Minutes of HSENI Senior Management Team meeting - March 2019

Minutes of the HSENI Senior Management Team (SMT) meeting held on 4 March 2019 at Ladas Drive, Belfast

In attendance 

  • (Chair) R Kidd
  • B Monson
  • N Monson
  • L Burns

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes of last meeting

The minutes from the January SMT meeting were agreed.

3. Update on Action Points

  1. ACTION - Incident notification escalation procedure - COMPLETE.
  2. ACTION - Review ‘lone worker safety policy’ - COMPLETE.
  3. ACTION - Lone worker training to be organised - Personal Safety training being delivered by Quell on 26 February and 20 March. Feedback was very good from the first course.
  4. ACTION - Raise Chemicals Memorandum of Uunderstanding issues with HSE (On hold until EU exit legislation is completed).
  5. ACTION - Complaints – Principal Inspectors to review open complaints to ensure timely recording and closure (ongoing).
  6. ACTION – Roll out of HSE GB Management Standards - this exercise will commence with a letter from Acting Chief Executive week commencing 21/01/19, the survey will be issued in early February – COMPLETE.
  7. ACTION – A small working group to be set up, chaired by the head of training to develop a documented programme of visits across groups - Group met a bank of 3 assigned Inspectors from other operational areas who will give 4 weeks each to the Major Investigation Team trainees. A proforma will be used to report back on all visits and competences observed. All are content with this approach – COMPLETE.
  8. ACTION – Need to develop and agree with the new GB internal assessor, a formalised programme to ensure that every trainee has the opportunity through visits to demonstrate all competencies necessary for Professional Practice Competency Framework (PPCF). As above.
  9. ACTION – Trainee induction programme to be developed. COMPLETE.

4. Corporate Health, Safety and Welfare

SMT noted no incidents since the last meeting. It was noted that an inspection of the office at Ladas Drive has taken place since the last meeting (week commencing 21 January) and no issues were highlighted.

5. Audit, Risk Management and Finance

There has not been an Audit and Risk Management Committee (ARMC) meeting since the last SMT.

The Risk Register was discussed and it was agreed that new emerging risks would be added as necessary. The SMT Emerging risks are attached at the Annex with the following changes:

  • Staffing risk the likelihood has been changed to “3”;
  • A new emerging risk has been added in relation to the significant pressures in processing notifications due to staff availability;
  • A new emerging risk has been added in relation to delays in delivery of CMS and the impact on payments and capital monies. SMT discussed finance to end of January 2019, the budget remained on target with spend at end of January running at 81% on salaries / other running costs and programme spend at 31% (This figure reflects amended accounts.) SMT will continue to monitor budget management until year end.

6. HR

SMT considered the absence statistics for January 2019. L Burns explained that the HSENI absence rate for January (5.9%) compared to DfE (5.1%) and the wider NICS (6.3%). On average 3.1% of HSENI’s absences accounted for 52.5% of the lost days. In January 88% of staff didn’t have any absence at all. The cost of absences in January was £17,000.

Appointments / Vacancies

  • Higher Scientific Officer vacant as of August 2018. Efforts to fill this post are underway.
  • 5 trainee inspectors will commence employment week commencing 11 March 2019.
  • It was noted that some HSENI staff will be called on to assist with the C3 arrangements in relation to dealing with specific Brexit technical issues.

Other mix of vacancies / illness / promotion continue to cause some pressures within HSENI. SMT considered a number of planned moves to help alleviate pressures but acknowledge that these are not long term solutions as the pressures swiftly resurface in other areas of the business. Given the way the NICS system works it is extremely difficult to have succession plans in place to prevent what could be significant disruption. The above situation is being managed and monitored. We continue to liaise with NICS HR on these issues.

7. Case and Project Work

SMT discussed the current caseload of the Major Investigation Team (MIT). 26 cases at investigation stage. Eight cases with the PPS (NI), eight cases are in the court system. There is currently only limited capacity in MIT to respond to incidents involving fatalities (Other cases will be dealt with in groups).

SMT discussed the testing phase of the new Case Management system. Phased testing has identified issues that are being worked through. The nature of some of the issues mean that the project is going to deliver less than anticipated in this financial year. The intention is to hold back on new modules so staff will not actually see any loss of functionality when the initial changeover occurs and new modules will be brought online later.

8. Business Planning

SMT noted that the bilateral meetings have almost completed which will provide much of the information needed to help produce the draft operational plan for the incoming year.

9. Performance Monitoring

B Monson updated SMT on the HSENI performance statistics using the new Cube system as detailed below (last year figures in brackets):
NOTE: All stats are provisional and should not be relied upon.

  • Total RIDDOR reports – 2097 (2414)
  • Work related fatalities – 14 (9)
  • Over three days – 1644 (1793)
  • Major Injuries – 275 (430)
  • Dangerous Occurrences – 89 (82)
  • Member of Public injury – 78 (98)
  • Year to date visits – 5104 (5896)
  • Advisory Activity – 1966
  • Complaints – 773 (802)
  • Improvement Notices – 84 (54)
  • Prohibition Notices – 130 (147)

10. Board Business

The next Board meeting is due to take place on 17 April 2019.

11. Any other business

There were no items raised.

12. Date of next meeting

The date of the next SMT meeting is to be arranged. 

Annex: Emerging risks

Date Risk Impact Likelihood Action Escalate to HSENI risk register
19/11/18 Falling number of applicants to trainee inspector competition Moderate Moderate Consider undertaking a review of trainee inspector recruitment and training No
21/1/19 Staff resourcing across all operational groups is tight and service delivery susceptible to unexpected absences such as sick leave etc. High High HOGs to monitor and report to SMT. Reduce group output where necessary. Keep board informed. Keep O&L informed. Yes
21/1/19 Impact of volunteering for C3 and other EU Exit matters may cause significant strain on operational and admin groups Moderate Unknown HOGs to monitor and report to SMT. Reduce group output where necessary. Keep board informed. Keep O&L informed. Yes - when impact is known
4/3/19 Significant pressures in processing notifications due to staff availability. Moderate Moderate RM to develop an action plan which will prioritise the notifications and allocate staff to meet demand and reduce / stop work in order to facilitate priority work. No - not at present
4/3/19 9 CMS – technical issues with the implementation of the new CMS resulting in potential delays Moderate Moderate Modular approach to deployment being used to minimise disruption to normal operation. No - not at present