Money talks, but all mine ever says is goodbye!

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The industry has had more than its fair share of scandals in recent years  with cover pricing, blacklisting and safety records all hitting the headlines and damaging our image. So with the upturn in the market and the hunt  being on for people to fill the demand, the last thing we need is more negative press, especially if it’s about the way the industry treats its people. That’s why we would encourage companies to do a quick audit of staff pay to ensure the new minimum wage regulations are being met. You can fall foul of the regulations even if people are on salary pay and have opted out of the 48 hour working week regulations.

We have written a couple of blogs on the new minimum wage and long hours in industry that, alongside the material from BIS, should help you understand your obligations. At the moment BIS is taking an advisory role but, if enough instances of underpayment are reported we might find ourselves back in the headlines.

Last weeks winner was Barbara Cutts, NPS Property Consultants Ltd as Group Learning & Development Manager

For your chance to win £20 in John Lewis vouchers, visit the Constructing Equality Ltd website and enter this month's quiz, all of the answers are in this newsletter.

This months twitterer is StreetwiseSubbi, tweeting as @StreetwiseSubbi They have lots of useful information. Remember you can follow us on @ConstructingEq and also find us on facebook and LinkedIn

MORE NEWS * Development of a Compensation Scheme for Construction Workers affected by the Consulting Association

* Development of a Compensation Scheme for Construction Workers affected by the Consulting Association

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On 10th October, eight major U.K. construction companies announced that they were working together to develop a scheme to compensate blacklisted construction workers whose names were on The Consulting Association (TCA) database.

The companies - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC all apologised for their involvement with TCA and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker.

The companies have joined together to establish The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme.  The scheme is intended to make it as simple as possible for any worker with a legitimate claim to access compensation.

The companies have invited workers' representatives to enter into a period of engagement to ensure that the proposed terms of the scheme are fair and effective. The group is also engaging with other interested parties.

Although no further information on the proposed scheme has been shared, full details will be announced once engagements with the workers’ representatives have been concluded.

The scheme has been discussed with a number of other construction companies and participation is being encouraged from across the industry; interest is welcomed from any company that has been a user of, or subscriber to, TCA.

The companies involved in the scheme would support the introduction of a code of conduct to ensure nothing like this can happen within the construction industry again.

Source: Balfour Beatty website

* Contractors pledge to improve Workers' Health

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Over 30 contractors and clients have signed up to a new pledge to tackle the problem of poor health among construction workers.

Contractors that have signed up to the Public Health Responsibility Deal include Costain, Mace, Skanska, and Wates.

Crossrail, Network Rail and Thames Tideway are among the clients that have also signed up to the Department of Health (DoH) pledge.

Construction workers have a higher-than-average mortality rate because the need to move to where the work is means many do not have access to a GP and lead unhealthy lifestyles, according to the DoH.

The pledge aims to encourage clients and contractors to introduce initiatives for workers such as regular medical checks, healthy catering options on site, access to gyms and stop-smoking clubs.

Crossrail’s Health and Safety Director Steve Hails said it is important for clients and contractors to invest in their workforce.

“We are taking 400 apprentices on Crossrail and they are the future of the industry.  It is important to grasp the opportunity now with those people so they know why health and wellbeing in the industry is important.

We are protecting that investment because if we do not they will have to leave the industry before they are ready to due to ill health”.

Source: Construction News

* Scottish Procurement Review welcomed

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An independent review of the way in which the Scottish public sector procures construction work has been welcomed by the industry.

The Review of Procurement in Construction looked at how public bodies involved in construction-related procurement can adopt practices that are streamlined and deliver value for taxpayers’ money.

The report estimates the total annual public sector spend on construction to be £4bn and among the recommendations is the appointment of a Chief Construction Advisor for Scotland and also for the Scottish government to publish its list of planned projects every year so that the construction industry can better plan its workload.

The report also recommends that the Scottish government closely monitors the U.K. government's current trials of three models of construction procurement: - two-stage open book; cost-led procurement; and integrated project insurance.

Other recommendations in the report include:-
• Greater leadership of construction procurement.
• Improved construction skills across the public sector.
• Design to be at the heart of construction procurement.

Robin Crawford, a former partner of KPMG who chaired the review, said “Our vision is of an approach which achieves better collaboration in design-led procurement, which achieves value for money for the public sector but which also recognises that the construction sector is a vitally important part of the Scottish economy.

Much of the procurement undertaken by the public sector is conducted by capable people, but good practice is not uniform across the entire public sector, and we see many opportunities for others to learn from this best practice.”

Deputy chair of the review Ken Lewandowski added, “Responsibility for the reform agenda does not rest solely with the public sector, and so some of our recommendations are addressed to the many companies and firms working for public authorities.

“The construction industry is characterised by contentious behaviours, and must itself end practices which can hurt small firms such as extended payment terms and retention abuse.”

The Scottish Building Federation also welcomed the publication.  Managing Director Vaughan Hart said “I’m pleased to see the publication of this report and the recognition it gives to the crucial importance of the construction industry to Scotland’s economy.  I share the conclusion that improving the efficiency of construction procurement is a joint responsibility of industry and government and welcome the emphasis placed on promoting existing best practice.  Once the detail has been properly digested, we will look forward to seeing what actions the Scottish government will take to implement its recommendations.”

Source: The Construction Index

* CITB Be Fair Update

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Things are stepping up with the assessments for companies piloting the CITB Be Fair Accreditation Framework. Over the course of October DCT Civil Engineering, Highwire Ltd, Holloway Cook Associates, Cull Drylining & Plastering, Complete Access Scaffolding and Southport Gate all underwent their assessment visits, and should soon hear back with their results.

November will be even busier for the assessors, as they need to visit Alexandra Tool Hire, Lend Lease, Currall Lewis & Martin, Rodden & Cooper, Walter Carefoot & Sons, Graham Construction, Interceil, GM Jones and MTM Construction.

December looks to be busier still!  It’s gratifying to see so much of the industry getting behind the Be Fair Agenda.

* South Wales Plant Driver Promotes Awareness of Transgender Issues

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A digger-driver who works on South Wales building sites has been raising awarness of transgender issues. Until four years ago Samantha Bowler lived her life as man but after a lifetime struggling with her gender identity she took the decision to start living as a woman. When she's not on a building site Samantha acts as a consultant on transgender issues for government, the police and local authorities. She said: "I was afraid I'd get a lot of abuse but the lads on the site have been great. They were a bit shocked and left me alone the first day. There was only one remark made which was not malicious, just banter which I could handle.
"After speaking with some of the men about my medical condition my workmates all became very relaxed and easy about it within a couple of days. I feel very comfortable in the site canteen - everyone has been very respectful."

She works with Valleys Regional Equality Council, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Welsh Government, South Wales Police and other public authorities.

First published in Wales Online

* BIS 'Spot The Difference' Campaign launched on minimum wage

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BIS (The Department for Business Innovation and Skills) are promoting the changes to the national minimum wage through their spot the difference campaign, encouraging employers to ensure that they have met the legal requirements. As they point out, the minimum wage, whilst not in itself a complex concept, can throw up some tricky situations. For example: – the hours worked; the need for protective equipment; and costs of travelling to work can all have implications So take a look at the video, factsheet and supporting quizzes produced by BIS to make sure that you are doing what it takes to ensure your employees are receiving the minimum they require to live a decent life.

* World gender gap index 2013 mapped

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The World Economic Forum (WEF) has named Iceland as the country with the smallest gap between the sexes, for the fifth consecutive year in a row. Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Philippines make up the top five of the gender gap index, while the UK ranks 18 out of 136 countries. The index assesses four key areas – health (life expectancy, etc.), access to education, economic participation (salaries, job type and seniority) and political engagement.

WEF have created an interactive heat map which allows users to click on an individual country to see the rank and score by each of the four indicators (1.00 = equality, 0.00 = inequality).

GOOD PRACTICE * Pilot Painting and Decorating Firm wins Dragon Award for tackling Youth Unemployment

* Pilot Painting and Decorating Firm wins Dragon Award for tackling Youth Unemployment

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- a family run painting and decorating firm currently participating in the CITB Be Fair Accreditation Pilot has won a Dragon Award from the City of London Corporation.

Established 26 years ago, the awards are the longest running scheme recognising corporate community engagement programmes.  The Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards were established by the then Lord Mayor Sir David Rowe-Ham in 1987 and are named after the mythical guardians of the City of London, which can be seen at the gates of the Square Mile financial district.

The Islington-based firm which trains its apprentices in the importance of punctuality, teamwork and rules received the Heart of the City award for its five week pre-apprenticeship “employability” programme, which gives locals aged 16-24 practical skills and training to help them into the industry.

Alongside a strong work ethic, training in painting and decorating gives trainees the opportunity to gaining a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card so that by the end of the course, each student will be able to go on site work-aware and ready for further training.

Since the programme started in October 2012, 131 young people have completed the course.  Out of that, 71 have been deemed employable and 64 have made it into further employment (21 as apprentices).

Congratulations from Constructing Equality Ltd. to K&M McLoughlin for receiving this prestigious award!

Source:  City of London Press Release

* Kier Sheffield recognized at Celebrating Construction in South Yorkshire Awards

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Kier Sheffield was recently presented with the prestigious Corporate Responsibility Award at the sixth annual Celebrating Construction in South Yorkshire Awards (CCiSY) on 4 October.  The accolade was given in recognition of Kier’s commitment to deliver a positive impact in the community by providing jobs, training, local investment and projects with schools and charities.

The aim of CCiSY 2013 (which is held by the Chartered Institute of Building) is to showcase the professionalism, excellence and innovation of South Yorkshire’s construction community.

Kier Sheffield’s intention is to contribute to the social well-being of the community by placing a strong emphasis on making a difference though raising skill levels, targeting hard to reach groups and supporting local people into work. This includes providing 198 apprenticeships, 6,000 days of work experience, 80 opportunities for the long-term unemployed and 1,520 opportunities for those aged 16 to 19 through the Construction Design Centre.

Kier Regional Operations Director, Phil Oades, said: “We are extremely honoured to be recognised at the region’s premier construction event, and this award in particular demonstrates our continued efforts in contributing to the community where we work”.

Kier also shared its expertise with over 100 local SMEs, hosting an event to showcase the all-inclusive benefits of being socially responsible which resulted in a number of delegates committing to apprenticeships and development programmes.

Kier Sheffield’s award-winning City Stewardship programme, in collaboration with CTS Training and Sheffield Council Housing, was launched with the aim of providing a stepping stone for young people aged between 16 and 18, who are not engaged in employment or education.  The programme provides vital job experience and onward opportunities for young people.

Source: Kier website

* Hadley Mace making a case for Construction

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As part of Open Doors 2013, local Greenwich schools and construction colleges were offered an opportunity recently to take a behind-the-scenes look at Greenwich Square – Hadley Mace’s next regeneration hotspot.

Open Doors is an industry initiative to show the diverse and exciting range of career opportunities that construction has to offer, and the wide range of skills required to make buildings and infrastructure part of our everyday lives. It also demonstrates the importance of construction to both the national and regional economies.

The students were joined for a site tour, an overview of the project and a presentation on career opportunities at Mace by local MP Nick Raynsford, who supported the initiative and received a     briefing from the project team, led by Mace Project Director, Gus Wright.

Mr Wright, said, “Open Doors Weekend 2013 was a unique opportunity for us to engage with local schools and colleges and demonstrate the complexity and scale of the Greenwich Square development.  Our aim is to give local students a taste of what it’s really like to work in the industry and encourage them to pursue a career in construction”.

The Open Doors Weekend is the result of a partnership of four leading industry bodies, the U.K.         Contractors Group (UKCG), CITB (Construction Industry Training Board), the Considerate Constructors Scheme and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

Source: Mace Group website

RESEARCH * Sexual harassment is still a fact of working life for millions of women

* Sexual harassment is still a fact of working life for millions of women

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Commenting on research published by employment law firm Slater & Gordon, which found that six in ten working women have had a male colleague behave ‘inappropriately’ towards them, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Most people assume we have long moved on from the blatant sexism that blighted workplaces in the past.
“But sexual harassment is still very much a fact of working life for millions of women in all kinds of workplaces – from the shop floor to the boardroom.

“Employers must adopt a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment to prevent it becoming an ingrained part of the workplace culture.
“The government should also reverse its disgraceful decision to scrap third party harassment rules that protected women receiving unwanted advances from customers.”

The Guardian also ran a piece on this research

Here they provided more analysis of the findings; one in six women have had colleagues look down their blouse, almost half have experienced comments about their breasts in the workplace and one in eight have left jobs because workplace harassment has made them feel so uncomfortable. The study suggests that sexual harassment in the workplace is rife among both men and women, with almost 40% of men also reporting experiences. But 60% of those surveyed say they have kept a possible harassment incident to themselves, making this an invisible, yet enormously common problem. Indeed, part of the problem is that the sort of issues reported in the Slater & Gordon study, including having your bottom pinched, are widely considered "just a bit of fun", making it hard for workers to feel able to speak out against them.


EVENTS * PEAS Upcoming events

* PEAS Upcoming events

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PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), one of our favourite charities, aims to not only change the lives of thousands of children, but to make PEAS’ impact systemic. They hope to achieve this by working with African governments to help develop structures to support public-private partnerships that will enable a rapid increase in the provision of affordable, quality secondary education across the continent.

If you would like to get involved then here are a couple of dates for your diary:

Wednesday 4th December, 6-8pm 
PEAS Christmas Drinks Reception
ING - 60 London Wall EC2M 5TQ

This will be hosted by one of trustees and John will make a short presentation about all the great achievements in the past year. There will be hot finger food and wine.

Wednesday 5th February, 6pm-9pm
Friends of PEAS
River Room, House of Lords

This will be hosted by Baroness Falkner (Foreign Affairs Speaker for the Lib Dems) and will be to thank our past major donors as well as encouraging them to bring new potential donors with them to hear about the charity. Again hot finger food and wine.

For further information kindly contact Georgina Wilson – Major Donor Relationship Manager on 0207 481 7766 or via e-mail

AWARDS * OUTstanding in Business – Top 50

* OUTstanding in Business – Top 50

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OUTstanding in business is a networking organisation for LGBT business leaders. They were founded for the following reasons: -

-There are no openly LGBT CEOs leading FTSE 100 and S&P 500 companies – OUTstanding in Business is highlighting role models to encourage LGBT leaders to ‘come out’
-  To celebrate diversity in the workplace and promote boardroom LGBT diversity to the same level as the gender debate
- To challenge stereotypes and inspire future leaders
-  To influence corporate policies that impact LGBT issues and engage our straight allies
- To demonstrate authentic leadership and unlock potential by encouraging other executives to be open about who they are.

On 22nd of October they published their ‘Top 50’ list of inspirational role models. There are two notable mentions from the construction industry: - Matthew Flood (General Counsel and Divisional Manager - Services Division) of Balfour Beatty plc. (at number 40); and Harry Rich, CEO of RIBA (at number 45).

See the full list on the OUTstanding website 

You can also hear an interview with Beth Brooke (at number 2) which was recorded for the BBC’s Today Programme 

* Top Safety Accreditation for Highwire

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Highwire Safety Engineers – a firm specialising in Height Safety Regulations and participating in the CITB Be Fair Accreditation Pilot has been accredited by safecontractor for its commitment to achieving excellence in health and safety.

safecontractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises high standards in health and safety management amongst U.K. contractors.

John Kinge, Technical Director of safecontractor said, “Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place.  More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Highwire has done.  The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector”.

Under the safecontractor scheme, businesses undergo a vetting process which examines health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice.  Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database.

Over 170 major nation-wide businesses, from several key sectors, have signed up to use the scheme when selecting contractors for services such as building, cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment or electrical and mechanical work.

Congratulations from Constructing Equality Ltd. for receiving this prestigious accreditation!

Source: Highwire Safety Engineers website

MISC * Solomons Europe Ltd. – Bin It 2 Win It Mobile Phone Amnesty

* Solomons Europe Ltd. – Bin It 2 Win It Mobile Phone Amnesty

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– a local medium-sized Quantity Surveying and Project Management practice have tasked a small team with raising £15,000 to support 12 young apprentices through Prince Charles’ Charity for young people in business, the Princes Trust.

The idea was developed by Steve Watkinson (Team Leader, Solomons Europe) and the aim was to raise £1million for the Princes Trust via the Princes Trust Million Makers Scheme.  The section of the Princes Trust which inspired Steve was the "Get into Construction Scheme" where the Princes Trust aids young disadvantaged people into construction apprenticeships.  The target of £15,000 would help 12 people into a construction apprenticeship and hopefully change their lives.

Old and disused phones are collected into “Amnesty Boxes” placed on business premises for responsible and environmentally friendly reclamation to raise the cash.

When phones are dropped off with an email address into the box, they will be entered into a draw to win an iPad – the more phones the more iPads!

The amnesty runs until Christmas and the raised funds will then be passed on to the Princes Trust representative.

Constructing Equality Ltd. would like to wish Steve and his Team the best of luck in achieving the target.

Donations can be made directly, or visit the site for Further information

* Diversity Equals Quiz

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For your chance to win a £20 John Lewis voucher just answer three questions about the newsletter through the Constructing Equality Ltd Website

Last month's winner was Barbara Cutts

What does PEAS stand for?
a) Providing Energy to Antarctic Survey
b) Promoting Equality in African Schools
c) Piloting Education Awareness Studies

Which of these awards was NOT won by a company piloting the CITB Be Fair Accreditation Framework?
a) Dragon Award
b) safecontractor
c) Bram Stoker

What position (out of 136 nations) did the UK reach in the World Economic Forum Gender Pay-Gap survey this year?
a) 18th
b) 5th
c) 128th