The HSE has been forced to dramatically overhaul its procedure for appealing against Fee for Intervention bills, agreeing for the first time to disclose its evidence and reasoning to dutyholders, and to appoint a new adjudication panel of independent experts.
The restructure has been agreed in order to head off a High Court legal battle that had been scheduled for next week.
The terms of the reform have been negotiated between the HSE and facilities firm OCS Group, the company that had brought the judicial review scheduled for 8 March. The terms are set out in a legally binding “consent order” issued by the High Court on 23 February.
The document, seen by the publication Health and Safety at Work, stipulates that the new procedure must be in place by 1 September 2017, and outlines six terms that the regulator must comply with when devising in the new process.
On 9 February, the HSE issued a press release announcing that it “is to consult on proposals to make its cost recovery scheme dispute process fully independent”. It’s understood that the “proposals” are contained in the consent order, which were agreed by the two sides two days earlier – the order was submitted for the court’s approval on 7 February.