From April 2022, a new free app is set to make the process of checking CSCS skills cards at construction sites a lot simpler, improving site safety and tackling fraud in the process.

At the moment, different trades are signed up to 38 different card schemes which display the CSCS logo. This can lead to all kinds of complications when checking documentation and potentially to workers taking on roles they’re not suitably qualified/ trained for. That might be because a card has expired and so mandatory training is not up to date or possibly due to fraudulent cards being used. It’s also thought that inefficiency in the system of CSCS checks might have contributed to cases of modern slavery.

Time for change

Back in December 2020, the Construction Leadership Council called for change, issuing an update which stated that: “by 31 March 2022, all card schemes must use smart technology which has the capability to electronically check agreed information relevant to a cardholder, using a common interface, without the need to manually enter data”.

To meet this requirement, the 38 CSCS card scheme operators came together to develop the CSCS Smart Check app – a solution that will allow all 2.1 million cards in the construction industry that display the CSCS logo to be electronically verified quickly and easily in a single place.

Chair of the working group that’s behind the new app, Andy Reakes, said:

“Having one app to electronically check all cards at the site gates, whether physical or virtual cards, will make life easier for employers and those responsible for checking cards on site. It doesn’t matter what card turns up at the site gates – from asbestos to welding, if it displays a CSCS logo it will be compatible with the CSCS Smart Check app.”

The new app works by scanning a CSCS Partner Scheme card, verifying whether it is genuine and if its details are correct. It has a live feed into the databases of each card scheme, enabling it to quickly alert employers to any discrepancies or fraudulently obtained cards.

When the roll out of the app begins this April, it will Initially function as a standalone application, meaning it will be incompatible with many existing site entry systems like turnstiles. While employers will be able to continue to use their existing checking systems (and it is expected that a period of transition may see multiple systems in use at the same time), CSCS will be reaching out to employers and other stakeholders to encourage a switch to the new app over time.

Look out for the CSCS Smart Check app, available for free for Apple iOS and Android devices.

Get all the details about the CSCS Smart Check app here.


Feature image (for illustration purposes only): Billion Photos/