26 August 2009 | Allie Anderson
The UK government is to appoint a chief construction officer to oversee industry procurement.
The adviser will chair a new independent construction category board, which is tasked with securing better value for money from the public sector's construction spend, as well as promoting sustainability and innovation. The board will report to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Treasury ministers.
The adviser will act as a point of contact between the sector and the government, working alongside industry representative body the Strategic Forum for Construction to drive improvement, both across the industry as a whole and on low-carbon building techniques in particular.
Ian Lucas, the business minister responsible for construction, said: "We have taken our time to get the role right to ensure it fits well with a range of new and existing initiatives. I have heard the calls from the construction industry loud and clear. We are now pressing hard ahead with recruiting."
Ian Pearson, economic secretary to the Treasury, added: "This role will provide a central focal point for the construction sector, acknowledging the value of this sector and the importance of delivering a sustainable and low-carbon economy that remains competitive."
The government's commitment to creating the role comes after months of talks with construction industry representatives, following pressure from MPs to provide a strong, clear government presence to tackle the public sector's "patchy and ineffective" interaction with the industry (Web news, 22 July 2008).