Employers urged to check CSCS cards electronically

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have revoked 4,615 cards, following investigations into fraudulent activity at five test centres.

This comes after an extensive investigation by CITB, which exposed fraudulent activity in centres where candidates were taking tests accredited by both CITB and the British Safety Council. This was later broadcast on BBC’s Newsnight.

CSCS is committed to safety and works with CITB, the British Safety Council and others to verify that individuals have achieved the required qualifications before a CSCS card is issued.

CSCS wrote to all affected card holders in November to tell them that they needed to retake their HS&E test. Vouchers were provided to pay for retesting and steps were taken to reduce inconvenience for businesses.

Following analysis of how the test was answered, using known testing patterns and geographical factors, over 6,000 candidates who had completed the Health, Safety and Environment (HS&E) Test and more than 2,000 people who had completed the Site Safety Plus certificate were required to retake their test. This was to eliminate any doubt.

Those affected were asked to register by 20 December 2015, or risk the cancellation of their CSCS card.

Of the individuals affected, a total of 5,480 did not register to retake their test and as a result their test result is now void and of those individuals who have already used their test result to obtain a card, 4,615 cards have been revoked. The 553 remaining candidates have until the 14 February to successfully take their test before their cards are also revoked.

Graham Wren, Chief Executive at CSCS, said: “We take assurance that CITB’s in-depth analysis was accurate. While we accept that some people have been inconvenienced we have kept this to a minimum and removed unsafe cards from circulation.”

“We are urging employers to check the validity of all cards by either electronically reading the CSCS SmartCard or by using “Card Checker” via the CSCS website, to make sure that invalid cards are not permitted on site.”

Graham Wren added: “While the number of people suspected of fraudulent activity is relatively small, compared to the 400,000 cards issued each year, this type of behaviour has the potential to undermine legitimate employees and harm the reputation of the industry.

“It is important employers are able to trust the training and qualification providers as well as the card certification schemes carrying the CSCS logo.”

CSCS continues to work with CITB and the BSC to crack down on fraud. Where possible CSCS always works with law enforcement agencies to prosecute fraudulent activity.