Notice - Introduction

This procedure describes how HSE carries out the process of serving a notice: from considering doing so, through preparing and serving the notice, following it up and responding to any appeal.


To provide a common, transparent procedure for HSE's Operation Group staff when the issue of a notice is under consideration


The procedure covers all aspects of serving a notice under the Health & Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, including the assembling of sufficient evidence, the preparing and serving of the notice, follow up, extensions and withdrawals, and responding to formal appeals.

The procedure does not cover the issuing of notices under the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 (ELCI).


HSE will apply the principles laid down in the HSC's Enforcement Policy Statement to ensure that enforcement action involving notices is proportional to the health and safety risks and the seriousness of the circumstances


A Prohibition Notice is a statutory notice that meets the conditions described in Sections 22 and 23 of the HSWA

An Improvement Notice is a statutory notice that meets the conditions described in Sections 21 and 23 of the HSWA

A Crown Notice is a non-statutory notice issued under the same circumstances that would justify a statutory notice but is served only on the Crown


Inspectors should be alert to situations that may require the issue of a notice

Line managers and inspectors should exercise discretion and professional judgement when undertaking their allotted tasks within this procedure and ensure any decision they make to issue a notice is in accordance with HSC's Enforcement Policy Statement


Line managers should provide authoritative guidance to their staff where:

  • there are problematic, or sensitive issues to be resolved before a decision to serve a notice can be made
  • where issues surrounding extensions, withdrawals or follow up actions have been referred to them
  • where an appeal against a notice has been lodged

Inspectors should:

  • keep their line manager informed of any aspects relating to a notice which differ from normal practice or are thought likely to lead to an appeal
  • follow the steps in the procedure, ensure relevant data is recorded on COIN completely and accurately and meet the performance standards set
  • ensure any notice they serve is legally correct and provides sufficient information to enable the recipient to understand how to comply with its requirements
  • inform their line manager if any performance standard is not likely to be met and agree a revised target

Procedure overview

An overview of the procedure is provided in the attached flowchart [51kb]


Line managers should ensure, via normal management activity, that those involved in operating this procedure carry out their responsibilities in line with the standards and timescales described. However, they should carry out

  • sufficient documented checks to satisfy themselves, and to prove to any subsequent audits, that the procedure is being operated correctly; and,
  • data quality checks of COIN at provider group level, as required in this procedure.

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Updated 2020-08-04