Offshore Charging Review Group (OCRG)
Minutes of the Fourth Meeting Tuesday 3 April 2001- Held in Lord Cullen House, Aberdeen
Ms A Sharp HSE SPDC (Chair)
Mr I Whewell HSE OSD
Mr B Tomkins HSE PEFD
Miss J Soloman HSE PEFD
Mr M Reyland HSE PEFD
Mr G Third HSE OSD (Secretary)
Mr P Holman BROA
Ms J Bugler IMCA
Mr I Bell OCA
Mr D Taylor Kerr-McGee
Mr N Savage Shell
Mr B Kyle UKOOA
1 Welcome, Introduction and apologies
1.1 The Chair welcomed everybody to the fourth meeting of the OCRG and introductions were made around the table.
1.2 Apologies had been received from C Ransome (HID), K McFadyen (OSD) and D Krahn (IADC).
2 Minutes of the previous meeting (19th September 2000)
2.1 The minutes had been circulated to all members and no amendments were requested.
3 Matters arising (not covered by the agenda)
3.1 (Previous minutes para 5 refers) The proposal that a power to raise levies be included in the proposed Safety Bill had been presented to the Commission in January. They were unable to support it because of concerns that it might open up the possibility of the extension of charging beyond the current boundary.
3.2 (Previous minutes Para 7 refers) The delay in placing the minutes of the meetings had been rectified and copies of the previous meeting's minutes had now been placed on the Internet. Delays were not expected in the future.
3.3 (Previous minutes Para 11 refers) HSE had written to Mr
Edmund Terry, who had accepted his nomination to the disputes
procedure panel. Mr Walter Winkworth had resigned due to ill
health and members asked that Jane Soloman write to thank him for
his contribution and wish him a speedy recovery. Nomination of a
replacement was sought from the industry members.
3.4 (Previous minutes Para 13 refers) HSE had considered placing details of the nature of disputes on the internet, but decided against this because the nature of most of the queries meant that they were of little wider interest or use. There were also issues of commercial confidentiality.
3.5 (Previous minutes Para 17 refers) HSE and industry had discussed Industry Guide Annex A, Para 3.19, and agreed that no added clarity could be achieved by further redrafting. A revised Industry Guide would be distributed to duty holders to coincide with the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2001 coming into force.
3.6 (Previous minutes Para 20 refers), covered at agenda item 6.
3.7 HSE provided an update on the progress of the COMAH
Component scheme, which had considered a number of options. The
findings of the project team had been presented to industry at a
seminar in February. HSE agreed to arrange for a presentation on
the work at the next OCRG meeting.
a) Report back on last meeting
4.1 HSE reported that ICRG had accepted the draft annual report to HSC. This had reflected the OCRG concerns about the charge out rate. The report and the fees regulation paper had been presented to the Commission on 28/02/01. The Commission had noted plans for evaluation, which it considered an important project.
b) Disputes procedure
4.2 HSE provided a breakdown of the type of offshore queries/disputes received. OSD had received 32 in 2000/01 all of which were resolved, 4 of which required a variation to the charge.
4.3 The ICRG meeting had agreed that the Chairman of the Disputes Panel and an appropriate external member should jointly decide whether a dispute should be considered by the full disputes panel. This change to the disputes procedure had been put into practice since the autumn, and the revised procedures placed on the Internet.
4.4 Industry asked whether very small charges on invoices
could be aggregated, or carried over to the next period. HSE
agreed that this should be possible.
5 Finance Report
5.1 Industry was thanked for the prompt payment of invoices with only two outstanding from the 3rd quarter. The invoices for the 4th quarter had been sent out in March. The new proposed charge out rate of £133 had been presented to the commission in February and would be placed before the ministers this week. It was the first change in the rate since charging started in October 1999, but the impending General Election might delay its coming into force.
5.2 As there had been some changes in industry representation
since the last meeting, it was agreed to reissue information on
the chargeout rate calculations to industry member.
6 Efficiency Plan (Paper OCRG/1/2001)
6.1 Ian Whewell presented a paper on efficiency plans in OSD, which was welcomed by the meeting.
7 Evaluation (Paper OCRG/2/2001)
7.1 The Commission had agreed to the terms of reference of the
evaluation study. HSE would shortly decide which of the bidders
had won the contract to carry out the work. it was intended that
the successful consultants make a presentation to the next OCRG
meeting on how they would be approaching the evaluation of the
offshore charging scheme and to seek views from the OCRG. It was
agreed that the consultants be requested to provide a paper in
advance of the meeting so that industry members could consult
within their organisations. IMCA requested that the consultants
should examine the different treatment of the relevant statutory
provisions between the COMAH and offshore charging schemes.
8.1 A paper was provided for the OCRG members' information. It had been suggested by industry that we should compare our rates with MCA. HSE had met MCA last December to discuss the methodology, costs, background used to calculate our respective rates. Both government bodies had the objective of full cost recovery and took the same broad costs into account. However, direct comparability was not possible because of differing staff costs, structures and arrangements for such matters as travel time. HSE had also made comparisons with private sector charges, and concluded that overall the rates being charged by HSE, EA and SEPA did not compare unfavourably with other organisations.
9 Date of next meeting
9.1 Tuesday September 18, Rose Court London.
10 Information Paper: Offshore First Aid Training Approvals
10.1 The paper was provided at the meeting for the members' information.