The Health & Safety Executive is struggling to make as much money as it projected under its commercialisation programme, with revenue growing too slowly to make up for the cuts to its government grant, according to the regulator’s annual report. The document, which details the Health & Safety Executive’s performance over the financial year 2016-2017, also shows that the number of prosecutions that it mounted fell sharply compared to 2015-2016, and that it is also shedding staff through a voluntary redundancy programme.
Growing commercial revenue has been a stated priority at the regulator since Martin Temple carried out the triennial review in 2014. According to the annual report, the regulator generated £15.5m, representing an increase of just £900,000 on the total generated in 2015-2016. The report says, “Market conditions have meant the increase was lower than originally planned”.
According to its 2015-2016 business plan, the Health & Safety Executive aims to increase its commercial income to £35m by 2020, mainly from selling products, training and services (such as shared research projects), and providing advice to overseas governments. It comes as the Health & Safety Executive’s taxpayer funding is set to dwindle to £128.5m in 2018-2019, down from £230m in 2009-2010. Last year, this figure stood at £140m, and it is due to fall to £135.6m in 2017-2018.
The report’s opening statement, signed by the Health & Safety Executive’s chair Martin Temple and its chief executive Richard Judge, says that the year’s achievements include “continuing to live within our means, while investing in IT, digital and science which enable us to be envy more productive and effective”.
To reduce its overheads, the Health & Safety Executive ran a voluntary exit (VE) scheme last year, through which 48 members of staff took redundancy. Fifteen other staff made “non-VE scheme exits”. The Health & Safety Exit had 2,524 full time equivalent members of staff as of March 2017. In April 2014, the equivalent figure was 2,621. Of these 2,524 members of staff, there were 1,061 frontline inspectors. This compares to 1,106 in 2016.
However, the Health & Safety Executive served far more improvement notices that in recent years. Last year, there were 6,700 improvement notices and 2,850 prohibition notices served. This compares to 5,700 improvement notice and 2,900 prohibition notices in 2015-2016.
Source: Health & Safety at Work Magazine September 2017
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