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    HSE INSPECTION CHARGING SCHEME HERE TO STAY

    hseinspectors1Report supports retention of Fee for Intervention (FFI)

    The HSE cost recovery regime (FFI) implemented from 1 October 2012 places a duty on HSE to recover its costs for carrying out regulatory functions from those found to be in ‘material breach’ of health and safety law.

    A material breach is where the Inspector is of the opinion that health and safety law has been broken and that the breach is serious enough to notify the offender in writing.

    An independent report has now concluded that the scheme, designed to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses who break the law, has proven effective and should stay.

    The report recognises that HSE inspectors have implemented FFI “consistently and fairly” and “found no evidence to suggest that enforcement policy decisions had been influenced in any way by its introduction”.

    The independent panel which conducted the review was chaired by Alan Harding, Professor of Public Policy at Liverpool University. Other participants were representatives of the GMB trade union, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Department for Work and Pensions.

    No viable alternative

    The report authors found that the professional approach adopted by HSE inspectors has ensured any challenges raised by the scheme during its first 18 months were minimised.

    The evidence suggests the concerns voiced about FFI have not manifested themselves to any significant or serious extent and that ‘generally inspectors and dutyholders continue to work together in improving health and safety management’.

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    Companies paid £10.7m in fees for intervention from its introduction in October 2012 to January 2014. This included £2.8m paid by construction firms.

    However, the report found that fears FFI would be used to generate revenue have “proven to be unfounded” adding that “there is no viable alternative” that can achieve the same aims concluding that:

    “FFI has proven effective in achieving the overarching policy aim of shifting the cost of health and safety regulation from the public purse to those businesses who break health and safety laws.”

    Judith Hackitt, Chair of HSE, said:

    “Both HSE and the Government believe it is right that those who fail to meet their legal health and safety obligations should pay our costs, and acceptance of this principle is growing.

    This review gives us confidence that FFI is working effectively and should be retained. We will continue to monitor the performance of Fee for Intervention to ensure it remains consistent and fair.”

     

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    hseinspectors3

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