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New Section 18 Standard on Enforcement - Making a difference……

In our last LAU Newsletter, we reported that the new Section 18 Standard on making adequate arrangements for enforcement – Making a Difference – was to be released at the beginning of April. The Standard went live on the HSE website 1st April 2008.

The new Standard includes a video introduction from Judith Hackitt - the Chair of the new Health and Safety Executive – and a letter from the Joint Chairs of HELA - Paul Unsworth (Arun D.C.) and Sandra Caldwell (Deputy Chief Executive HSE) - indicating their commitment to the Standard.

The Standard applies to Local Authorities (LAs) and HSE’s Field Operations Directorate (FOD) and is based on LA and HSE good practice. Well managed enforcing authorities will find that they are already complying with the majority of the Standard. They are, however, being given 3 years to fully comply. This is partly because not all the supporting material is yet available and this will give time for enforcing authorities to embed the Standard in to their organisational cultures.

The Chair of the new HSE and Joint Chairs of HELA were both particularly keen to stress that Enforcement Authorities (EAs) should start complying with the Standard immediately and not wait until 2011.

LAs will, of course, already be fully complying with the old S18 Guidance. In the absence of newer supporting material being available, it would be sensible to maintain your current systems, for example, on maintaining a competent inspectorate.

It has always been the intention that compliance against the S18 Standard would be monitored, initially through a system based on self assessment and later some sample auditing to test the robustness of the self assessments using peer challenge. This model is increasingly being proposed for use in Local Government to reduce the burdens of auditing and is being developed by LACoRS amongst others.

The exact compliance process has still to be developed and HELA have set up a Task and Finish group to progress this work. This will form one of the future Toolkits under Performance Management.


2008 HELA Awards For Innovation

In the last edition of the newsletter we announced, due to popular demand, that we will be reinstating the HELA Health and Safety Innovation Awards for 2008.

We also announced that this year’s Partnership Conference would be taking place on 5 November 2008 at the Deansgate Hilton Hotel, Manchester.

We also announced that this year’s Partnership Conference would be taking place on 5 November 2008 at the Deansgate Hilton Hotel, Manchester.

Once again, examples of where innovative working could be demonstrated might include:

The deadline for entries is Friday 3 October 2008.

Application packs can be downloaded from HELeX at :
https://extranet.hse.gov.uk/C13/C6/HELA%20Innovation%20Awards%202008/default.aspx


Submission of Local Authority (LA) Prosecutions data for 2007/08

It’s never been easier to submit details of health and safety prosecutions that YOU have been involved with!

Following the success of last year, where 90% of Local Authorities reported either a prosecution or a nil return, we are once again using the HELA Extranet (HELex) to collect your data. We need information on all health and safety prosecutions whether successful, unsuccessful or withdrawn and it is equally important to submit a ‘nil return’ if this is appropriate, this link will take you directly to the input screens:
https://extranet.hse.gov.uk/C6/C3/LA%20Health%20and%20Safety%20Prosecuti/default.aspx


Inspection Rating System 2007/08 and National Accident Data (NAD) 2008/09

Whilst the HELA Strategy and HSC’s strategic programmes should be the primary driver in selection of premises for inspection, the NAD figures are produced annually to enable Local Authorities (LAs) to recalculate inspection ratings for work planning purposes.

HELA advice to local authorities on the ‘Inspection Rating system’, most recently issued as LAC 67/1rev.3, can be accessed at http://www.hse.gov.uk/lau/lacs/67-1rev3.htm.

Local Authorities are asked to continue to use the same scoring systems as has operated since 2001/02. However, the NAD weightings for 2008/09 (below) have been adjusted slightly. They are based on injury data up to 2006/07 from two sources: injuries reported to LAs under RIDDOR; and from the Labour Force Survey, which allows for under-reporting of injuries by employers. There have been no changes to, Catering, Restaurants & Bars, Wholesale, Leisure and cultural and offices, however, scores for all Residential Care Homes type has changed.

Premise Type NAD Weight 2008/09
Catering, Restaurants & Bars 5
Wholesale 4
Residential Care Homes 8
Hotels & Short Stay Accommodation 3
Leisure & Cultural 6
Consumer Services 2
Retail 4
Offices 1
Other Premises 6

Changes to the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2007: Service of summons on company registered in Scotland or Northern Ireland

It is not unusual for offences under health and safety legislation to be committed in England and Wales by companies which are based in Scotland or Northern Ireland but which carry out work activities from time to time in England and Wales. HSE would then rely on the provisions of s.39 Criminal Law Act 1977 to allow service of the summons in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Under the previous Criminal Procedure Rule 4.1(2), a summons could be served on a corporation by delivering it or posting it to the corporation's registered office anywhere in the UK or, if it didn't have such an office, any place in the UK where it traded or conducted business. The majority of summonses served on corporations by HSE are done so by post.

However, the recently revised Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2007 substituted a new Part 4 in place of the original Part 4 of the Rules, simplifying the rules about service of documents in criminal cases and which came into force on 2 April 2007. This new Part 4 governing service of a summons on a corporation allows service "by handing it to a person holding a senior position in that corporation" or by leaving or posting a document where the address of the corporation "is its principal office in England and Wales, and if there is no readily identifiable principal office then any place in England and Wales where it carries on its activities or business".

HSE's interpretation of this amendment was that if a company in Scotland or Northern Ireland doesn't have a principal office or a place where it carries on its activities or business in England and Wales, a summons in respect of an alleged offence in England or Wales cannot now be served on the corporation by post, only by handing it to a senior manager/director. This would have significant practical implications for HSE and this was brought to the attention of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee. The Committee accepted our concerns and has now approved the draft amendment below making possible the service of proceedings by post on companies in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The rule will come into force on 6 October 2008. Please contact the Legal and Enforcement Unit if this is likely to cause any problems in the interim.

Service by leaving or posting a document:

Rule 4.4 (1) A document may be served by leaving it at the appropriate address for service under this rule or by sending it to that address by first class post or by the equivalent of first class post.

(2) The address for service under this rule on –
(a) an individual is an address where it is reasonably believed that he or she will receive it;
(b) a corporation is its principal office, and if there is no readily identifiable principal office then any place where it carries on its activities or business;
(c) an individual or corporation who is legally represented in the case is that representative's office;
(d) the prosecution is the prosecutor's office;
(e) the court officer is the relevant court office; and
(f) the Registrar of Criminal Appeals is the Criminal Appeal Office, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL.

[Note. In addition to service in England and Wales for which these rules provide, section 39 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 allows service of certain documents throughout the United Kingdom. It provides that a summons issued under section 1 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980, a written charge issued by a prosecutor under section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, a requisition and certain other documents, may all be served in Scotland or Northern Ireland by the methods allowed by the rules in this Part].


Introduction of the new Libra court IT system

A new computer system is being implemented in all Magistrates' courts across the country at various times during 2008. Litigation teams are advised to check with their local courts whether the introduction will change the current practice for commencing proceedings. One court has already informed HSE that it will no longer be possible to arrange first hearing dates at that court over the telephone prior to receiving the information(s) and draft summons(es). In this situation, the information the Enforcement Guide recommends mentioning to the court by phone as regards the length of time to allow for the hearing should be put in writing instead. (Please see http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforcementguide/pretrial/procedure-information.htm).

Once we have a clearer picture of how the introduction of Libra will affect court procedures generally, the Enforcement Guide will be amended accordingly. Should you receive any further news from around the country on what effect Libra is having, please let us know by emailing the Legal and Enforcement general account.

Updated 2013-09-06