Mr Steve Wing, HSE, Chairman
Mr Bob Watson, NG Transco
Mr Bill Tomkins
Ms Mark Reyland
Mr Kelvin McFadyen, Secretary
1. The Chairman welcomed Bob Watson to his first meeting as a replacement for Clive Musgrave. Apologies were received from David Hutchison, Northern Gas Networks, Paul Clark, AIPGT, Steve Gay, Scotia Gas Networks and Chris Clarke, Wales & West Utilities.
2. The minutes were agreed by correspondence and published on HSE’s website.
3. Min 12 – A note on the costs was sent out with the agenda.
4. Min 13 – Members were informed that the Board papers with the results of the flexible working pilots are on HSE’s website.
5. Min 15 – This would be covered under agenda item 6.
6. Details were circulated at the meeting. It was hoped that this data could in future be sent out with the agenda. Because Gas Transportation was a small scheme fluctuations in the outturn were more noticeable. HSE is continuing its efforts to reduce costs through efficiencies.
7. The proposed rate of £112 ph had been advised to members in advance. A paper on the proposed rates will go to the HSC meeting on 6 December. Subject to their approval the rates would be submitted for Ministerial approval and the making of the 2006 Fees Regulations. If members had anything they wanted brought to the attention of the HSC in the paper regarding charging they should let Mr Tomkins know as soon as possible.
There has not been a Level 3 dispute for some years, but two have now arisen in other regimes. This has caused HSE to review the procedures published on its website. This is mainly a tidying up exercise to reflect organisational changes and the reality of what happens with queries. The procedures refer to the Disputes Panel Chair as HSEs Director of Safety Policy, a post that has not existed for two years. Queries are supposed to be directed to the finance branch in the first instance. In most cases the finance branch simply forwards the query to the charging team responsible. Consideration is being given to whether the charging teams should become the first point of contact, thus removing a link in the chain and speeding up responses.
HSE will be contacting the independent members of the disputes panel to see if they are still willing to be called upon. If not industry members will be asked to make fresh nominations. The independent members should have a good knowledge of the industry and be without current industry connections.
Industry reported some difficulties with forecasting how much their costs would be, particularly near the year-end. The Secretary advised that the current IT system could produce a report of uninvoiced chargeable work in the system, and that this should also be available with the new system coming on line. If operators ask how much unbilled work there is in the system, the data will be provided. The data will only be accurate at the time the report is run, but it should give a good indication of what was to come. Requests for this information can be e-mailed to HIDCHARGE@hse.gov.uk.
As mentioned a new IT system is to come into operation. It is inevitable that there may be glitches with errors/double-accounting, unfortunately, occurring during the changeover phase over the next 4/6 months. Whilst everything will be done to make this as seamless as possible mistakes can happen. Should invoicees notice anything odd with their bills they should get in touch with the Charging Team in Aberdeen as soon as possible. This can be done by e-mailing HIDCHARGE@ hse.gov.uk.
The possibility of future business being done by correspondence was discussed. It was agreed that the need for a meeting would depend on the items for discussion. Subject to this the next meeting was set for 10 October 2006. It would be in London and follow the COMAH meeting set for that morning.