Taking Stock – Progress on the Industry Recovery Plan

Last week was UK Construction Week, which is a great opportunity to step back and reflect on what has been achieved by the CLC in the past year.  One thing that is very clear to me, is that as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, the profile of both construction and the CLC has increased significantly.  I was particularly pleased to hear the Construction Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, highlighting examples of our work including the Talent Retention Scheme during his keynote speech at the conference.

The CLC has of course been transformed as a result of our response to Covid-19.  We have reformed our structure and organisation; we have increased the tempo of our work in response to the crisis and we are working hard to deliver an Industry Recovery Plan agreed jointly between government and industry last summer.

Yesterday we published a progress review of work on the Recovery Plan.  As co-chair, I think that it is useful for me to share my thoughts on the key milestones.  Before I do that, I also want to highlight why the plan is so important.  Firstly, it is a really positive reflection of a joined-up industry that is thinking collaboratively and strategically about our role in the Covid-19 recovery.  Secondly, its content reflects the effective relationship that we have developed with government over the past five years, supporting key objectives that are as diverse as net-zero carbon, skills, and productivity.  Thirdly, and most importantly, the plan is being implemented successfully in partnership, and it is making a difference.

Turning to the review itself, I find it a really useful summary of a plan that has many moving parts, all of which play a role in driving the wider recovery.  Most of the focus is rightly on our ‘reset’ activities that are supporting the industry to get back on track.  Many of these measures, including the Site Operating Procedures, the extension of Right to Buy and flexibility on site working hours are all pragmatic measures that have enabled firms in the sector to work as productively as possible in difficult circumstances.  Collaborative work on payment terms and contractual best practice also appears to have made a practical difference to the way in which money flows around the sector.  However, I am clear that the biggest achievement of the CLC during the reset phase has been the establishment of the Talent Retention Scheme.  As Covid-19 has an inevitable impact on both firms and the people working in our industry, I have a feeling that the TRS will prove to be a real asset as we look to retain our skills base.

Whilst our focus necessarily needs to be on the here and now, I am also really encouraged to see progress on the longer-term Reset and Re-invent phases of the plan which aim to support  the longer-term transformation of the sector.  Probably the highest profile initiative at the moment is the forthcoming Government Construction Playbook, which will support a stronger and more sustainable relationship between our sector and our government clients.   However, there is also great progress being made on initiatives associated with innovation in collaboration with the Construction Innovation Hub, and with building safety, net-zero carbon, and skills.

I am immensely proud of the work that has been achieved by my colleagues on the CLC over the past year.  Through a common purpose and tremendous collaboration, I believe that we have taken decisive steps towards our wider transformation to becoming more productive, efficient, sustainable, and safer sector.  By taking these steps we will be in a position to consistently deliver value to our clients.  I encourage you to read our status report and our plan and to reflect on how you can engage with our programme to not only embed our recovery, but to accelerate our transformation as well.




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