Judicial review triggers regulator rethink on Fee for Intervention
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it is to consult on proposals to make its cost recovery scheme – Fee for Intervention (FFI) – dispute process fully independent.
The consultation has been triggered by an upcoming Judicial Review challenge to the current scheme.
FFI was introduced in October 2012 with the intention of shifting the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses which “break the law”.
HSE believes the system ensures the cost burden of HSE intervention is picked up by those companies and not taxpayers.
Making the process fully independent
When the HSE inspector identifies serious health and safety failings in the workplace about which they need to write to the dutyholder, then that dutyholder has to pay the costs of the HSE visit.
If the inspector simply issues verbal advice there is no charge. If there is disagreement on HSE’s decision the dutyholder can dispute it.
Until now, disputes were considered by a panel which consisted of two members from HSE and one independent person. However, after reviewing the current process HSE will consult with relevant stakeholders with a view to making the process fully independent.
A spokesperson for HSE said:
“HSE has always kept the dispute process under review and following a recent application for a judicial review we believe the time is right to move to a dispute process which is completely independent of HSE.”