Department for Work and Pensions news release (EMP-070) issued by The Government News Network on 1 April 2008.
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today merged to form a single national regulatory body responsible for promoting the cause of better health and safety at work, announced Health and Safety Minister Lord McKenzie. The merged body will be called the Health and Safety Executive and will provide greater clarity and transparency while maintaining its public accountability.
The decision to merge HSC and HSE was reached after extensive consultation with stakeholders and through the process determined by the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006.
Welcoming the merger, Health and Safety Minister Lord McKenzie said: "The Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive have done an excellent job over the last 30 years in bringing about significant improvements to health and safety at work.
"However, to face the challenges and demands of the changing world of work, now is the right time to merge the organisations into one which can provide a platform for further improvements to health and safety at work across Great Britain."
Judith Hackitt, Chair of the new Health and Safety Executive added: "The new Health and Safety Executive will strengthen the importance of workplace health and safety in Great Britain. With a single regulatory body we will be able to strengthen the links between strategy and delivery in order to provide the accountability expected of a public body in today's workplace climate.
“The merger will not fundamentally change the day-to-day operations but will set the tone for closer working throughout the organisation.
“HSE will build on the independence, good relationships with stakeholders and in particular our relationship with local authorities to develop a revised strategy for health and safety in Great Britain."
HSE will retain its independence, reflecting the interests of employers, employees and local authorities and is committed to maintaining its service delivery. The Board of the new Executive will assume responsibility for running all aspects of the organisation, including setting the overall strategic direction, financial and performance management and prioritisation of resources. HSE will be revisiting its strategy to develop a long term view for the next five years, which will be published towards the end of 2008.
The merger will mean:
- There will be a single national regulatory body responsible for promoting the cause of better health and safety at work
The current Chair of the Commission becomes Chair of the Board of the new Executive
Existing Commissioners are appointed as non-executive directors of the new Executive for the remainder of their term of office with the relevant responsibilities of the new roles
The potential size of the Board of the new Executive will be no more than eleven members plus the Chair and members will continue to be appointed by the Secretary of State
All the fundamental contents of the Health & Safety at Work Act remain
None of the statutory functions of the previous Commission and Executive will be removed
There is no change in health and safety requirements, how they are enforced or how stakeholders relate to the health and safety regulator - no health and safety protections will be removed
Notes to editors:
1. The HSC and HSE were originally established as two, separate, non-departmental bodies with working practices and delegated powers set to distance the Commission from the day-to-day working of the Executive.
2. The decision to merge followed extensive public consultation - in which 80% of respondents favoured the move.