28 April 2007
Chief Executive admits that prosecution levels should
be "considerably higher" and tells staff
of concern at low prosecution levels, FOIA e-mail
HSE's Director General, Geoffrey Podger, has issued
a statement today saying that reduction in conviction
levels following construction sector deaths is a 'distraction',
eight months ago he e-mailed staff saying that prosecution
levels should be 'considerably higher"
see a copy of HSE's statement,
To read about the reduction in convictions in construction
sector, click here
message to staff was obtained by the CCA through a
Freedom of Information Act request.
HSE have also admitted that the increase in construction
deaths is 20-25% rather than the 10-15% that they
had originally published in its press release today.
Podger sent this e-mail subsequent an internal audit
which showed that within the sample of 126 cases considered,
there should have been three times as many prosecution.
read more about the HSE audit click
In the e-mail he tells staff that the audit:
that the principles of the Commission's Enforcement
Policy Statement (EPS) had not always been followed
in making decisions. If they had, then the number
of prosecutions would have been considerably greater
than was actually the case. The implications of
this need to concern us all."
A copy of the Geoffrey Podger e-mail is below
CCA is also suprised that the HSE is stating that
some data in the UCATT report may be inaccurate, since
the information comes from an analysis of data in
HSE's own web-based prosecution databases. If there
is any inaccuracies, this is due to inaccuracies in
HSE's own databases - which would therefore have been
seriously misleading the public.
from Geoffrey Podger
17 August 2006 10:54
To: Rachael Radway
Subject: Global Message - Enforcing in line with
STATUS: For the information of all staff in HSE
Geoffrey Podger, Chief Executive, has approved the
following message. If you have line management responsibility
for staff who do not have access to e-mail it is
your responsibility to ensure they see this
Enforcing in line with the Enforcement Policy Statement
We all agree that formal enforcement activity is
a powerful tool for achieving major change in the
management of risk and improvement in the protection
of workers and others. Our proportionate use of
enforcement powers underpins and amplifies the effect
of many of our other actions. It is therefore vital
that we have confidence and can demonstrate that
we use our powers in a way which is fully consistent
with the HSC Enforcement Policy Statement.
The Enforcement Programme was established last year
to build on the best practice available within the
organisation and make sure it is consistently applied
in all our work. While much good practice has been
identified, there is also evidence from a number
of sources including the recent Regulatory Decision
Making (RDM) audit, that there is significant scope
for improvement in our enforcement decision making
This audit, which involved experienced inspectors,
decisions taken in over 100 cases. In the majority
of cases the panel agreed with the actions taken
by inspectors and there was no evidence of over-zealous
behaviour. However it also found that the principles
of the Commission's Enforcement Policy Statement
(EPS) had not always been followed in making decisions.
If they had, then the number of prosecutions would
have been considerably greater than was actually
the case. The implications of this need to concern
The HSE Board wants to re-iterate that formal enforcement
activity (serving notices and taking prosecutions)
continues to play an essential part in what we do.
Whilst we do not want to see enforcement for enforcement's
sake, or to set specific enforcement targets, we
wish to make it clear that, in the exercise of discretion,
we expect the principles set down in the Commission's
Enforcement Policy Statement, supported by the guidance
set out in the Enforcement Management Model, to
be closely followed. It is also important that adequate
records of the decision making process are kept.
To this end we have asked Sandra Caldwell, Kevin
Myers and Mike Weightman to set out for their managers
and inspectors clear expectations on the use of
enforcement, and to make any changes to their business
arrangements that are necessary to ensure that all
our enforcement decisions are demonstrably consistent
with the EPS.
Centre for Corporate Accountability is a human rights
charity advising those bereaved from work-related
deaths, and working on issues of safety, law enforcement
and corporate accountability.