also be responding to the Environmental Audit Committee’s latest inquiry into sustainability of the built environment in mid-May, as well as the Building Bulletin 100 (BB100) consultation on design for fire safety in schools towards the end of the month.
If you made it this far...
Respond to the British Standard Institute’s (BSI) consultation on PAS 9980. The BSI is seeking public comment on its Code of Practice on fire risk and assessment of external wall construction and cladding of existing blocks and flats.
The deadline for comments is 20 May.
Thank you for reading this month’s update from the CIOB policy team. We will be back in your inbox next month with more information about what the team is up to, what is going on in Parliament and built environment news to look out for.
All the best,
The CIOB policy team
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