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By David Watson, CSCS Ltd
A recent BBC Newsnight investigation identified CSCS cards were fraudulently obtained via cheating at an accredited test centre. The undercover investigation identified a member of staff helping candidates complete their CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test (HS&E Test).
CSCS cards are issued based on applicants having the necessary qualifications for the job they carry out and passing the appropriate CITB HS&E Test.
Industry’s response to the Newsnight investigation has been swift and thorough.
Since the BBC report CITB have carried out their own investigations and decided to recall 6,000 HS&E tests. The CITB HS&E test ensures workers have a minimum level of health, safety and environmental awareness and is mandatory in order to obtain a CSCS card.
CSCS fully supported CITB’s decision to recall the HS&E Tests identified by their investigation and on this basis CSCS confirmed 6,000 CSCS cards are at risk of cancellation.
In order for the CSCS card to remain valid the identified cardholders must register to retake the CITB HS&E Test within one month and complete the test within three months. Failure to complete either of these steps will result in the immediate and permanent cancellation of the CSCS card.
CSCS and the CITB accept many of the 6,000 cardholders will not have taken part in fraudulent activity, however to retain the support and confidence of industry and avoid any doubt all the card holders contacted by CITB will be required to retake the test (free of charge).
The CITB have established a dedicated helpline on 0344 994 4053 for those that may have been affected by this decision and have also developed a three-point plan to help fight fraud going forward:
This is a positive step that should help turn the tide against the fraudsters.
It is essential that the construction industry continues to have confidence in the CSCS scheme. The decision taken by the CITB and CSCS ensures employers can rely on the information contained on the CSCS card and that the system is effective in tackling those who take part in fraudulent activity.
CSCS works closely with the Awarding Organisations, CITB, HMRC, the Police, Trading Standards and other agencies to identify and take action against those attempting to deceive construction employers. Its aim is to ensure the CSCS card remains a valuable and credible tool in ensuring workers have the necessary training and qualifications to carry out their jobs.
I fully believe CSCS continues to receive the support of industry and I remain confident the vast majority of the two million CSCS cards issued to date are a result of obtaining a qualification legitimately.
David Watson is a non-executive director of CSCS Ltd