Merger Plans For HSE And HSC Out For Public Consultation

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) today published a public consultation document seeking views on merging HSC and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into a single health and safety authority.

HSC believes that merger with HSE will modernise our corporate governance and provide a stronger voice for health and safety. As part of this, the consultation discusses how the HSC would become the governing body of the new authority, retaining its current independence and links with stakeholders while strengthening its capacity to challenge and support delivery.

The merger will provide:
* a more accountable structure in line with current best practice;
* better decision making and a clearer public and regulatory presence;
* for the continued independence of the safety regulator;
* a balanced structure at arm's length from Ministers; and
* membership for representatives from employer and employee backgrounds, with a seat for local government and a member designated to maintain links with the devolved authorities.

Commenting on the consultation, Bill Callaghan, HSC Chairman, said: "We believe that our governance structures - the infrastructure that supports our decision- making - have served us well in the past. In particular, the broad partnership nature of the HSC, its independence and its strong links with Local Authorities are assets we wish to maintain. Equally, the shape of the labour market, the nature of workplace risks and stakeholder expectations are very different to those which created the backdrop to the Health and Safety at Work Act thirty years ago.

"We therefore decided earlier this year that the time was right to look critically at how our governance arrangements compare with best practice, what works well at present and whether we could strengthen the links between strategy and delivery necessary to provide the accountability expected of a public body in the 21st century.

"Our conclusion is that merging the Commission and Executive into a single body will give us a more robust governance framework, improve our working practices and create a stronger voice for health and safety in Great Britain. We believe that our proposals take the best from the existing governance arrangements, updating them to instil the drivers necessary for re-invigorating the decision-making framework within which we work and strengthening our existing partnerships, particularly those with Local Authorities."

The consultation closes 5 March 2007 and can be downloaded from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/live.htm

Source: GNN


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