New body set up to vet plant operator card schemes

The move comes amid concern that the proliferation of plant operator cards has been accompanied by a fall in general competency levels undermining confidence in the CSCS card standard.

To tackle the problem, several construction trade federations have formally now established a body known as the Plant Sector Representative Organisation.

The industry body will ensure national minimum technical and delivery standards are met by all card schemes.

PSRO will represent the users and owners of construction plant and advise both industry and any relevant authoritative bodies, including the Construction Leadership Council, on the standards required for the training, assessment and certification of plant-based occupations.

These include operators, maintenance, installation, inspection, hire, delivery and direct-supporting roles.

Crucially it is a requirement of the CLC that any new card scheme wishing to bear the CSCS logo must first demonstrate that they have the support of industry, which for plant schemes needs to be sought from the PSRO.

Support will only be provided once a scheme’s standards have been benchmarked against a competency framework before a scheme can then proceed with an application to carry the CSCS logo.

Kevin Minton, chair of the PSRO Board, said: “Feedback from the sector indicated that respect for card schemes is relatively low in terms of assessment and quality assurance.

“The variations among the card schemes is causing confusion with employers, who have limited time available to understand them.

“On behalf of the PSRO Board Members, we’re pleased that the construction sector federations have come together to form the PSRO and are starting to provide overarching solutions to these employer concerns.

“We also acknowledge the co-operation of CITB and of all the card schemes who have joined the Certificating Bodies Group.”

Plant Sector Representative Organisation (

The board consists of representatives from the partner bodies – Build UK, Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA), Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS), Home Builders Federation (HBF), National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) and the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA).

Two sub-groups have also been established. These report to the board and include a Technical Review Group and a Certificating Bodies Group.

The Technical Review Group consists of representatives from each of the partner bodies and its role is to advise the board on skills, training and card scheme certification processes.

The Certificating Bodies Group was formed to provide the card schemes and awarding organisations with a voice to the PSRO Board to ensure collaborative working in order to provide the right level and type of services to industry.

One of the first and most important tasks of the Technical Review Group was the development of a competency framework.

This details the compliance requirements for certification bodies, ensuring clarity, transparency and consistency for card schemes that wish to attain CSCS Partner Card Scheme recognition and bear the CSCS logo.

CITB and the PSRO have now agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which sets out how the two organisations will work together on the implementation of any relevant requirements of the card scheme criteria.

This includes the PSRO in providing assistance with the development of the CITB short-duration plant training standards for plant operators. This is the first such agreement that CITB has drawn up with any SRO.

The PSRO plans a webinar in early 2023 to discuss its work and provide further clarity to employers on competency requirements, carding and certification schemes.

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