LAC 67/2 (rev5) - Setting priorities and targeting interventions
Local authority circular
- Subject: Setting Priorities and Targeting Interventions
- Open government status: Fully open
- Target audience: Local authority health and safety regulators (practitioners and managers)
This Local Authority Circular (LAC 67/2 (rev 5) is guidance under Section 18 Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) and replaces LAC 67/2 (rev 4.1) and all earlier versions.
The LAC provides LAs with guidance and tools for priority planning and targeting their interventions to enable them to meet the requirements of the National Local Authority Enforcement Code (the Code).
In May 2013 HSE published the National Local Authority Enforcement Code (the Code). The Code was developed in response to the recommendation in “Reclaiming health & safety for all: an independent review of health & safety legislation” by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt for HSE to be given a stronger role in directing Local Authority (LA) health and safety inspection and enforcement activity and as an outcome of the Red Tape Challenge on health and safety.
The Code is designed to ensure that LA health and safety regulators take a more consistent and proportionate approach to their regulatory interventions. It sets out the Government expectations of a risk based approach to targeting. Whilst the primary responsibility for managing health and safety risks lies with the business who creates the risk, LA health and safety regulators have an important role in ensuring the effective and proportionate management of risks, supporting business, protecting their communities and contributing to the wider public health agenda.
The Code provides LAs with a principles based framework that focuses regulatory resources on the basis of risk. It requires LAs to consider a range of regulatory techniques (interventions) to influence the management of risk by a business.
LAs are responsible for regulating over 1.7 million workplaces and it is neither proportionate nor effective to deliver a regulatory function based on the regular inspection of individual workplaces – particularly since many of those workplaces will already be managing their risks effectively.
Inspection can be very effective in the right circumstances – where individual face-to-face contact with a dutyholder is necessary to influence their management of risk. However, it is the most resource intensive form of intervention and should be limited to the highest risk premises; conversely it may not be considered the best use of public resource to inspect comparatively lower risk premises.
Alongside the Code, HSE assists LA targeting by means of the production of a list of national priorities for LAs (outlined in Annex A) and the publication of a list of specific activities in defined sectors that are suitable for targeting for proactive inspection (see section 2). LAs should also maintain a deterrent by ensuring they have the ability to take suitable action against those businesses who fail to meet their health and safety obligations.
Implementing and complying with the Code will ensure that LA regulatory resource is used consistently and to best effect. Using risk based targeting should free up resources and facilitate the provision of advisory visits and support to deliver the growth agenda particularly with new business start-ups.
This LAC provides LAs with guidance and tools for setting their health and safety priorities and targeting their interventions to enable them to meet the requirements of the Code.
1. Setting Priorities
- In delivering their priorities LAs should ensure their planned regulatory activity is focussed on outcomes. The Code provides flexibility for LAs to address local priorities alongside the national priorities set by HSE.
- LA’s should construct their work plan for a given year to deliver specific outcomes. The plan is likely to consist of work to deliver those national priorities set by HSE, work to deliver local priorities and be accompanied by an inspection programme that meets the requirements of the Code.
- To inform LA regulatory interventions, HSE commits within the Code to providing specific sector strategies with associated national planning priorities. The national priorities are drawn from HSE’s sectors strategies and can be sector and/or topic based. HSE will review the national priorities annually (in September/October) in time to inform LA planning (See Sector Strategies and Annex A – Summary of National Priorities).
- Matters of Evident Concern (MECs) are defined as those that create a risk of serious personal injury or ill-health and which are observed (i.e. self-evident) or brought to the inspector’s attention. Matters of Potential Major Concern (MPMCs) are those which have a realistic potential to cause either multiple fatalities or multiple cases of acute or chronic ill-health.
- LAs should monitor MECs or MPMCs dealt with during advisory or other regulatory visits as well as complaints and incidents to identify any matters that may present a potential significant local issue.
- Where LAs, individually, or through their Liaison groups, become aware of an issue that may be novel or an emerging problem they should alert HSE (via the dedicated area on HELex or via email@example.com ). This will allow the issue to be considered further and a decision taken as to whether national action may be appropriate e.g. issuing a safety bulletin/alert or a centralised intervention is necessary.
Primary Authority inspection plans
- Primary Authority (PA) inspection plans should be focussed on outcomes related to specific priorities. The inspection plan should follow the principles of the Code with proactive inspection consistent with the list of activities/sectors published by HSE. If issues are identified with a PA business as a result of local intelligence (RIDDORS, adverse defect or insurance reports etc.) contact should be made with the Primary Authority to check and share each other’s information. This will help determine a proportionate and consistent response and ensure that any national implications can be considered.
2. Targeting interventions
- LAs should use the range of techniques (interventions) available to increase their impact and reach to influence behaviours and improve the management of risk. LAs should decide, plan and target their health and safety interventions based on the outcomes and priorities that they are trying to address.
Focussing on priorities and outcomes
- To assist LAs to target their resources HSE has published a list of higher risk activities falling into specific LA enforced sectors appropriate for targeting for proactive inspection. Under the Code proactive inspection should be used only for the activities on this list or where there is intelligence that risks are not being effectively managed.
- Not all national priorities are on the list of activities/sectors suitable for targeting for proactive inspection. This is because some priorities are better suited to other interventions e.g. LAs should not specifically inspect premises for the presence of asbestos but can seek to raise awareness of the requirement to manage asbestos. (For information on the range of intervention types see Annex C - Examples of Intervention Types)
- LAs should expect to explain to the business why they are being inspected. A business can complain to the Independent Regulatory Challenge Panel when they consider that they operate in a lower risk sector and have been unreasonably subject to a proactive health and safety inspection by an LA. Where the Panel upholds a complaint, HSE will work with the LA in question to assist the LAs implementation and compliance with the Code.
- HSE has developed a risk-based approach to complaint handling and incident selection criteria, which LAs should adopt to help target their reactive interventions and make best use of resources.
- Risk rating premises based on their health and safety performance may provide useful information for an LA to assist the determination of relative intervention priorities. The Code supersedes all previous guidance and risk ratings alone should not be used to determine the use of a particular intervention or to decide an intervention frequency. However, whilst it is likely that premises rated Category A have been rated such because they have been judged as not managing their risks effectively, you should ensure that you have evidence to justify the risk rating. Confidence in management considered in isolation is not sufficient to justify an A rating.
- The means of risk rating premises using the four Category (A, B1, B2 and C) premises risk-rating system based on a business’s health and safety performance can be found at Annex D - Risk Rating.
- Advisory visits or reactive regulatory interventions such as dealing with complaints and incident and ill health investigations provide a good opportunity to consider how businesses manage health and safety.
3. Reporting performance
- Under the Code, LAs should ensure they have a means of monitoring, capturing and sharing health and safety intervention, enforcement and prosecution activity. LAs must make this information available and share it with HSE via the LAE1 return to allow the preparation of national data. This national data will be on the HSE website to assist LAs when benchmarking and peer reviewing their work against other LAs.
- The LAE1 is limited to the capture of occupational health and safety regulatory activity required by HSE. LAs are however at liberty to report to their LAs or members a greater set of activity or information than that required by HSE on the LAE1. (See Annex E - Recording Local Authority Activity and Enforcement Data (the LAE1)).
Application to Petroleum and Explosives Licensing Regimes
The Code applies to all LA enforcement under the Health & Safety at Work etc Act. This includes the requirement to follow a risk-based approach to regulation for petroleum certification and petroleum and explosives licensing and the enforcement of relevant health and safety legislation at petrol filling, non-workplaces in relation to petroleum storage and licenced explosives sites e.g. Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) and the explosives/petroleum regulations.
However, the Code does not require intervention and enforcement activity related to petroleum certification or explosives licensing to be: undertaken in accordance with the guidance in this LAC, or reported via the LAE1.
In practice, enforcing authorities for petroleum and explosives sites will need to ensure, by risk-based proactive inspection visits, that site operators are complying with the goal setting duties set out in the relevant health and safety legislation or for domestic and non-workplaces petrol is stored in accordance with the petroleum storage regulations and any applicable licence/certificate conditions.
The application to petroleum and explosives in this way is because the requirements for recording via the LAE1, the national priorities, the risk rating scheme and the List of activities/sectors for proactive inspection by LAs were developed to address conventional health and safety issues and not the potential for high hazard/low frequency major incidents with the potential for substantial off-site effects that petroleum and explosives sites can pose.
For further information on addressing the risks posed, regulators warranted to enforce the relevant legislation at certificated petroleum sites or licenced explosive sites should consult: