Fee For Intervention – the first three years
The Fee for Intervention costs recovery scheme established under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 started in October 2012. It allows HSE to recovery cost of its work where an inspector forms the opinion that a dutyholder has materially breached health and safety law. An inspector’s time is currently charged at £124 per hour.
Between October 2012 and July 2015 HSE issued 47,830 invoices under the scheme. At the start of the scheme the average invoice to a company was £520.00. This has now risen to £770.00. The largest invoice issued to date was for £201,150.00. The amount recovered under the scheme for the year up to July 2015 was £8.7m.
If an inspector concludes there has been a material breach of health and safety law he/she will send to the dutyholder a notification of contravention setting out the inspector’s reasons. Every quarter an invoice will be issued where work has been undertaken by an inspector in relation to the breach.
If a dutyholder wishes to challenge the invoice then this must be in writing to the Fee for Intervention Team at HSE within 21 days of the date of the invoice. This is known as a ‘query’ under the scheme. This challenge can relate to the amount claimed and/or whether there was in fact a material breach. The query is determined by the inspector’s line manager.
If the invoice is upheld then a dutyholder can write again within 21 days of the decision raising a ‘dispute’. This will be determined by a panel comprising two HSE managers and an independent person drawn from either business or the trade unions. The dutyholder has no right to examine the evidence relied upon by HSE or to have a hearing before the panel.
Since the scheme began only 1,347 invoices have been challenged which represents 2.8% of all invoices issued.