Morrell's tenure hangs in the balance
Construction minister Mark Prisk has stopped short of confirming that chief construction adviser Paul Morrell will stay in his position in the long term, Construction News and Building reported.
Amidst fears that Morrell’s role could be cut as part of the coalition's austerity measures, Prisk failed to confirm this week that Morrell’s two year contract would be renewed.
Prisk's non-committal response, made in a conference session at this week's Ecobuild event, came in answer to Construction Industry Council chairman Gordon Masterson’s call that the position be retained.
Prisk said that when Morrell reaches the end of his contract in November “we will have to talk to him then.”
A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills told Building that while the minister wanted the position to continue, no cast-iron commitment could be given that it would.
“I very much value his role,” Prisk later told Building, adding: “He’s staying to the end of the contract and then we’ll sit down and talk about his role,” he said.
Industry bodies privately fear for the future of the chief construction adviser. Masterson described the Low Carbon Construction, led by Morrell, as an important piece of work and said the role was crucial to the construction industry.
“It is essential that we have a chief construction adviser to lead the charge for the industry on this otherwise it will be a false economy and a big missed opportunity. The chief construction adviser has the most important role of all and we mustn’t see the role be a casualty of austerity measures,” he said, quoted in Construction News.
Morrell also told Ecobuild that the government’s response to the IGT report, released in December, has been delayed until May.
Morrell was appointed the first ever chief construction adviser to the government in November 2009, tasked with liasing between government and industry. According to Building, the full-time position carries a salary of £120 000.
Regarding the role, Morrell said: “He [Mark Prisk] can’t categorically, 100% say it’s going to continue, but he wants it to continue.”