HSE Fee for Intervention Charging Scheme
The new cost recovery scheme, introduced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last year with the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, is getting into full swing, with Fee for Intervention (FFI) invoices sent out in January 2013 totalling a sum of more than £727,000.
Under the regulations, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.
According to the latest report of Geoffrey Podger, the Chief Executive of the HSE, to the body’s Board on 30th January 2013, the HSE fee for intervention bills went out in the week commencing 21st January 2013.
The report indicated that the total sum invoiced for the two months from October to November 2012 was £727,644.81, which arose from 1418 FFI invoices.
A “broad breakdown” of the invoices was said to be as follows:
- 10% of invoices were for values greater than £1000
- 70% of the invoices were for less than £500
- 30% were for less than £200.
How much does FFI cost?
The applicable fees are set out in the document HSE47 Guidance on the Application of Fee for Intervention (FFI) and start at £124 per hour. This will include the total time for the HSE to deal with each material breach right through to conclusion which, in some cases, could be a prosecution case. The fee is meant to cover the following:
- Writing notifications of contravention and reports
- Preparing and serving improvement or prohibition notices
- Follow-up work to ensure compliance (e.g. site visits, telephone calls, e-mail, correspondence, reviewing documentation provided)
- Taking statements
- Specialist assistance – where this is required from the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) or a third party, those costs are recovered at the relevant rate applied by HSL or the third party
- Gathering information/evidence
- Assessing the findings and the documentation of inspection, investigation and enforcement conclusions
- Recording conclusions and inspection, investigation and enforcement information
- Reviewing investigations to ensure progress and appropriate lines of enquiry are followed
- Research related to the material breach that is needed to carry out the tasks outlined above.
The rates charged have been calculated by taking into account the costs and overheads incurred by the HSE in performing its functions. This includes gross salaries of staff, accommodation costs, travel and subsistence. There is no maximum charge set under FFI. Invoices must be paid within 30 days. The HSE has procedures in place to deal with invoice disputes and these are explained in HSE47.