The full Judicial Review hearing in the High Court has been brought forward to March of this year regarding the dispute process of HSE’s Fee for Intervention Scheme (FFI).
In 2011 the government published its proposals for the reform of health and safety entitled Good Health and Safety, Good for Everyone. In it, they stated that:
“it is reasonable that businesses that are found to be in serious breach of health and safety law – rather than the taxpayer – should bear the related costs incurred by the regulator in helping them put things right.”
FFI was introducediIn October 2012 under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012. Under the Scheme if an inspector is of the opinion a duty holder is in ‘material breach’ of health and safety provisions, the inspector will serve a ‘Notification of Contravention’ setting out the material breach with reasons for his/her opinion and often what steps are required to remedy the situation. This then triggers recovery of the inspector’s costs at £129 per hour.
In order to proceed with a Judicial Review, a claimant must first obtain the permission of the Court to do so. In granting permission to OCS the Honourable Mr Justice Kerr observed: “It is arguable that the HSE is, unlawfully, judge in its own cause when operating the FFI scheme: and that the scheme is either unlawful or being operated in an unlawful manner.”
Many employers already feel that FFI has had an adverse effect on their relationship with the HSE already. The results of this review can be far reaching and will likely have a larger impact on the reputation of the HSE and its process. We will endevour to keep you informed.