The Fee For Intervention Scheme (FFI) by which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recovers fees from businesses they deem to be in “material breach” of health and safety legislation has been with us for three years as of 1 October 2015.
FFI is the system by which the HSE recover the costs of investigations when there has been a material breach of the law, the Inspector is of the opinion there is or has been a “material breach” of health and safety law, and the Inspector notifies the business of this in writing. The business will then be billed GBP 124 per hour for the work completed by the HSE up to the point an enforcement decision is made. Invoices are issued every two months
The amount invoiced or the Inspector’s opinion that there is a “material breach” can be challenged by raising a Query with the HSE within 21 days of the invoice date. If not satisfied with the outcome of this, a Dispute can be raised in writing within 21 days of the HSE’s response to the Query. Decisions on Queries are dealt with by the FFI Team at the HSE, and Disputes are decided by a panel of two HSE staff and one independent member. A business will not be charged for raising a Query but will be charged for the HSE’s time if a Dispute is not upheld.
The HSE’s most recent accounts (2014/15) confirm income for the year from FFI as GBP 10,150,000, up from GBP 8,706,000 the year before. The scheme is likely to remain, especially as the HSE has dropped the idea of duty holders voluntarily paying for inspections following consultation with a number of organisations.