Cost recovery arrangements for HSL/Other contractor support work


OG status:
Fully open
Author unit / section:
Target audience:
All HID Inspectors, Band 0 to 6 etc

Cost recovery arrangements for HSL/Other contractor support work


1 This SPC replaces SPC/Admin/69 and describes HID's arrangements for recovering the costs of work that is undertaken by HSL staff or by other contractors. This may be:

  • Reactive support work (primarily to support incident investigation); or
  • Assessment of specific technical elements of safety cases (SCs) or safety reports (SRs)


2 Costs are recovered from operators or duty holders for the work of HID staff in relation to COMAH, Offshore and GSMR activities. Guidance on this is available on the HSE website at Charging activities

3 Where work by inspectors is cost recoverable, full economic costs are similarly recoverable for any elements of the work that are contracted out to HSL or to other contractors,

4 Technical and scientific support may also be provided by other contractors, where appropriate.

Work carried out by HSL

5 Relevant procedures for commissioning support from HSL should be followed. Further information is in Commissioning Research.

6 Reactive work is commissioned via the Justice Programme Science Business Partner (JP SBP). The priority of operational staff is to pro-actively manage the work carried out by HSL rather than to closely monitor costs (monitoring of costs for reactive technical support is part of the role of the JP SBP).

Work carried out by other contractors

7 Before work by other contractors can be commissioned, approval by Head of Division and Head of HID (via Head of HIDHQ) is required, through additional expenditure bids.

Key Issues

8 To avoid misunderstandings (and, potentially, cost recovery disputes) the key issues for inspectors to address are that:

  • Everyone involved clearly understands that work is cost recoverable;
  • The duty holder is aware of the scope and nature of the work to be carried out (for reactive work, so far as is possible without compromising disclosure considerations);
  • The procedures detailed below (paragraph 12, actions a, b or paragraph 13 actions a, b) are followed to enable correct billing for cost recoverable work;
  • The need for technical support is reviewed as work proceeds, and the duty holder informed where significant changes to the plan of work are made.

9 Further detail on all of these issues is provided below.


10 The HID inspector commissioning support is responsible for the actions described below. Where more than one HID inspector is involved in an investigation, the regulatory site inspector is responsible for these actions unless an alternative approach has been agreed. For SR/SC assessment work, responsibility lies with the assessment manager.

Input from HSL

11 The commissioning HID inspector should:

  • Establish whether the work to be carried out is cost recoverable. Any uncertainties should be clarified with CI4 (application of costs prior to the invoice) or HID HQ1A (operation of cost recovery arrangements)
  • Ensure that HSL staff understand the cost recoverable nature of the work and provide them with the correct site ID number (to enable HID's cost recovery team to associate HSL invoices with the correct project on COIN)
  • Agree with HSL the scope of the activities to be undertaken (subsequently this should be confirmed in writing), and a plan of work.
  • Inform the duty holder of;
    • the scope and nature of the work (for reactive work, so far as is possible without compromising disclosure considerations),
    • its cost recoverable nature and
    • the extent to which this work has been contracted out.
  • It is recommended that this information should be confirmed in writing, particularly for significant packages of reactive work. Notification to duty holder - example an example of text that could be used for this purpose.

For reactive work, the commissioning inspector should also;

  • Regularly review the need for technical support as an investigation progresses (particularly during the early stages). Agree and record alterations to the plan of work (additional lines to be followed/ work that is to be extended or abandoned). This is important both to:
    • enable demonstration that the requirements of CPIA to explore all reasonable lines of enquiry have been met; and
    • ensure that all the work undertaken was, in fact, necessary.
  • Inform the duty holder where the scope of the work to be carried out changes significantly, particularly where this will result in increased costs. Again, it is recommended that this should be confirmed in writing.
    • Inform HSL when further input from HSL is required after a summons has been issued. HSL will then set up a separate job for this input. In the event of a successful prosecution, costs for this work may be recovered at a later date.

Input from other contractors

12 The commissioning inspector should:

  • Ensure that the contractor understands, and has agreed to provide, the level of detail required in relation to their activity (for inclusion in invoices). If any doubt exists, advice should be sought from HID HQ1A.
  • Notify the Cost Recovery team by email (to HIDCostRecovery):
    • The name of the contractor
    • The operator/ duty holder
    • The site/ installation
    • The nature of the work commissioned

13 Ensure that when any invoice is forwarded to HID HQ1A the correct site ID number is provided (this enables HID's cost recovery team to associate each invoice with the correct project on COIN).

Further information

Further information is available from HID HQ1A.


Notification to Duty Holder - example

Example of text to notify duty holder of HSL involvement in the investigation of a RIDDOR incident :

Further to your notification of the incident on [incident date] at [company and site or name of installation], I confirm that this incident will be investigated by [inspector's name] of [name of group/ Division etc as appropriate] and that costs will be recovered for all activities in connection with this investigation from [company name] as required by the [specify as appropriate] regulations.

HSL is HSE's in-house laboratory, operating on agency principles. It provides research, incident investigation and other scientific support to HSE. Technical support from HSL in the areas of [specify as appropriate] will form an intrinsic part of this investigation. Activities carried out by HSL staff will be invoiced as 'Contractor Costs'. A more detailed breakdown of work will be provided by HSL to accompany the invoice.

Further information on the application of cost recovery can be found at HSE's website at:

If you have any queries please either contact the investigating inspector.

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Updated 2022-11-08