30th October 2018
Fee for intervention (FFI) – Is it Going to Get Worse…?
As most will be aware, the much loathed ‘Fee for Intervention’ (FFI) scheme was introduced in October 2012 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which allows its inspectors to charge for their time if they find that a business is “in material breach” of H&S legislation.
The idea of the scheme being that non-compliant businesses should pay the cost of enforcing health and safety. As a reminder – the current hourly rate of a HSE inspector’s time is now at £129.
There is now mounting pressure from MP’s to increase the number of enforcement visits by safety inspectors and more businesses to pay for inspector’s time under the FFI scheme.
Whilst the HSE has benefited from FFI, Local Authorities have not. Local Authorities are responsible for enforcing safety in lower risk areas such as retail, leisure and service-based sectors via teams of Environmental Health Inspectors (EHO’s), these Inspectors were not included when FFI was rolled out. This has left a gap which a group of MPs now wants to see closed.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health has issued a report proposing that the FFI should now be extended to Local Authorities to incentivise councils to get out and enforce standards of health and safety.
The MPs also want to amend the National Local Enforcement Code (LAEC) to allow EHO’s to carry out proactive inspections of all new premises or enterprises in their area and to allow inspections of businesses where there are higher risks of occupational ill health, e.g. due to work pressure or manual handling.
What does this mean to me?
Our opinion is that at the time of writing, it is considered unlikely that a Conservative government will make changes which increase business regulation and red tape, particularly with the current Brexit negotiations and potential fallout from this.
It should still be borne in mind however that FFI is here to stay and HSE inspectors are expected to use their powers afforded to them by the FFI scheme.
This means that if you are dealing with a HSE inspector, you must be aware that you are on the clock. At £129 per hour, it doesn’t take long for you to generate a serious bill – the average bill following a HSE visit is now over £700!
Don’t forget that the clock starts from the time the inspector arrives. This means that you should be as organised as possible if they visit. For example, you should be able to provide copies of risk assessments, training records, etc. Without delay.
If you have any concerns about a potential HSE visit, then don’t hesitate to call our team of consultants on the advice line today – 0845 459 1724.