The HSE have announced that it is to undergo consultation on proposals to make the dispute process for its Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme fully independent.

Contractors could soon be able to count on a fully impartial panel to rule on disputes over the Health and Safety Executive’s controversial FFI charges.

The scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), was introduced in October 2012 to shift the cost of regulating workplace health and safety from the public purse to businesses that break the law and ensures the cost burden of HSE intervention is picked up by those companies and not taxpayers.

Currently, the HSE act as both Prosecutor Judge in the dispute process; with the panel comprising of two HSE Members and one independent person.

Under new plans, the panel would be completely independent, with no HSE members involved. The HSE could hope that this would help with the reputation of the controversial scheme, which despite hitting a record high of £15m of fines in 2016, still continues to lose money to the tune of £11.4m.

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive said: ‘The HSE has always kept the dispute process under review and, following a recent application for a judicial review, we believe the time is right to move to a dispute process which is completely independent of the HSE.’

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