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» Back to listing Fee for Intervention Update

5th March 2013

Between a quarter and a third of inspections carried out by the HSE since
its cost-recovery scheme came into force in October last year found a material
breach of health and safety law, resulting in a fee for intervention (FFI) on
the duty-holders involved.

This was revealed by the regulator’s head of field operations, David Ashton,
in a recent presentation. For the period October 1st to November 30th 2012 the HSE issued bills totalling £700,000 from 1,491 invoices. Whilst early days, the projected income to the HSE at this level would be £4.3m against an expected £37m.

Mr. Ashton explained: “The 35-per-cent cut to our budget announced in 2010 will take
us up to the General Election in 2014, so resources are a significant element
of the cost-recovery scheme. If we ask, what is best for our customers, the
answer is: an adequately resourced regulator. Thanks to FFI, we should be able
to start recruiting new inspectors soon.”

The FFI procedure, once it has been trigged by determining a material breach
works as follows. The company will get a formal notice of contravention, which
will include details of what is wrong (i.e the contravention itself), what
action is required, and information about FFI. This covers the entirety of the
inspection process and the time necessary afterwards to report on that work –
all of which is charged at £124 per hour.

Invoices are sent after two months, and the duty-holder has 30 days to pay.
There is a formal disputes and queries mechanism, though Mr Ashton revealed
that of the 1400 invoices sent so far, the number of appeals has been “in
single figures”.

Mr Ashton said the scheme in this format is not going to be extended to
local authorities because, with 400+ to cover, “it would not be practical”.

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