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UK Government announces review of HSE

29 May 2013

On April 25 Employment minister Mark Hoban announced a review of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as part of the Government’s commitment to reform the public sector.

This follows the Cabinet Office announcement in April 2011 that all non-departmental public bodies would undergo a substantive review at least every three years to ensure that their functions remain necessary, and should be delivered independently of the Government. 

The review will assess whether there is a continuing need for the HSE’s functions, as well as whether it is complying with the principles of good governance. 

An initial review by the Government in 2010 led to the reform of 500 public bodies. Announcing the HSE Triennial Review 2013, which will be conducted in two stages, Mr Hoban said: “In 2010, we acted to close down unnecessary public bodies and ensure that those that remained were fit to deliver public services efficiently and effectively.

“Routine reviews, such as the one I am launching today, ensure that bodies such as HSE continue to be fit for purpose, and that they are providing the value for money that the taxpayer expects.”

The first stage of the review will identify and examine the key functions of the Executive. It will assess how the functions contribute to the core business of the regulator and its sponsor department the DWP, and whether these functions are still required. 

If the conclusion is that the functions are still necessary, the review will then examine whether the HSE’s current constitution remains the best way to perform those functions, or if another delivery method might be more appropriate. 

For a body to remain an NDPB it must satisfy at least one of the Government’s three tests:
*Does it perform a technical function that needs external expertise?
*Do its activities require political impartiality? and
*Does it need to act independently to establish facts?

Martin Temple, chairman of the Engineers Employers Federation, will lead the review. The size and profile of the Executive means the review will also be overseen by an independent group whose job it will be to challenge the findings. 

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