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Friday, 5 January 2024, Louise Hosking, Executive Director of Environmental Health
I had the pleasure of sitting in on an engagement workshop between members of our Food Advisory Panel and the Food Standards Agency (FSA). This meeting. facilitated by our policy team, saw Helen Woods, Policy Development lead for the FSA’s Achieving Business Compliance (ABC) programme, seek the input and insights of our Food Advisory Panel to help shape the outcomes of this important piece of work. The outcome of the ABC programme will have far-reaching consequences for our members working in food safety, so having the opportunity to proactively feed into this process was just another wonderful example of the positive work driven by our member-led Advisory Panels.
Our Housing Advisory Panel continues to be exceptionally busy. We have published written evidence on the Renters (Reform) Bill. This evidence was developed through the panel and submitted to the House of Commons Renters (Reform) Public Bill Committee. It will form the basis for our work on the Bill during its passage through parliament. One of our panel members, Dr Henry Dawson, who is also a Senior Lecturer in Housing and Public Health at Cardiff Metropolitan University, gave oral evidence to the Committee.
Environmental protection is a broad area of EH. We have been working with this Advisory Panel to focus on key priorities here. By prioritising our approach we can be more targeted in our advocacy and campaign work to create clear calls for action which result in changes to benefit EH outcomes.
In the meantime we have been using our voice to campaign on air quality including calling for an urgent re-evaluation of air quality regulations revocation.
We have recognised feedback from members to support members working in health and safety more. I met with the All London Boroughs Health and Safety Liaison Group virtually and look forward to engaging with this group moving forward. Everyone from this group agreed our most important issue was capacity and capability.
I am continuing to be active on members’ behalf in the work being undertaken with the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Alliance which brings together professional membership organisations as a single voice. This group was effective in campaigning for a re-think of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill which may have seen not only a wide range of health and safety legislation but other legislation sunsetted.
Back in June CIEH was vocal in its concerns in respect of Smarter Regulation. We have been monitoring activity in government and in September we highlighted comments made by the Secretary of State for Business and Trade which included his remarks that the government should be able to deregulate including through the smarter regulation programme. We recently convened members from across the Advisory Panels to support our response to the consultation on Smarter Regulation with some excellent outputs and insights. Keep an eye on our website where we publish all responses.
CIEH members are bringing a crucial regulatory perspective to the work of the OSH Alliance. Our members are regularly in contact with micro businesses and organisations who would not otherwise have access to individuals with our knowledge set and this is why it is so important for us to be at this table. The OSH Alliance is coming together with a focus on mental health and wellbeing in 2024. Again, our unique perspective to consider this as a public health issue across EH puts us in a unique position to advocate across EH.
From The Sunday Times to housing trade press, we continue to be strong in our media engagement. I spoke to BBC Points West regarding the concerns around an increase in pests and rats in particular. I was also interviewed by The Sunday Times who ran a piece on the climate change and public health impacts of cooking with gas stoves.
Image: BBC Points West
You can read all our recent press releases on our website and a recent blog on how our internal policy professionals work alongside members to create external engagement across a range of platforms working alongside our marketing and communication team.
If you have an idea for a blog or would like to write a blog about your EH experience, please email [email protected].