The expectations are high but 2016 really could be a year where we all make a difference
MANAGING DIRECTOR, SELECT
Looking ahead to the coming year, there seem to be a number of very sig
nificant and important issues to deal with. Indeed, 2016 could in many ways be a pivotal year, not just for SELECT and its Members but for Scotland also.The implementation of The Scotland Bill 2015/16 and the further powers it will devolve, or not,
could lead to fundamental change. Debate around how the introduction
of a UK-wide apprentice levy will affect Scotland is another potential game changer for business in Scotland. Closer to home, the Scottish Government review of the construction industry is moving to implementation stage and regulations or guidance to give effect to The Procurement Reform Act are planned to be introduced.
Similarly, we expect to see new regulations or guidance in the Buildi
ng Standards arena, where over the next six months or so several work streams instigated by the Scottish Government are due to come to fruition.
These are but a few of the issues on the horizon but just what can we hop
e to see emerging from this important selection? Well, in terms of new devolved powers, one measure which could have significant impact for the Scottish public and our industry is Scotland being given full responsibility for consumer protection. This would, for example, provide the opportunity to finally regulate the electrical industry and once and for all do away with rogue traders.
With regard to apprentice levies, the Scottish Government has pledged to stick with Modern Apprenticeships, a system which currently serves the industry well, and we need to ensure there are no unintended consequences with the introduction of the UK apprentice levy that may damage training of young people in Scotland. On matters related to procurement, it will be a travesty, given the positive case for improvements that have been made and their broad acceptance by government, if meaningful change is not introduced to simplify public procurement, improve supply chain payment and support Scotlands economy (through acknowledgement of the local value that indigenous businesses deliver). As for Building Standards, it is make or break time and we expect telling change to fees, the introduction of on-line Building Standards processes and the adoption of a consistent and hopefully more prescriptive enforcement regime, all of which will pave the way for finally embedding Certification of Construction as the norm, given that the industry in turn plays a pro-active part. SELECT will, as usual, provide all the input and support it can to help deliver in these and other areas.
Our expectations are rightly high–we want to see positive change that really makes a difference,not just for our industry but Scottish society as a whole. All it will take is for everyone involved to have the courage of their convictions–if people are positive then real change is possible in 2016 and we will have made a difference!