Plant skills card chaos sparks legal row

Grant Prior 2 years ago
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Skills body CITB is facing legal action over the sale of the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS).

CITB sold the plant operator skills card scheme to educational charity NOCN in 2019.

But the handover was far from smooth with construction workers, contractors and training bosses facing long delays in renewing their cards.

NOCN was forced to make a public apology to the industry over delays.

Latest financial results for NOCN Job Cards for the year to July 31 2020 show the scheme made an operating loss of £332,000.

NOCN also revealed that it is taking legal action against the CITB over the sale.

It said: “The Boards of NOCN and NOCN Job Cards agreed to enter a legal claim against CITB in respect of the CPCS business purchase contract with CITB, following the failure of discussions with CITB to secure a mutually agreeable settlement.

“This was duly filed at the court and served against CITB on 30 March 2021. An estimate of the financial effect of this legal claim cannot currently be made.

Alison Lamplough NOCN Chair added: “The year has been very challenging for two reasons. One was the significant difficulties with the transfer of the  processing functions and data, which is the subject to an on-going dispute with CITB. The other is the impact of  the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As a result of the significantly lower than expected income levels and data transfer issues in relation to the CPCS  business, NOCN Job Cards has submitted a legal claim against CITB to court in March 2021 in respect of the  purchase of the CPCS business from CITB.”

Braden Connolly, CITB Director of Products and Services, said: “CITB will vigorously defend itself against the claims made by NOCN / NOCN Job Cards in respect of the divestment of the CPCS Scheme in 2019.

” Notwithstanding the proceedings, CITB will continue to work collaboratively with NOCN in the best interests of the construction industry and its workers, as we have always done in the years since the transfer of CSkills Awards, CISRS administration and CPCS schemes to NOCN.”

Graham Hasting-Evans, Chief Executive Officer at NOCN Group said: “NOCN/NOCN Job Cards has initiated legal action against CITB following a number of failed attempts to collaborate on issues arising from the purchase of CITB’s Construction Plant Competency Scheme in 2019.

“NOCN has a longstanding relationship and works closely with CITB, considering the organisation to be a valued partner. The preferred choice has always been to avoid litigation on this isolated issue relating to a ‘one-off’ transaction. It is very much viewed as a last resort that we worked hard to avoid.

“This litigation will not impact NOCN’s activities as an awarding body, end-point assessment organisation or as guardian of CPCS. It is business as usual on all counts and our beneficiaries continue to be our number one priority. NOCN’s viability and job security for employees are also unaffected.

“The litigation is a question of doing the right thing by our beneficiaries, employees, partners and other stakeholders in a way that is professional, respectful and most importantly in line with the values embedded in our organisation.

“Since taking over CPCS, NOCN has significantly improved and enhanced the Scheme. This includes substantial investment into infrastructure, innovation and delivery for the benefit of existing and future cardholders. This investment is ongoing and will continue to increase.”

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