The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has hit back at criticism that its new ten-year strategy is light on local authority and key stakeholder engagement.
The strategy, revealed by HSE in June, fleshed out its responsibilities as the Building Safety Regulator.
HSE described working with partners and stakeholders as ‘core’ to successful delivery of its strategy. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) said, when the strategy was revealed, that it was ‘disappointed’ the strategy had so little engagement or input from stakeholders.
A HSE spokesperson responded: “The longstanding and successful co-regulatory partnership between local authorities and HSE remains at the very core of what we do.” HSE added that it views partnership working as being essential for delivery of its new strategy and recognised how important it is to work with others, pointing out that two of the major themes of the strategy were a relevant HSE and a collaborative HSE, with partnership working and delivery with local authorities at the heart.
The Building Safety Regulator role, first announced in 2021, was created as part of changes to improve building and fire safety following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. HSE also has extended responsibilities in chemical regulation.
HSE board chair Sarah Newton wrote in her blog at the launch of the strategy: “As ever, our fundamental principle is to ensure that those who create risk take responsibility for controlling it. Those who fail to do so will be held to account and bear the cost.
”There are five key objectives in the strategy including: reducing work-related ill-health; ensuring people feel safe where they live and work; and enabling industry to improve safety to prevent major accidents and support net zero. Further objectives are maintaining Great Britain’s record as one of the safest countries to work in, and ensuring that HSE is a great place to work and attracts and retains talent.
CIEH noted the HSE’s role as Building Safety Regulator meant it would be performing a “new and ever more vital safety function” and that it “should be funded appropriately by central government to fulfil this important role”.
CIEH policy and campaigns manager Tamara Sandoul added: “We are disappointed that some of HSE’s key regulatory partners have not even been mentioned in its new ten-year strategy. Local authorities are key strategic partners for HSE on both the regulation of health and safety in workplaces and in their new role as the Building Safety Regulator, through multi-disciplinary teams.
“We would therefore have expected to see a bit more engagement with local authorities and other key stakeholders during the development of this important strategy. We hope that HSE increases its collaboration and joint working as more detailed plans are developed on the back of this strategy.”
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