Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Government announces support for new Construction Officer

Government announces support for new Construction Officer

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2008/230) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 2 October 2008

The Government today announced its intention to consult on a potential new 'champion' role for the construction industry.

The Chief Construction Officer, a civil service position, would serve as the main point of engagement between industry and Government. The Officer would work with and across government departments to help to ease the problem of fragmentation of construction policy across Government.

Full details of the potential terms and scope of the role will be confirmed following engagement with both industry and public sector bodies as part of the Operational Efficiency Programme announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury earlier this year, but duties could include:

* Working with OGC and other organisations to promote best practice in construction procurement

* Acting as the main point of engagement between Government and industry
* Helping to oversee the implementation of Government policy, such as the Strategy for Sustainable Construction

* Championing the industry's image

* Promoting regulatory consistency across departments

* Helping to co-ordinate the timing of major public sector construction programmes or projects

* Promoting innovation in the industry

The move comes as part of a response to a key recommendation in the Construction Matters report by the House of Commons Business and Enterprise Committee.

Business Secretary John Hutton said:

"Construction is a key sector of the UK economy, generating nearly 9% of GDP and employing more than 2.8 million people.

"But the construction industry is very broad and almost uniquely impacted by a wide range of government departments both through policy and, as a client, through procurement.

"We have known for some time that the industry has felt it needs more dedicated Whitehall support and for government departments to be more joined-up and holistic in their approach to procurement and policy development.

"That is why we have embraced the BERR Committee's recommendation regarding the creation of a new role to 'champion' the sector and to ensure that Government remains consistent and focussed in its relationship with this vital sector."

Notes for Editors:

1. In March 2007 the then Trade and Industry Select Committee launched its first major enquiry into the UK's construction industry. It set broad terms of reference, challenged the sector to demonstrate its strengths, to highlight areas where improvement was needed and the role Government could play in this

2. The Business and Enterprise Committee report, "Construction Matters", which was published on 16 July 2008, draws a number of conclusions and makes a number of recommendations. Central to them is the creation of a new post within Government of "Chief Construction Officer"

3. The response to the full range of recommendations in the Select Committee report is due by the end of October

4. Building on the success of the Gershon Efficiency Programme, the Operational Efficiency Programme forms a key part of the Government's drive to achieve greater efficiency savings across public spending, with the potential to deliver billions of pounds of savings. The Operational Efficiency Programme will be wide-ranging, focussing initially on 5 strands examining cross-cutting areas of Government spending. The programme will deliver its recommendations by Budget 2009. The initial 5 workstrands are:

* Back office and IT;
* Collaborative procurement;
* Asset management and sales;
* Property and
* Local incentives and empowerment.

5. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
7th Floor, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

Public enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
Textphone +44 (0)20 7215 6740 (for those with hearing impairment)
http://www.berr.gov.uk

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