First acquittal under the new offence! – But will it result in
an increased focus on directors and senior managers?
What are the facts?
PS & JE Ward Ltd became the fourth company to be
charged with corporate manslaughter in November 2012.
It also faced allegations of failing to ensure the safety of an
The company ran a West Norfolk nursery where a worker
was killed almost four years ago. Grzegorz Pieton, 27,
had been driving a tractor when its metal hydraulic-lift
trailer came into contact with overhead cables at Belmont
Nursery in Terrington St Clement on 15 July 2011.
How was the offence alleged to be committed?
The Trial commenced on the 24 March 2014 at Norwich
Crown Court. The jury heard the Prosecution allege there
had been a succession of health and safety issues which
amounted to corporate manslaughter. In summary the
Prosecution case was:
––Mr Pieton had received no training to drive the tractor
–– The company employed a large number of workers from
Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, however health and safety
literature was not translated. Other workers were relied
upon to act as translators
––Warning signs that said “danger of death” had been
obscured by trees
–– Pipes had been laid below the power lines, but the
company had not taken up a free health and safety
It was further alleged that employees felt there was a
culture of productivity over health and safety.
The jury cleared the company of corporate manslaughter.
This is the first acquittal under the new corporate
An increased focus on directors
Notably, this is also the first corporate manslaughter case
brought in which the directors of the company have not
faced ancillary charges in a personal capacity for gross
negligence manslaughter or health and safety offences.
We will have to wait and see whether the failed prosecution
results in regulators reverting to their previous approach of
charging directors alongside the company. In the previous
corporate manslaughter prosecutions, the potential
penalties for individual directors have been concerning
enough to cause the charged companies to plead guilty
in order that the charges against the individuals are not
pursued. Click here to read our previous article headed
“Corporate Manslaughter – Are Directors The Bait?”
PS and JE Ward Limited was found guilty of breaching the
general duty of failing to ensure the safety of an employee
and will be sentenced on 6 June. We will keep you updated
regarding the outcome of this hearing.
At last! - Consultation opens on CDM
The long awaited consultation on the Health and Safety Executive’s proposals to
replace the current Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM
2007) and withdraw the Approved Code of Practice has commenced and is scheduled
to continue until 6th June 2014.
A 98 page consultation document has been published,
which is known as CD261 and sets out the proposed
amendments to the existing Regulations. The consultation
document can be found here. The current timetable for
these proposals, which are subject to Ministerial and
Parliamentary scrutiny, is that the revised Regulations will
come into force in April 2015 and will be known as the
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
While the consultation document makes it plain that there
has been significant improvement in the construction
industry’s performance on health and safety over recent
years, it remains one of the highest risk industry sectors in
which to work.
Despite the improvements made within the construction
industry, based on the HSE’s statistics, it still accounts
each year for 53 deaths to workers involved in work place
accidents (averaged from 2007/08 to 2011/12).
The proposed changes were created following an
evaluation of the current CDM 2007 via independent
research commissioned by the HSE and further to the
gathering of views from a cross-industry working group,
established under the Construction Industry Advisory
The proposals will be of interest to Clients of construction
work (including householders as Clients), Designers,
Principal Contractors, contractors, sub-contractors
(including the self-employed), CDM Co-Ordinators and
The stated policy objectives behind the proposals for CDM
2015 are to:
––Maintain or improve worker protection
–– Simplify the regulatory package
–– Improve health and safety standards on small
–– Implement the Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites
Directive (TMCSD) in a proportionate way
––Meet better regulation principles
The consultation is seeking views on several proposed
–– The structure of the draft Regulations
–– Replacing the CDM Co-Ordinator role with a Principal
–– Replacing the ACOP with more targeted guidance; and
–– Replacing the detailed and prescriptive requirements
for individual and corporate competence with a more
We will keep you updated as this consultation progresses.
Health and safety
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Health and safety
HSE Triennial review report
The first triennial review report in to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
was published by Martin Temple in January 2014. The publication is entitled ‘An
independent review of the function, form and governance of the HSE’.
The report was set up in April 2013 in order to comply with
the Government’s Policy that all Non-Departmental Public
Bodies should undergo a substantive review at least once
every three years.
The Triennial review process involved a two stage process.
Stage one involved consideration of the following two
––Whether the functions of HSE remained necessary
––Whether delivery by an arms length body was the most
efficient and effective way to deliver those functions
The conclusion reached was that there remained a
continuing need for the functions that the HSE delivers,
and a very strong case for those functions to continue to be
delivered by an arms-length body.
Stage two of the review considered whether adequate
control and arrangements were in place to ensure that the
body complies with the principles of good governance. The
conclusion of the report was that in this area, on the whole,
HSE is operating with the level of control and governance
that should be expected of an arms-length body of its size
The report made clear that there is room for improvement
going forwards and identified a number of areas where
there was potential scope for innovation and change,
to ensure that HSE continues to operate efficiently and
These are set out in the recommendations section of the
report and include:
–– A review of the Fees For Intervention regime including
gathering views from stakeholders
–– That the HSE should actively review Local Authorities
annual returns on their inspection and advisory activities
––Measuring performance in order to ensure cost
–– Completion of Professor Löfstedt recommendations
by tidying up and removing redundant legislation and,
where appropriate, by consolidating and updating
A copy of the full report is available here.
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Health and safety
*STOP PRESS – updated health and safety advice for schools
Amended guidance has now been issued for schools, head teachers and school staff providing advice on health
and safety covering activities that take place on or off school premises, including school trips. The advice applies to
academies and free schools, maintained schools, local authorities and independent schools.
The document, entitled ‘Health and safety: Advice on legal duties and powers for local authorities, school leaders,
school staff and governing bodies’ replaces a number of guidance documents on health, safety and security in
schools, including ‘Health and safety: responsibilities and powers (2001)’ and ‘Health and safety of pupils on
educational visits (HASPEV 1998)’.
The guidance has been produced in an attempt to seek to reduce the burdens placed on schools by making it easier
for them to take pupils on trips, removing unnecessary paperwork and taking steps to reduce teachers’ fears of legal
action. The document also summarises the existing health and safety law relevant to schools, both on or off school
The advice confirms that ‘Children should be able to experience a wide range of activities. Health and safety
measures should help them to do this safely, not stop them. It is important that children learn to understand and
manage the risks that are a normal part of life’.
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BREAKING NEWS! - Primary Authority Scheme extended to
When Primary Authority Schemes were first introduced, fire safety law was not
included. However, following a successful pilot jointly undertaken by the Chief Fire
Officers Association and the Better Regulation Delivery Office, the Government has
now extended the scope of the scheme. The new arrangements came into effect on
6 April 2014, and new fire safety partnerships have already been nominated.
The reform is part of the Government’s drive to reduce
burdens on business by ensuring that necessary
regulations are enforced more efficiently. The aim is that
businesses and Fire and Rescue Services will benefit from
clearer and more consistent enforcement of fire safety
regulations, along with clearer advice on how to comply
with the law.
What is a Primary Authority Scheme?
The Primary Authority Scheme (PAS) is a statutory scheme
available to businesses with a presence in more than one
local authority area. The organisation can enter into a
legal partnership with a single lead local authority, known
as the “Primary Authority”, to secure greater coordination
of regulatory and enforcement activities across all of the
Once a business has a partnership with a lead authority then
it can seek ‘assured advice’ which is intended to be bespoke
and robust compliance advice. Once given, all other local
authorities must respect the compliance advice given by the
Primary Authority to the business. The Primary Authority,
for its part, sets out an inspection plan to cover its intended
proactive work with the organisation over a designated
period. If inspectors from other local authorities visit one of
the businesses’ locations they must liaise with the Primary
Authority before taking formal enforcement action.
Does the scheme work?
PASs have existed in the health and safety and trading
standards arena for some time and there are currently
more than 600 businesses participating in these schemes
across 100 local authorities.
In practice, both sides have encountered certain challenges
through the schemes. Inspectors, for example, report that
they cannot achieve simple improvements locally without
jumping through hoops. Businesses on the other hand
have complained that non-lead authorities often ignore the
However, the scheme has recently been strengthened
with section 68 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Act 2013 (which came into force in October 2013), giving a
statutory footing to inspection plans formed under these
agreements. This means that authorities other than the
Primary Authority potentially cannot even inspect premises
without consent from the lead authority (except in an
This latest extension of the scheme to the Fire and Rescue
Services will hopefully help to address concerns raised by
many businesses, having multiple sites across the country,
that they have received conflicting advice regarding fire
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In the press release announcing the planned change to
offer PASs for fire safety, Business Minister Michael Fallon
said: “No enterprise should be held back by confusing or
contradictory advice from regulators. Primary Authority is
designed to make sure that hard-pressed businesses know
what’s expected of them under the law and receive clear
guidance on how to maintain the highest safety standards.
Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail
Consortium, said: “We’re delighted by this common sense
approach, which promotes better ways of working for all
involved. The BRC strongly supported the pilot which tested
whether this move could work in practice, and which
demonstrated that businesses and fire authorities both
stand to gain from partnership working.”
The new arrangements came into effect on 6 April 2014
and apply only to businesses operating in England and
Wales. In an area of law where enforcement action is
increasing and where penalties for breaches are high, it
remains to be seen whether businesses can benefit from a
“In practice, both sides have
encountered certain challenges
through the schemes.”
“This latest extension of the
scheme…will hopefully help to
address concerns raised by many
Road traffic and transport
Stricter enforcement on our motorways
The RAC is warning motorists that new speed cameras
expected to assist in enforcing variable speed limits on
stretches of motorways may also be used by the police to
enforce 70 mph on a widespread basis.
What is the present position?
At the moment, cameras are only used on stretches of road
affected by road works, but the Highways Agency plans to
roll them out over some of the busiest parts of the network.
How will speed limits be enforced?
New cameras, dubbed HADECS3 (Highways Agency Digital
Enforcement Camera System) are to be installed which
are designed to enforce speed limits on those motorways
that are set up to use the hard shoulder permanently or
temporarily as a running lane. There are, however, fears
that the Police could choose to use the verge-mounted grey
cameras to monitor speeds on all four lanes of traffic.
Where will the first cameras be installed?
The new cameras will initially be installed along the M1,
M6 and M25, some 100 miles of motorway within two years,
with the further roll-out amassing up to 400 miles.
When will the new cameras be introduced?
Their introduction is likely to be imminent, although no
date has specifically set.
What benefits will the cameras bring?
It is hoped the move will prevent jams and allow better
traffic flow by controlling speed limits and opening hard
shoulders to traffic during busy periods.
Will the introduction of cameras improve road
Motoring groups claim the introduction of these cameras is
not about road safety but about generating income through
fines and some experts have pointed out that less visible
cameras will have no impact on reducing the speed of
Roger Lawson, from the Alliance of British Drivers said “We
are opposed to speed cameras in general. The evidence
of their success in promoting safety is not good and in
reality what is happening now is that the Police are using
speed cameras to fund their other activities through speed
RAC Technical Director David Bizley said “While effectively
managing speeds on motorways may be welcomed
by some, the RAC remains concerned that they may
encourage motorists to drastically reduce speed as they
spot the cameras.
In response to the criticism a spokesperson for the
Highways Agency said “These are not stealth cameras, they
are more visible than they were before. These cameras
are not about speed limits. They are about smoothing the
traffic flows and increasing capacity. The onus is on the
driver to abide by the speed limit.”
Whether the new cameras have any positive impact on
road safety is yet to be seen, but motorists will need to be
extra vigilant if they want to avoid speeding convictions.
Road traffic and transport
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Road traffic and transport
Driving test unfit for purpose
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is calling for a review of the standard
driving test as research suggests that it is failing to prepare young people to drive
So what are the concerns?
Nearly a third of motorists between the ages of 18 and 25
break the law within a few years of passing their test.
Statistics obtained by the RAC show that one in five people
killed or seriously hurt on UK roads involved a young
So what are the views of young drivers?
Nearly 4 in 10 drivers surveyed for the ‘RAC Report on
Motoring 2013’ accepted that they felt nervous about
driving at night and over half of those spoken to would
have like some motorway training.
In addition, over half of drivers admitted to being
nervous when driving in adverse weather conditions and
remarkably, only a third of drivers felt confident in their
driving ability after passing their test.
RAC Technical Director David Bizley said: “What we have
learnt from our research will come as a surprise to many
parents. Young people agree they need more help to
become confident, skilled drivers and they believe that
learning more about safe driving should start at school.”
And what are the views of parents?
Three quarters of parents surveyed believe that motorway
driving should be a compulsory and integral part of driver
training, together with night time driving.
So when, if at all, will any changes be brought in?
We will keep you updated as to whether the newly formed
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency accede to the calls
of the IAM. Any such review is likely to be take some
considerable time and any changes to the present driving
test could be months, if not years away.
For many, the required changes to the standard driving test
could not come sooner and who knows how many lives will
be lost needlessly in the interim.
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“Young people agree that they
need more help to become
confident, skilled drivers.”
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Do you know your labels?
The way food processors and manufacturers can label their products is changing.
With many of the changes likely to come into force over the next year, businesses are
advised to familiarise themselves with the proposals to ensure they do not fall foul.
The key changes include:
By 13 December 2014, where and how allergen labelling
appears on a label will change. The main changes relate to
where the advice is given. Information is currently provided in
separate allergen boxes, or separate from the ingredient list.
From December 2014 the allergens should be located in the
main ingredient list, but additionally, highlighted in bold.
From 2016, it will be mandatory to provide nutrition
information on the back of packaging, whereas previously
nutrition information was provided on a voluntary basis
unless a nutrition claim was made.
Companies which already provide nutrition information
will be required to comply with the new rules for nutrition
labelling by 13 December 2014, whereas companies which
currently do not provide nutrition labelling will have until
13 December 2016 to implement the required measures.
Country of origin labelling - unprocessed meat
From April 2015, it will be a mandatory requirement to
state the country of origin or place of provenance for
unprocessed fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep,
goats and poultry. It will be a mandatory requirement
to state, on the label, in which country (or countries) an
animal was reared and slaughtered.
Comprehensive guidance to assist businesses with
compliance is to be rolled out over the coming year,
however further updates will follow as the changes are
*STOP PRESS – greater powers for food searches
The Food Standards Agency (“FSA”) has called for EU-wide powers for Local Authorities to seize fraudulent foods, in the
wake of last year’s horsemeat scandal.
This is presently a highly topical area, following a consultation by the FSA last year on their powers of entry (please click
here to see the winter 2013 edition of our newsletter and a report by MEP Esther de Lange which called for stronger policing
of the food industry and tougher penalties for food fraud (please click here to see the spring 2014 edition of our newsletter.
According to a new report considered by the Board on 5 March, the FSA believes the existing powers of inspection do
not go far enough and the present rules limit searches on premises where there is deliberate concealment. The report
considers the focus of the legislation is currently on food safety when it should be on ensuring that food is what it
claims to be.
The FSA fears that food companies are likely to resist any attempt by Britain to go it alone on this issue and also
predict industry opposition to wider searches for evidence of fraud. For this reason, it is looking to the EU to lead the
way in the reforms.
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*STOP PRESS – FSA launches consultation on audits of meat establishments
The FSA has launched a consultation on key changes proposed to the official control audits in FSA approved meat
establishments, namely slaughterhouses, cutting plants and game handling establishments.
The proposals include changes to risk ratings, use of evidence, audit outcomes and audit frequencies, and are in line
with the following objectives:
–– An understandable, fair and effective audit system
–– Assuring confidence (both internal and external) in the accuracy and consistency of audit assessments
–– Ensuring appropriate enforcement action and compliance
–– Providing understandable outcomes and recognised benefits for better performing businesses
–– Increased audit frequencies
The FSA Board discussed audit arrangements in September 2013, as part of wider considerations on compliance
in the meat industry and, acknowledging concerns raised by industry representatives, there was support for early
improvements to strengthen audit arrangements in approved meat plants.
The consultation closed on 16 May 2014 and it is anticipated that the new audit system will be implemented in July
2014, with all meat establishments to have undergone an audit under the new arrangements by February 2015.
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*STOP PRESS- FSA publishes revised Food Law Code of Practice
The Food Standards Agency (“FSA”) has published the revised Food Law Code of Practice, which provides guidance to
Local Authorities on their approach to official controls at food business establishments.
We previously reported on the implications of the new Code, and a copy of our article can be found here.
In summary, the key changes include:
–– Clarification of the descriptors used to rate and assign intervention frequencies at food establishments
–– Greater focus on businesses with persistent or serious non compliances by reducing the frequency of interventions
in those businesses with good management controls in place
–– A reduction in dual enforcement in a small number of establishments currently subject to both FSA and local
The Code requires regular review and revision so that it reflects current enforcement practices. It is hoped that
the most recent changes will ensure that businesses that are compliant are subject to less intervention from the
regulators, with a greater focus on those who fail to meet their duties.
*STOP PRESS - food businesses beware! Food hygiene rating scheme extended
More food businesses in Wales are to become subject to the food hygiene rating scheme.
From November 2014, food businesses, such as food manufacturers and wholesale providers in Wales which do not
sell food directly to the public, will come within the scope of the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013.
The scheme is already well in force across England but was introduced in Wales last year, establishing a mandatory
food hygiene rating scheme, and has recently been extended.
The scheme will now bring trade to trade food businesses within its scope, alongside those businesses that sell directly
to consumers, such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways and hotels as well as supermarkets and other food shops,
which are already covered.
Under this extension those businesses that are inspected by Local Authorities after November 2014 will be given a food
hygiene rating sticker which must be displayed.
They must also tell their customers, if asked, the rating the business has received.
Businesses are advised to review their food safety practices so that they can display their rating with pride!
A price worth paying? Hefty fines continue as businesses
and their Boards are held to account for regulatory offending
Following the Court of Appeal’s ruling in the case of Sellafield Limited and Network
Rail Infrastructure, who were recently fined GBP 700,000 and GBP 500,000 respectively
as reported in our previous article- see link here- we commented on the start of a
trend in significant fines for regulatory offences for large organisations.
A recent case reinforces that where the turnover of a
corporate approaches a billion pounds, companies can
expect fines that send a real message throughout the
However, a further significant development is the fact
this latest case specifically commented that in regulatory
cases it will be incumbent on the CEO and Board to explain
their behaviour and the steps they are taking to prevent
What was the case about?
The case involved a large water utility company which
appealed against a fine of GBP 200,000 following a
discharge of raw sewage over a six-month period when it
failed to repair its sewage pumping station at Margate.
Whilst the Lord Chief Justice accepted there had been
no actual harm caused by the discharge, he noted it was
important to consider the potential harm and, particularly
in environmental cases, the impact on the local economy.
He found that any loss of confidence in the use of the
coastal waters of Kent could have a serious effect.
Significantly, he also noted the absence of an explanation
by the company of steps taken to prevent the risk of
harm and observed there would have been no basis for
interfering with the fine even if the lower Court had
imposed a “very substantially greater one”. The appeal was
What are the ramifications?
This is a very clear signal to the lower Courts to be more
robust with the largest companies which have the ability to
pay big fines in health and safety and environmental cases,
even where there has not been a fatality, any significant
harm caused, or (as in this case) any actual harm but
where there was the potential for significant harm.
Such corporations should be warned that:
–– The Courts are likely to treat turnover as the key in
determining the level of fine, even though it is arguably
the worst indicator of affordability
–– The CEO and the Board will need to be able to
demonstrate to the regulator and the Court how the
business is ensuring an end to further criminal conduct
and what has been done to put it right, particularly
where there is a history of previous offending
–– The Court specifically said that, “in offences of the
seriousness of the kind represented by this case it is
incumbent on the Chief Executive and main board
of the company to explain to the Court the cause of
its offending behaviour, the current offence and its
proposals for protecting the public from such further
–– A record of previous offending is likely to have a
significant impact on the level of fine
–– Companies will be required to provide much more by
way of financial information to be scrutinised by the
Court as it seeks to impose fines large enough to deliver
a message to those who can influence management
decisions and attitude
–– There will be a continued significant upward trend in
penalties in health and safety and environmental cases,
even where the degree of harm is modest or non-existent
but there is a potential risk of harm
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–– Such penalties will go hand in hand with the adverse
publicity and damage to reputation
–– It will become increasingly difficult to persuade
Magistrates’ Courts to accept jurisdiction in cases where
large companies are involved, even where the actual
harm is minimal but the potential for harm existed
What is clear is that fines falling well into hundreds of
thousands for large corporations will no longer only be
reserved for cases where there has been a major disaster
We are entering a new era of sentencing practice, where
penalties are likely to be much greater than what was
previously thought appropriate for the seriousness of an
offence, and CEOs and the main Board can expect to be
held to account for what the business is doing to improve
its safety record.
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*STOP PRESS - sentencing guidelines published on environmental offences
The Sentencing Council has published the definitive guidelines on environmental offences, which aim to promote a
consistent approach to sentencing.
The guidelines, which set out clear starting points and ranges, aim to ensure that the level of fines given to offenders
is proportionate to the seriousness of the offences they have committed. It is anticipated that corporate entities which
commit more serious offences can expect a higher fine than is presently the case, whilst for individuals and smaller
organisations the current fining levels will be maintained.
Our full review of what your business can expect from this new sentencing approach can be found here.
The guidelines will come into effect on 1 July 2014 and be viewed here.
Environment Agency confirms not all premises dealing with
hazardous waste need to be registered
On 15 April 2014 the Environment Agency (EA) published an updated version of its
regulatory position statement setting out premises that are now exempt from registration
under the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 (“the Regulations”).
In 2009, the Regulations were amended so that all premises
where hazardous waste was produced, collected or
removed had to be registered with the EA. When waste was
collected from premises and taken to another location a
consignment note was required.
The updated regulatory position statement
–– The updated version of the regulatory position statement
published earlier this year allows certain places to be
exempt from registration
–– The EA will not pursue a consignment note for the
removal of hazardous waste from these exempt locations
–– Similarly, the EA will not pursue a consignee return
(other than for self-disposal) from the “collection point”
to which this hazardous waste is first taken (instead the
EA will treat this place as the place of production for the
purposes of the Regulations)
–– All other aspects of the Regulations continue to apply
–– The regulatory position statement applies in England
only and will be reviewed again in February 2016
Which premises are exempt?
The types of premises exempt from registration include
highways and railways, rivers, forests, utility infrastructures
and mobile healthcare providers (including ambulances).
The regulatory position statement only applies to specific
circumstances. For example in relation to highways where
simple, routine, minor maintenance is being carried out (such
as filling of isolated potholes) the statement applies. However,
it does not apply to planned construction and demolition
activities and works that cannot be completed very quickly
(and cannot therefore properly be described as simple).
The statement applies to places where maintenance or
pollution control activities are carried out along rivers,
canals, remote and unoccupied marine environments and
other waterways but activities at controlled areas such as
docks, marinas and ports or where any waste is collected
by or removed by a ship are not exempt.
Please click here for full details of the application of the
regulatory position statement (Table 1).
By not pursuing these specific aspects of the Regulations,
the EA will not normally take enforcement action unless
the activity has caused, or is likely to cause pollution or
harm to health.
What should businesses dealing with hazardous
Businesses should familiarise themselves with the updated
regulatory position statement.
The regulatory position applies only to the very specific
circumstances listed in the Table and may not be applied to
Businesses should therefore ensure that they understand
which activities are exempt and those to which the position
statement does not apply in order to ensure that they
continue to comply with the Regulations.
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*STOP PRESS - OFT is abolished
As of 1st April 2014 the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) was abolished with its powers being distributed across a number
of statutory bodies.
In the Winter 2013 edition of this newsletter we reported on this important development (click here for the full article).
Who will take over?
The principal transfer of responsibility is from the OFT to the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) (the former
Financial Services Authority) and the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”).
The consumer side will divide roughly in two with consumer credit regulation going to the FCA and enforcement
remaining with Trading Standards Departments. The changes to consumer credit law are likely to be minimal since it
is proposed that the FCA will simply adopt much of the existing OFT guidance on consumer credit.
The new body CMA will also have a role in acting to promote competition for the benefit of consumers, including
enforcing unfair terms legislation and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (which are to be
amended in October 2014). In addition, Trading Standards will also have this enforcement role.
Other OFT functions will be carried out by Trading Standards Departments (including some by the National Trading
Standards Board) and these include taking over cases from the Advertising Standards Authority where some form
of legal sanction (such as under the Enterprise Act 2001) is thought necessary and also the authorisation of codes of
What does this mean for your business?
Any business which came under the remit of the OFT should ensure it is ready for the key changes. Further
information can be found here, with options to register to email updates, so make sure your business isn’t left behind.
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*STOP PRESS - changes in consumer law
Businesses can expect tighter controls over their commercial practices with the implementation of the Consumer
Rights Directive (“CRD”) this summer, which aims to simplify consumer rights in certain important areas, mostly
relating to buying and selling.
The key protections include:
–– Consumers must receive clear information before they buy. This applies also to “distance selling”
–– Consumers should not be subject to excessive fees (such as excessive credit card fees) when paying a seller
–– If a purchase has been made away from a trader’s place of business, for example over the internet, the consumer
now has an increased “cooling off period” of 14 days after buying
–– There should be no excessive phone charges when a consumer rings a seller about an existing contract.
–– Additional payments are prohibited unless the consumer expressly agrees to them
These changes will have a major impact on the retail industry, and businesses are advised to review their systems,
processes and staff training to ensure they are not caught out.
There is no guidance at present, however further information is expected to be made available which we shall report
on in due course
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CC005224 - May 2014
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