The linking of fines to turnover is one of the most seismic changes to hit offenders in a generation.
The new Sentencing Council guidelines for Health and Safety offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene offences, which come into effect on 1 February 2016, will mean that Compliance Officers and Boards of Management will need to urgently review the provision they make for any such offences and to reconsider where such matters sit within their overall corporate risk.
We have previously drawn attention to the Sentencing Guideline Provisions. Any organisation which has not taken these changes into account should do so without further delay.
In particular, anyone who is awaiting a decision as to whether a prosecution may take place should make alteration to their provision depending upon their turnover. In general terms, penalties will be considerably higher than they have been in the past. For example, a health and safety offence which resulted in death under the previous guidelines, issued in 2010, recommended a starting point for a fine at £100,000. Now a medium size organisation having a turnover of between £10 million and £50 million could see the starting point as high as £1.6 million depending on the level of culpability.
For Corporate Manslaughter offences, the previous guidelines indicated a fine starting point of £500,000. Now a medium size organisation would see a starting point of £3 million with a possibility of fines up to £7.5 million. A large organisation with a turnover of more the £50 million faces potential fines of up to £20 million.
We have prepared a Board briefing setting out these changes. In order to obtain your copy click the download button in the panel above.
We have already delivered a number of online and face to face Health & Safety training sessions to help board members ensure that their businesses are compliant. For more information please contact Ron Reid.
Organisations failing to take these changes into account and failing to put adequate resources in to managing the risks of non-compliance in these areas do so at their peril.