The last few weeks have seen a number of important events for the delivery of local authority regulatory services and improved health and safety outcomes. On 1 November, the latest health and safety statistics were released by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC). These outline the national picture for injury and ill-health for 2006/07 and the proceeding years. They tell an interesting story. Overall rates of major injury and fatalities continue to fall and indicate that we are on track to meet the Public Sector Agreement (PSA) targets for the four year period until 2007/08. However, the position regarding ill-health is not so positive. Since 2001/02, there has not been an overall improvement and clearly we need to do more if we are going to achieve Government targets for our PSA and Revitalising health and safety targets. The Chair of HSC, Judith Hackitt recently wrote to your Elected Member with responsibility for health and safety enforcement, to encourage them to continue to make a real difference and impact.
On 30 October, the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act received Royal Assent. This places a statutory requirement on all upper tier and single tier local authorities in England to develop Local Area Agreements (LAAs) to articulate how they will deliver their Sustainable Community Strategies. HSE, as a named partner, has a fundamental role to play to work in partnership with local authorities to contribute towards the health, work and well-being (HWWB) of local communities. Furthermore, the successful inclusion of a HWWB indicator in the national indicator set (again for England) should help to recognise the contribution that local government health and safety enforcement makes in promoting healthier and more economically sustainable communities. Similarly, excellent partnership activity will continue to be taken forward in Wales and Scotland to deliver improved health and safety outcomes as part of their national performance frameworks.
You will see among the items for action in this newsletter, reference to some of successes achieved to date on disease and injury (e.g. slips, trips and falls) reduction . This is indeed good news. These reports also highlight some of the key issues that local authorities are asked to consider in their work programmes for 2008/09. We look forward to hearing your views on these, and many other related issues, during the programme of regional partnership events being held across England, Scotland and Wales over the next month. Thank you.