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Securing compliance


37. HSE and local authorities share responsibility for enforcing health and safety law and work together to secure consistent standards. HSE works to secure compliance in over 880 000 establishments and local authorities in around 1.2 million registered establishments.

38. HSE and local authorities secure compliance through a mix of inspections, investigations formal enforcement work and other activities. The mix of inspection and investigation is based on the principle that preventing harm is the primary aim. HSE selects incidents for investigations in line with criteria in the HSC’s Enforcement Policy Statement and selects complaints for investigation in line with HSE’s Complaints Procedure.

39. HSE will continue to name offenders and comment on trends with penalties in the annual Offences and Penalties Report. The Health and Safety Executive and Local Authority Liaison Committee (HELA) will produce its own version of this report for the local authority enforced sector.

Compliance activities

40. HSE and local authorities will:

41. As stated in Block 1 HSE has identified 8 priority programmes where action needs to be focused to deliver health and safety improvements to meet the PSA targets. Outside these, other risks which are evidently of concern or which are raised by employers or employees will be dealt with as they arise. HSE will also target particularly efforts to secure compliance in the following industries and hazards:

For more information go to

Local authorities

42. The number of workers in the local authority enforced sectors is increasing and the role of local authorities in enforcement will continue to grow in importance. Local authorities will be expected to carry out about 300 000 enforcement visits according to a prioritised inspection programme and to allocate approximately 1070 full time equivalent inspectors to health and safety. There is evidence to suggest that less local authority resource is being allocated to health and safety functions than in previous years and the HSC/E will be investigating means by which appropriate level of resource is provided and more effectively targeted, in line with the Commission’s priorities. Local authorities have a major role to play in reducing incidents and ill health and the key to achieving this is for local authorities to commit adequate resources and to work together with HSE to improve compliance, encourage consistency and promote best practice.

The Synergy Programme

43. This is a programme of work agreed by HSE and local authorities to maximise their collective influence on the health and safety system through an improved partnership and new ways of working. The programme will result in a policy framework for determining allocation arrangements between HSE and local authorities and improved operational arrangements in the field; improved strategic arrangements between local authorities, business and trade unions; improved targeting of enforcement effort with fewer interventions in lower risk premises and more in higher risk premises; and improved health and safety in premises currently not registered by HSE or local authorities. As part of this programme HSE will undertake a review of the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998 which will be linked to a wider ranging review on engaging LAs in the delivery of HSC priorities (see below).

Future relationships with local authorities

44. HSE, in conjunction with local authorities will undertake a wide ranging strategic review during 2003/4 seeking to establish the most effective ways of engaging with local authorities to deliver the Commission’s targets and priorities. Issues of communication, legislation, support and guidance are likely to feature in this programme.

45. In the interim HSE will continue to work with local authorities to:

46. More information on securing compliance in the Local Authority Enforced Sector appears in the HELA Plan for 2003/4 (go to

Updated 2009-01-06