Construction workers

Primary authority ‘here to stay’ but concerns must be addressed

CIEH report makes recommendations to Government’s office for standards.
28 November 2019 , Katie Coyne

Primary authority (PA) is a success but public and worker protection must be made an explicit priority, a CIEH report has found.

Under the PA scheme, a business or group of businesses may form a legal partnership with just one local (‘primary’) authority to help improve consistency of approach and advice in terms of regulation.

Overall the CIEH study found PA was successful, but it also found that EHPs raised legitimate concerns that needed to be addressed.

CIEH has made a series of recommendations – including making public and worker protection a priority – to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPPS), local authorities and businesses.

Other recommendations include: providing a single point of contact for complaints and a commitment to investigate them; publishing guidance to quality-assure advice issued; and conducting regular PA audits.

It also wants to see accessible training on PA enforcement; work with local authority practitioners to address their concerns about enforcement; and an evaluation on the success of the post-2017 changes to the scheme.

CIEH chief executive Anne Godfrey said: “In the eyes of many EHPs, PA has undoubtedly been successful in making advice on regulation and compliance more consistent.

“PA is here to stay but we have heard some legitimate concerns from the EH community, which must be addressed.

“I hope this report marks the beginning of a more open and positive dialogue between OPSS, local authorities and businesses, whose collaboration is key to the effective running of the scheme. We want to see everyone commit to improving PA and working together towards our shared and ultimate objective of protecting public safety.”

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