Memorandum by Dr R K Bentley (HSE 09)
Recently it has been announced that work undertaken
by the Competent Authority in respect of the Control of Major
Accident Hazard Regulations will be charged out at the rate of
£102 per hour. Clearly this reflects not only the salary
of an inspector, but the many otherwise irrecoverable overheads
associated with supporting the inspectors' work. Whilst there
has been some adverse comment about both the introduction and
the level of these charges, and most of us who work as consultants
in health and safety are not able to demand such a rate, it does
not seem disproportionate when compared with what one is charged
to consult, say, a solicitor.
It is not therefore the purpose of this submission
to criticise this charging rate. What I do wish to bring to the
attention of the inquiry, is the disparity between how an inspector's
time is being charged, and estimates of costs incurred by industry
which are used in the cost benefit assessments which are part
of regulatory impact assessments now published for proposed new
Example 1. Consultative Document 142.
In annex 3, at para 15, the HSE costs in preparing
the regulations are stated as "the full economic cost"
and at a guess are more than double the salaries involved. Yet
in the same annex, at para 7, it is argued that the costs incurred
by businesses will be "on a salary cost basis".
Example 2. Consultative Document 147.
Similarly in annex D of this document, at paragraph
10, the costs to the HSE/other enforcing authorities are again
given as "the full economic cost". The compliance costs
stated are only for the ACoP at cost price. No mention is made
of the time spent (and thereby costs incurred) in:
Example 3. Consultative Document 150.
Paragraphs 12-14 and annex 3B give costs of
complying with MEL's. But where is any recognition made of the
time spent by industry's managers and advisors in studying the
new requirements? I probably spent a couple of hours just reading
the consultative document. If this is multiplied by the number
of copies supplied (a figure which is not available to me, but
I'll guess at 5,000), and an hourly rate similar to that charged
for an inspector's time, just studying the proposals has cost
Example 4. Consultative Document 149.
Appendix 5 at para 8 states the costs to industry
is mostly in staff time. No allowance is made for overheads.
Example 5. Consultative Document 114.
I refer to this document from two years ago,
because it is one which gives an hourly rate for a manager's time.
This is quoted as £12.72. Whilst I do not imagine a manager
controlling power presses commands anything like the salary of
an HSE inspector, I do consider that if the full economic cost
is used for HSE employees, the same should be used for industrialists.