The article in today's paper "Health and safety's £6m shopping bill" was both sensationalist and misleading. All of the expenditure, details of which HSE provided to the Telegraph, was properly incurred with no individual staff gain involved.
The reason why HSE buys items such as fireworks, tattoo ink and a sunbed is because it undertakes research into the health and safety risks associated with their use. Similarly, we have puts a lot of effort into meeting and listening to representatives of the industries we regulate and sometimes we need to hire external venues when our own facilities are not suitable.
HSE did indeed purchase two rucksacks from an on-line shop - for carrying laptops and documents - but they scarcely qualify as designer handbags.
All of these transactions form part of HSE's accounts, which are independently audited and scrutinised every year by the National Audit Office. It did not qualify them in any respect.
Your readers might find it interesting to see the detail of the information HSE sent to your reporters that was not published in the article, so they can draw their own conclusions. It is available on HSE's website at www.hse.gov.uk/press/record/2011/telegraph031011details.htm