Last edited 23 Nov 2020

Fee for intervention FFI

In 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced a fee for intervention (FFI) scheme which allows them to charge companies where safety breaches are found. If the HSE undertakes inspections and no material breaches are found, or the company is compliant, no charges are made.

An independent review of the fee for intervention scheme was undertaken in 2013 which found that its application had been successful and there was no ‘viable alternative’ which could meet the aim of shifting the cost of regulating work place health and safety away from the taxpayer to those who break the law.

It is only necessary for a charge to be levied on a company when a material breach is found. This is considered to be where there has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires a notice in writing to be issued.

The fee for intervention is applicable to all dutyholders where the HSE is the enforcing body. This includes:

A material breach of the law is charged at £154 per hour and the total number of hours charged is based on the time it takes to identify the breach and remedy it.

In October 2015 it was reported that invoices issued to construction companies under the scheme for costs recovery had increased by 40% in the three years since it was introduced. See 40% increase in HSE cost recovery invoices for more information.

In September 2016, OCS Group won the right to a judicial review of the way the HSE handles FFI appeals, on the basis that they are acting as prosecutor, judge and jury.

In January 2017 it was revealed that fees had reached £15m in 2016, up 23% on the year before.

Also in January 2017, it was reported that the nature of the scheme would be questioned at a judicial review brought by facilities management firm OCS. This is seen as an attempt to have the fees bill overturned and the system for deciding appeals quashed.

In February 2017, proposals were put forward for an impartial body to rule on disputes over fees. An HSE spokesperson said; “HSE has always kept the dispute process under review and following a recent application for a judicial review we believe the time is right to move to a dispute process which is completely independent of HSE.”

In March 2017, it was reported that changes would include; a right for dutyholders to obtain evidence used by HSE; an independent appeals panel and a right to make submissions to the appeals panel. The changes must be in place by 1 September 2017 to avoid further court action.

In April 2017, HSE began a consultation into the proposed changes. The consultation closed on 2 June 2017. Following the consultation, HSE launched a revised process for considering disputes of invoices issued under the fee for intervention scheme. This involves all disputes being considered by a panel independent of HSE.

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