Fee For Intervention – working and here to stay

27 November 2014

The Fee For Intervention (FFI) Scheme, designed to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to those businesses who break the law, has proven effective and should stay, according to a report produced by the ‘Independent FFI Review Panel’.*

The report recognised that inspectors at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have implemented the FFI scheme consistently and fairly, since it was introduced in October 2012, and found no evidence to suggest that enforcement policy decisions had been influenced in any way by its introduction.

According to the report’s authors, the professional approach adopted by HSE’s inspectors has ensured any challenges raised by the scheme, during its first 18 months, were minimised and suggests that any concerns voiced about FFI have not been demonstrated to any significant or serious extent.

In addition, the report states that ‘generally inspectors and duty holders continue to work together in improving health and safety management’.

The Chair of the HSE, has praised the scheme and said: “Both [the] 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 FFI to ensure it remains consistent and fair.”

The conclusions from the report are that:

  • Fears that FFI would be used to generate revenue have proven to be unfounded.
  • While not popular with some inspectors and duty holders, FFI has been introduced effectively and applied consistently.
  • There is no workable alternative that can achieve the same purposes.

The report found that, in response to FFI, some of the health and safety changes made by businesses, included improvement in the:

  • Awareness of, and focus on, health and safety.
  • Frequency of training.
  • Guarding of machinery.

The report also made a number of recommendations, including:

  • The importance, for the HSE, that the revenue raised by FFI is seen in terms of its effectiveness in shifting the cost burden of certain aspects of health and safety regulation to non-compliant business and does not become subject to a revenue target system in future.
  • Urging the HSE to ensure that its system for targeting inspections is robust and able to identify those organisations who are deliberately seeking to gain a commercial advantage, by failing to comply with health and safety legislation.
  • That the threshold for FFI and the related definition of material breach remain unchanged.

If you require any further assistance on FFI, contact Citation now.

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