The CITB is calling for action to tackle organised crime in London, the Midlands and the North West who are cashing in on increased demand for construction health and safety courses.
CITB has received reports of assisted one-day Site Safety Plus (SSP) courses and the CITB Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test costing more than £1,000 – the true cost of the HS&E test is £21.
Training providers in the capital, as well as areas in and around major British cities in these areas, are being approached by individual facilitators allegedly offering to bring in large numbers of candidates and asking to use a provider’s facilities and registrations.
Some of these facilitators offer large amounts of cash as an incentive, but after the courses are run the cash is not forthcoming and the centre finds their standards may have been compromised.
CITB is currently conducting investigations and involving law enforcement agencies including the National Crime Agency, police, Home Office Immigration Enforcement and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority. Quality assurance audits are being provided to training centres, and CITB’s fraud team also identifies and targets offenders, using various methods including unannounced audit visits.
Ian Sidney, CITB Fraud Manager, said: “The intelligence we are receiving is that the fraudsters are trying hard to capitalise on a surge in demand caused by the lockdown. We know that organised crime infiltrates the testing process to get unskilled, illegal or trafficked people genuine qualifications so they can work in conditions of modern slavery on construction sites.
“This generates vast sums of money, some of which is known to help to finance terrorism and other organised criminality. You can help put a stop to it by getting in touch.”
CITB says that training providers approached by unknown facilitators should contact CITB and help prevent fraud.