New sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences published

The Sentencing Council’s stated intention is to increase the level of fines for serious offences, particularly for larger companies; whilst reserving prison sentences for very serious offences.

The approach laid down in these new guidelines will  increase fines across the board particularly  for very large companies.  More worryingly, many more directors, managers and junior employees will be handed custodial sentences due to a significantly lower threshold for imprisonment.

The new sentencing guidelines apply to health and safety offences committed by organisations and individuals, as well as to corporate manslaughter and food safety/hygiene offences.  They introduce a structured approach that the Court should follow, so as to calculate sentences to reach recommended starting point fines, as well as ranges of fines above and below the starting points.

Definitive Guideline. Document>>

These Guidelines are effective as from 1st February 2016

Lord’s bid to stop self employed HSW Act exemption fails

A bid to halt the government’s plans to exempt self employed people from the Health and Safety at Work Act failed

in the House of Lord’s on Tuesday (21 October), when members voted against an amendment that would have removed Clause 1 from the Deregulation Bill.

The amendment, which was tabled by Labour peer and former health and safety minister Lord McKenzie of Luton, was rejected by 253 votes to 175.

The proposed exemption stems from a recommendation in Professor Ragnar Löfstedt’s 2011 report Reclaiming Health and Safety For All, which suggested that self employed people whose work poses no risk to others could be exempted from health and safety regulations.

Special measures coming for failing care homes and homecare providers

If a school or college is judged to be failing its school children or students through lack of leadership and/or poor quality teaching, there are systems in place to encourage rapid improvement or face the prospect of closure – so called ‘special measures’.

We’ve seen these measures work in hospitals and other clinical environments over the last year and now new government proposals suggest the same structures are needed for social care provision – in both care homes and domestic settings.

Government proposals

NICE Summary of consultation responses and outcomes

Topics for new NICE quality standards and guidance to
improve the quality of social care.

The Department of Health opened up a public consultation last spring to seek people’s views on new topics for the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to produce social care quality guidance and standards on from 2015 onwards

Summary of consultation responses and outcomes for further work has now been published

Results of Consultation

G8 dementia summit international agreement.

G8 dementia summit concludes with international agreement to work together.

The countries agreed to:

  • set an ambition to identify a cure, or a disease-modifying therapy, for dementia by 2025
  • significantly increase the amount spent on dementia research
  • increase the number of people involved in clinical trials and studies on dementia
  • establish a new global envoy for dementia innovation, following in the footsteps of global envoys on HIV and Aids and on Climate Change
  • develop an international action plan for research
  • share information and data from dementia research studies across the G8 countries to work together and get the best return on investment in research
  • encourage open access to all publicly-funded dementia research to make data and results available for further research as quickly as possible.

Details of speeches from The Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health and others below