Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Second Report

Appendix D

E-mail from the Department for Work and Pensions to the Inquiry Manager of the Committee

I refer to your letter emails dated 13 February regarding the above. In answer to your queries:

1. Legal query - The provision referred to is section 14(5) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Section 14 enables the Commission to direct persons to conduct investigations and inquiries, and to make reports on them to the Commission, and subsection (5) enables the Commission to cause such a report, "or so much of it as the Commission thinks it, to be made public at such time and in such manner as the Commission thinks fit." The draft Order would replace this subsection with a new section 14(5) which has the equivalent effect but confers the power on the Executive.

2. Commissioners - As I mentioned in my letter dated 12 February all HSC Commissioners are appointed through open competition in accordance with guidelines set down by the Office of the Commissioner of Public Appointments. A wide range of bodies are informed of vacancies when they arise. The type of organisation consulted at shortlist stage depends on the appointment Listed below are the current Commissioners, who they represent, who was consulted on the shortlist and current employment:

-  John Spanswick - represents larger employers, during his appointment the CBI, EEF- the manufacturers' organisation, the Construction Confederation and the Chemical Industry Association were consulted. John is Chairman of Bovis Lend Lease.

-  John Longworth - represents larger employers, during his appointment the CBI was consulted. His current employment is Group Company Secretary of Asda Wal-Mart.

-  Judith Donovan - represents small employers, during her appointment the CBI and the Federation for Small Businesses were consulted. Judith is self employed.

-  Hugh Robertson - represents employees, during his appointment various trade unions were consulted. Hugh is employed as a policy officer by the TUC.

-  Liz Snape - represents employees, during her appointment various trade unions were consulted. Liz is Head of Policy at Unison.

-  Danny Carrigan - represents employees, during his appointment various trade unions were consulted. Danny is retired; he was previously Assistant General Secretary of Amicus. He was recently elected Councillor of North Lanarkshire Council.

-  Sandy Blair - represents local authorities, during his appointment the Local Government Association and the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services were consulted. Sandy is now retired but he was Chief Executive of Newport Unitary Authority.

-  Dr Sayeed Khan - represents professional interests, during his appointment the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Rospa and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine were consulted. Sayeed is the Chief Medical Adviser of EEF, the manufacturers' organisation.

-  Robin Dahlberg - represents the wider public interest. No consultation took place other than taking up his references. Robin is Vice Chair of the Security Industry Authority, a Lay Member on the Advisory Panel on Standards for the Planning Inspectorate and a Board member of the Local Better Regulation Office.

The Legislative Reform Order proposes a governing board consisting of a Chair and up to eleven other members, this is an increase in two from the current arrangements. This increase is to allow flexibility to bring in skills (eg financial and performance management) which may be weak or lacking on the Board.

I think it might be useful to briefly touch upon why a model of wholly "non executives" was chosen. In short this was considered to have an advantage in providing a clear separation between governing and executive functions as well as providing clear lines of accountability. The closer relationship between executive and non-executive with a "mixed" model was felt could result in reluctance on the part of non-executive members to provide the robust scrutiny of performance. Local Authorities felt strongly that a "mixed" Board provides an unequal relationship with HSE as it would be unhelpful to have a "mixed" board overseeing Local Authorities health and safety activity.

On balance the "non-executive" model was considered to deliver the best fit for a merger and is ultimately achievable. The model works successful elsewhere in the public sector, the Food Standards Agency and Environment Agency being two examples.

If you have any further queries do not hesitate to contact me.

14 February 2008

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