The Health and Safety Executive has announced that it is planning on using private contractors to facilitate site inspections for up to another 2 years.
The latest news from the HSE Executive is that they are committed to using private contractors to carry out site inspections for possible another 2 years as they look to manage supply and demand within the sector.
Private contractors were hired in an expedited process
In January an article from Construction News showed that the HSE had appointed 2 private debt collection firms to meet the increased demand for site inspections under the pandemic. A spokesperson from the HSE told Construction News that they had hired the third-parties under the standard procurement procedures, however, it has since been revealed that the companies were hired directly in September under emergency regulations during the pandemic.
When asked about the selection process for such companies, the HSE responded with the following:
“The selection of the companies to carry out the spot-check visits was based on their skills, infrastructure, staff and expertise. They have extensive field forces and prior experience in providing similar services for the public sector. The suppliers haven’t previously worked for HSE.” (Construction News, 2021)
There have been some reported incidents of poor practice
Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol stated at a parliamentary committee that construction firms had raised concerns but there were no formal complaints in practice.
Construction News also interviewed Verity Davidge of manufacturing group Make UK, who reported the following:
“Whilst, on the whole, they have been positive, we’ve seen a couple of incidents where that inspector started that conversation on a little bit of a negative and the company felt a little bit threatened in a way, but I would stress these were isolated incidents.”: Verity Davidge
In general, the practice from the HSE Executive has not received too much opposition but these isolated incidents may show that they need to keep an eye on the hiring of contractors to carry out official duties in the future.
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