What’s the cost? The Fee for Intervention scheme
Since October 2012, the Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme has given the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) a statutory power to recover its costs from those found to be in material breach of health and safety law. The HSE may recover its costs simply by serving notice of contravention followed by an invoice on the company in question. If a company disagrees with the invoice, it may dispute it. Controversially, the process for disputing the invoice involves appealing to the HSE itself — not exactly an independent tribunal.
Businesses responding to an FFI face a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, paying a relatively small amount charged by the HSE may seem a relatively cost-effective way to deal with a compliance issue, especially when compared with the cost and uncertainty of appealing against an invoice.
On the other hand, companies are rightly reluctant to pay an invoice where they disagree with the HSE officer’s opinion that they were in material breach. In such circumstances, payment seems like an admission of liability. This article takes a closer look at the implications of paying an FFI and, in doing so, suggests that a more robust response to the regulator is often warranted…
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