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    REPORT CONFIRMS RISING COST OF OFFENDING

    Considerable increases in fines imposed on larger organisations

    The Sentencing Council has published a report entitled Assessing the impact and implementation of the Sentencing Council’s Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences Definitive Guideline which came into force on 1 February 2016.

    A summary of the main findings regarding health and safety offences has confirmed increases in the size of fines imposed.

    The Council intends to investigate further the operation of the guideline and consider at that stage whether any revision of the guideline is necessary.

    Main findings – Health and Safety Offences

    The council concluded that analysis of Crown Court judges’ sentencing remarks for a sample of health and safety cases (for both organisations and individuals) suggests that the guideline is generally being applied in the manner intended.

    • Organisations – there has been a considerable increase in fine amounts for larger organisations since the guideline came into force, which was anticipated by the Council. Fines also appear to have increased (to a lesser degree) for smaller organisations, which was not anticipated.
    • Individuals – For individuals sentenced for health and safety offences, there has been an unanticipated increase in higher fines, and an unanticipated change in the use of some disposal types, however the shift in disposals appears to be a short-term change which only affected a relatively small number of offenders.
    • Corporate Manslaughter – Fine amounts imposed on organisations sentenced for corporate manslaughter may have increased since the guideline came into force (as anticipated), however this finding should be treated with caution due to low volumes.
    • Appeals – A comparison of a sample of judgments for health and safety cases heard by the Court of Appeal (both before and after the guideline came into force) suggests that fewer appeals have been successful following the guideline’s introduction (although this finding is indicative only, due to the small sample analysed).

    The Sentencing Council’s Guidelines covering health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences came into force on 1 February 2016.

     

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