The draft Code of Practice for Regulators needs significant changes, said the Centre for Corporate Accountability
The draft Code of Practice for Regulators—which will apply to the Health and Safety Executive—needs significant changes, said the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA).
David Bergman, director of the Centre for Corporate Accountability said: “It is our view that this Code of Practice would, in its current form, have a dramatic effect on investigations and prosecutions undertaken by regulatory bodies. Both levels of investigation and prosecution would significantly decline. Whilst its effect would be to ‘reduce burdens on business – it is neither good for safety nor accountability. It would allow even more safety failures to be undetected, and allow those breaches which are detected - even when they are serious - to escape criminal accountability. It needs serious amendment."
In its response to the Cabinet Office, the CCA criticises three parts of the Code
• the requirement in the Code that regulators “should recognise that a key element of their activity will be to allow, or even encourage, economic progress ….";
“It [the Code of Practice] would allow even more safety failures to be undetected, and allow those breaches which are detected - even when they are serious - to escape criminal accountability. It needs serious amendment.
David Bergman, director of the Centre for Corporate Accountability
• the failure of the Code to appreciate the need for the HSE to investigate death and injury and that when they do so, inspectors, in determining what action to take, need to consider issues wider than just prevention, namely ‘accountability’, ‘justice’ and ‘deterrence’;
• the Code only allows enforcement action to be taken against those who ‘deliberately or persistently break the law”. It appears not to allow, negligent or reckless conduct to be prosecuted.
The CCA said it will be raising these issues with the Chief Executive of the HSE.
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