HSE backs down on FFI dispute

In March this year, we posted a blog explaining that the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Fees for Intervention (FFI) scheme was under scrutiny, following a legal challenge at the end of 2016.

Because of this, the FFI dispute process was to face a full judicial review hearing in the High Court this month, brought by facilities management company OCS Group UK.

When material breaches of legislation are found, FFI is the process under which the HSE charges for inspector’s time to look into these breaches.

After launching in October 2012, FFI allowed the HSE to charge companies £124.00 an hour for carrying out its regulatory functions for companies that had been found to be in material breach of health and safety law.

OCS Group challenged the scheme on the basis that it is unlawful or is being run in an unlawful manner. It argued that HSE is not being “fair and impartial” because it is acting as both judge and jury when operating the scheme.

However, this will now no longer be the case. In February 2017, the HSE announced that it had withdrawn its notice of contravention against OSC Group. It will now be introducing a fully independent FFI dispute process. In effect, the HSE has backed down on this matter.

From September 2017, if you receive an FFI bill and wish to challenge it, the HSE will no longer be the judge and jury.

The current rate of FFI is £129.00 an hour, with the average bill in the order of £700.00. Because of this, we suggest that prevention is the best option when managing health and safety.

If you would like an experienced health and safety professional to visit your site to carry out an audit to identify potential issues, call us on 01772 736522 or email admin@aegis-services-ltd.co.uk.