Annex B Health and Safety Division Thematic
The selection of the Health and Safety Division as a topic for inspection was made in the context of growing specialisation within COPFS.
The current (and previous) Law Officers had promoted greater specialisation in this area following the successful prosecution against Transco in 2005 and ICL Plastics in 2007.
The methodology included extensive contact with those working in the field including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local authorities, sheriffs, defence lawyers and others. Case examination played a significant part, 72 cases were examined in detail being 31% of the total number received by the unit.
Overall, we found that the work which had been concluded was done to a high standard and favourably commented on by many contributors. The unit made for early, meaningful discussions and good liaison with HSE and other reporting agencies.
Our main concern, however, was the time taken to conclude cases, several of which were several years old and the 'time to clear' figure was increasing rather than decreasing.
We made 38 recommendations mainly intended to speed up disposal of cases with better use of existing resources and better management information and tracking.
Seven of our recommendations were not accepted but a detailed response to all has been received from COPFS.