Mr Ian Whewell, Chair, HSE
Mr Bob Kyle, UKOOA
Mr Wes McDonald, IADC
Ms Jane Bugler, IMCA
Mr Paul Holman, BROA
Mr Bill Tomkins, PEFD
Ms Lesley Stanley, PEFD
Ms Paula Moorhouse, PEFD
Mr Kelvin McFadyen, HID, Secretary
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, introducing Wes McDonald, Lesley Stanley, who has replaced Mark Reyland, and Paula Moorhouse.
Apologies had been received from Rab Wilson, Amicus and from Nigel Savage, Shell UK. Nigel would no longer be attending meetings following UKOOA's decision to reduce its representation.
The minutes were accepted having been circulated to members for comment prior to posting on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/charging.
The action at Min 4 on HSE to further look at the question of small value invoices was done but the position remains unchanged. A new IT system is in development and it remains to be seen whether that will ease the situation.
There were two actions against Min 18.
The action at Min 20 regarding the ICRG Report had been
The action on Industry at Min 22 was discharged through the reduced UKOOA representation.
Paper OCRG 2003/2 had been circulated prior to the meeting.
It reported on the outcome of a feasibility study to evaluate the
practicality of forecasting chargeable activity. The report
concluded that accurate forecasting was not feasible given
current systems and that the supporting activity required to make
it so was likely to impact on costs. Industry suggested that the
charging infrastructure limited contact between Duty Holders and
HSE and does not help prediction. It was suggested that some form
of fixed charge or annual fee would aid both predictability and
the conduct of business between the two sides, with a consequent
improvement in safety management. Industry indicated a
willingness to lobby for such a change.
HSE said that to switch to a levy charge would require a change to the HSW Act and that it could prove very difficult to find a suitable legislative vehicle to do that. Related primary legislation would be required on which an amendment to the HSW Act could be attached. Whilst this had been possible for the rail industry using the Transport and Railway Safety Bill, no offshore-related primary legislation was in the pipeline. However, if industry were prepared to lobby for such a change HSE would not raise objections.
Members were presented with a brief update on the
recommendations from this project (OCRG 2003/5). Dr Fullam had
made a presentation on his report to industry in May. There were
a large number of recommendations, some of which could have a
significant impact on costs and others that would have little
effect. Prior to receiving this report a wider change process had
started in HSE. The CEP recommendations impinged on efficiency
across HSE, not only the charging regimes, and fitted in with the
change process. Therefore it was decided that the CEP
recommendations should be taken forward as part of this overall
change process. There will be no immediate impact on costs. The
earliest that this could be predicted was sometime next year. It
also had to be recognised that some recommendations would have
significant start up costs that may feed into charge out rates
before benefits start to be realised.
Industry cited the Deloitte & Touche report which commented on the ratio of support staff to inspectors. HSE said that there was a need to balance the need for support and inspection staff and that this was being looked at. The result could be the freeing up of inspector time to do more front line work, or greater administrative staff involvement in front line activities with a possible reduction in the number of inspectors. The aim was to make the most efficient use of the resources we have, particularly as funding constraints mean HSE has to become more efficient.
Members were presented with the outturn figures fore 2002/03,
which showed that the rate should have been £147 per hour
rather than the £130 charged. The rate for 2004/05 had yet
to finalised. It was envisaged that the rate would not increase
and that it could probably go down. There had been some reduction
in overheads and it was thought that the new rate would be around
£150. As soon as the rate is finalised members would be
The draft report had been circulated prior to the meeting.
Members were asked if they wanted to add anything. It was agreed
that the pressure for an alternative means of charging, discussed
under the item on forecasting, should be added. It was agreed
that the IADC would coordinate an industry paragraph covering
this, to be with the Chair by the end of October.
HSE suggested that the ICRG had come to the end of its useful existence. It was already just a virtual committee that dealt with matters by correspondence. Its original purpose was to deal with common interests across the four charging regimes. Charging has settled down and there are no longer any common concerns for it to deal with and there is no apparent added value in its existence. Any concerns could be put directly to the HSC without going through this extra layer. No one demurred from the proposal to recommend that the HSC disband the ICRG.
None was raised.
It was agreed that in the interests of efficiency the next meeting should coincide with that of the HSE Industry Liaison Forum, as many members are attendees at both. The date of the next meeting is to be confirmed.