Michael Cross Director, Scotland and Northern England
In Scotland, HSE has staff based in its offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. Staff comprise a mixture of frontline general and construction inspectors, as well as chemicals industry and offshore inspectors and specialists who work across the border too. Policy and administrative staff are also based in Scotland working in HSE's sectors, corporate support and Director's Office, for example, dealing with Scottish Government liaison, partnership management and official correspondence.
HSE has approximately 270 staff in Scotland based in offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. Approximately 170 are frontline inspectors, which include about 80 general and construction inspectors, as well as chemicals industry and offshore inspectors and specialists who work across the border too. Policy and administrative staff are also based in Scotland working in HSE's sectors, corporate support and Director's Office (for example, dealing with Scottish Government liaison, partnership management and official correspondence).
Health and safety law is the same across Great Britain but there is a major difference in how crime is prosecuted in Scotland. HSE inspectors report matters they have investigated and make recommendations on offences to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), who decide whether or not to institute criminal proceedings in the public interest. In 2009 the Lord Advocate has established a specialist Health and Safety Division within the COPFS.
George Brechin, HSE Board member with responsibility for Scottish issues and Chair of PHASS
George Brechin, HSE Board member, was appointed to the board in April 2013 to represent the public interest. George is based in Scotland and has taken over as Chair of the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS).
HSE works directly with Scottish stakeholders many of whom are independent or semi-independent of their English and Welsh equivalents and in some cases unique to Scotland. This supports HSE's strategy of working with and through others and is particularly effective in a country where networks are strong and many of us know each other personally.
The Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS) was formed in 2005 to capitalise on the close network of links in Scotland and in response to requests for a specifically Scottish forum on health and safety. Over the years PHASS has evolved and experimented with different formats, ranging from the traditional committee type forum to hosting interactive open events for local employers in different parts of Scotland, on particular topics. More recently PHASS member-organisations contributed, with others, to successfully deliver the first Estates Excellence project in Scotland in Bellshill and Rigshead industrial estates in North Lanarkshire.
PHASS meets on average 2-3 times a year.
Reserved matters, like preventing work-related accidents and ill health, and devolved matters, like employers' promoting healthy lifestyles, are closely linked; the Scottish Government therefore has the power and resources to act in many areas of HSE interest; and equally: HSE's activities impact on the Scottish Government's aims. The Scottish Government is also a major health and safety duty-holder itself, and funder of Scottish public and health services which altogether employ 1 in 4 of the working population in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has responsibility for almost all areas of private sector employment, including industry, agriculture, and construction. Most public sector bodies are also devolved (NHS, local authorities and blue light services). Work with relevant Scottish Government ministers, officials and agencies is important to HSE in developing strong stakeholder relationships and in encouraging a positive leadership role on health and safety.
HSE in Scotland responds to MSPs (and Scottish MPs) who write to us on constituency matters. Regular assistance is provided in response to requests from Scottish Government officials on Scottish Ministerial cases and Scottish Parliamentary Questions.
Michael Matheson MSP, Minister for Public Health is HSE's Ministerial contact in the Scottish Government.