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HSE inspectors have a range of tools at their disposal to help secure compliance with the law, and to ensure a proportionate response to criminal offences. Inspectors may offer duty holders information, and advice, both face to face and in writing. This may include warning a duty holder that in the opinion of the inspector, they are failing to comply with the law. Where appropriate, inspectors may also serve improvement and prohibition notices, or they may prosecute. The choice of enforcement action is proportionate to the breach.
HSE's enforcement policy is normally to prosecute those who fail to comply with an improvement notice. However, there are occasions when it is not appropriate to prosecute and no further action is taken in relation to the notice. This would normally occur where prosecution is not in the public interest (for example, the client has ceased trading or, they have done enough work to essentially comply but there may be a minor deficiency which does not give rise to a health and safety risk). However, it should be noted that HSE will continue to monitor and enforce health and safety standards in these cases.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received from (a) employees and (b) employee organisations within the higher education sector on (i) the frequency and effectiveness of inspections by health and safety executive (HSE) inspectors and (ii) the level of unresolved complaints to the HSE about higher education institutions. 
1. In marshalling HSEs inspection resource, HSE seeks to target poor performers. The key criteria in establishing the frequency of inspections are the risks presented by particular duty holders, premises or industries and the ability and willingness of duty holders to manage those risks. Where the risk is low and duty holders ability high, visits are less frequent than where the risk is high and duty holders are failing to manage those risks. In targeting the inspection resource in this way, HSE believes it has the greatest impact on reducing work-related deaths, injuries and ill-health.
2. In 2003, HSE ceased to set targets for the number of inspection contacts. Such targets encouraged short visits to low risk places, whereas the Health and Safety Commission's strategy for workplace health and safety 2010 sought a sharper focus on injury and ill-health priorities, and more substantial contacts with a carefully selected range of duty holders. Over the last five years or so, the actual time HSE inspectors have spent interacting with and encouraging duty holders has increased by 23 per cent.
3. Important as inspection is, the frequency of inspections is not a particularly useful metric. The Health and Safety Commissions strategy fully recognises the importance of inspection, and the threat of enforcement, as a powerful motivator for improved standards. But to be most effective, they need to sit alongside other interventions, such as encouraging partnership working, communications, and so on.
4. HSE sees higher education as a mature sector. The risks are for the most part well known (including those associated with laboratory work with hazardous chemicals), well understood, well managed and there
are well-established networks and institutions for their management. In line with the approach set out in paras 1-3 above, HSE has therefore no general proactive inspection programme.
5. However, this year, some proactive inspection will take place examining higher education institutions management of work-related stressHSE Inspectors will visit about 120 universities. Work related stress is one of the priority topics identified in the Commissions strategy for workplace health and safety 2010
6. This inspection activity follows a series of seminars in the autumn of 2006, to which all higher education institutions were invitedand which nearly 50 per cent. of all institutions attendeddesigned to equip institutions with knowledge and skills to tackle work-related stress through the use of HSEs Stress Management Standards. This programme of inspection will look at whether the Management Standards (or any equivalent approach) is being used, or if it is, assist in ensuring action is maintained.
7. A second programme of inspection activity will look at the management of slipping and tripping hazardsa hazard the sector recognises as a particular issueanother of the Commissions priority topics. These inspections will follow a series of nationwide seminars run by HSE, in partnership with the sector, which will equip attendees with the knowledge and skills to manage slips and trips.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in each local authority ward in Peterborough constituency received incapacity benefit in each year since its introduction. 
|Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance claimants by local authority ward in Peterborough at the dates shownby 2003 ward boundaries|
1. All figures supplied have been rounded to protect the confidentiality of claimants.
2. All data represent a snapshot in time of claimants on the computer system, and will therefore exclude a very small number of cases that are held clerically.
3. Areas have been defined by matching claimants postcodes recorded on the computer systems to the look-up list provided. Any claimants with missing, partial or incorrect postcodes may be excluded.
4. Ward level data are not available prior to August 1999.
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data
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