Does the CSCS Card exposé effect SafeContractor?

A joint BBC London and Newsnight investigation into CITB-registered test centres aired last week, (22/10/15) highlighting offers of guaranteed passes for cash and cheating, at a number of centres.

The programme featured the CSCS-mandated HS+E test, the five-day SMSTS site management course and the two-day SSTS supervisors’ course in their undercover investigation.

The BBC had also made a Freedom of Information request to the CITB, which revealed that it had received 96 reports of card fraud in 2012, 264 in 2013 and rising to 311 in 2014.

Carl Rhymer, CITB Delivery and Customer Engagement Director, stressed that the cheating seems to have occurred in only a minority of the 553 test centres registered with the CITB and that the test centres highlighted in the investigation were already part of CITB's own anti-fraud investigations.

To tackle card fraud, he shared a number of measures that are being implemented including:

  • Doubling their spend on fraud investigations.
  • Launching spot-checks.
  • Accelerating their plans to install mandatory CCTV in all centres.
  • Examining review and audit procedures with awarding bodies CSkills Awards, City & Guilds and Pearsons.

Of course, SafeContractor has not been affected by any of this investigation. However, as SafeContractor occasionally gets confused with the CSCS card scheme in particular, we wanted to remind our clients and members that ours is not an individual competence scheme. SafeContractor ensures that businesses have the organisational capability to meet the relevant health and safety standards for the work they conduct on-site.

The SafeContractor assessment covers the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSiP) Core Criteria, which includes how the business manages health and safety as well as sampling the qualifications, experience and training of its employees.

CSCS cards, the SMSTS and SSSTS qualifications are not mandatory to achieve SafeContractor accreditation and other forms of qualifications are accepted (e.g. City & Guilds, NVQs etc, product training) where relevant to the activities being undertaken by the business. Should CSCS Cards be supplied as evidence of competency, our in-house audit team endeavours to check the validity of the cards.

The supply of fraudulent documentation is a direct breach of Santia Special Conditions (Accreditation Only) and we reserve the right to remove from the scheme any organisation that brings it into disrepute.

SafeContractor Recommendations for Validating Individuals Onsite competency:

It must be stressed that a card does not present complete evidence of competence and additional enquiries should be made to fully establish the competency of individual employees. CSCS cards (but not necessarily affiliated schemes) are SmartCards whereby a card reader or smartphone/tablet app, should be used to validate cards presented by contractors on site. For further information about SmartCards please view:

Should you have any doubts as to the competency of the individual in question, further evidence of their qualifications, experience and training should be requested.

We are proud of our uncompromisingly high standards and solid reputation. We support our colleagues across the industry in their work to raise health and safety standards and look forward to seeing the benefits of the developments the CITB now plan to make, following this investigation.

Post date: 26 Oct 2015

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