- Mission Statement
- Aims and Objectives
- Compliance with National Policies
- Authority Profile
- Work Achieved 2022-23 and plan for 2023-24
- Competency and Consistency of Officers
- Customer Survey
- Complaints Against the Service
- Disclosure of Information
- Agreed and Approval
- Contact Details
1.1 This Health & Safety service plan is an expression of Rother District Council’s continuing commitment to regulating Health & Safety at work.
This service plan supports the vision of Rother DC Corporate Plan (2020 – 2027) “to put residents at the heart of all we do” by delivering an effective public health service to promote and sustain a safe prosperous community for businesses and residents. Corporate Plan 2020-2027 – Rother District Council
Rother District Council commits to the joint Statement of Commitment between local authorities and HSE Regulatory Services. Statement of commitment between: Local Authority and HSE Regulatory Services – HSE
1.2 The Better Regulation Office publication ‘National Enforcement Priorities for Local Authority (LA) Regulatory Services’, placed Health and Safety at Priority number four – ‘Help people to live healthier lives by preventing ill health and harm and promoting public health’.
2.1 Health and Safety legislation in Great Britain is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive or one of the over 380 local authorities (LA) depending on the main activity. In general LA’s are the main enforcing authority for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries.
2.2 2.2 Local authorities are not responsible for – agriculture, horticulture, forestry, medicine (hospitals, GPs, dentists etc) mining, open land, quarries, and railways. Full details at Appendix 1: Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998: A-Z guide to allocation (hse.gov.uk)
2.3 Each local authority is an enforcing authority and must make adequate provision for enforcement. The LA National Enforcement Code introduced in May 2013 sets out the principles that each local authority should follow to ensure a consistent, proportionate and targeted approach to regulation based on risk.
2.4 Local authorities use different approaches to regulate businesses, including;
- provision of advice and guidance to individual businesses or groups
- proactive interventions including inspection.
- reactive interventions e.g., to investigate an accident or complaint.
2.5 Local authority inspectors may use enforcement powers, including formal enforcement notices, to address risks and secure compliance with the law. Prosecution action may be appropriate to hold those to account for failures to safeguard health and safety Local authority enforcement – HSE and LAs Working together – HSE
Within Rother District Council this duty is carried out by Environmental Health Officers within the Environmental Health Department.
‘Deliver an increasingly efficient and effective public health service which strives to promote and sustain a safe prosperous community for businesses, residents and visitors’.
Aims and Objectives
To enable the service to use its resources in an efficient and effective way, to promote compliance with legal obligations under health and safety law, and to take robust action where there is serious non-compliance that puts the safety or health of those at work, or the public at risk.
- To contribute to the growth of local businesses through the provision of proactive and reactive advice and guidance and contributing to a level playing field for business.
- To investigate complaints and reports of incidents that meet the incident selection criteria and complaint handling criteria set down by HSE.
- To target a range of interventions on prescribed national priorities and local intelligence-based priorities.
- To work in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and others to deliver this service plan.
- To support the Primary Authority Scheme.
Compliance With National Policies
All health and safety regulatory activity carried on by Rother District Council must conform to the requirements of the National Local Authority Enforcement Code. The Code requires that all health and safety law enforcement be proportionate in applying the law and securing compliance; consistent in approach and targeting of enforcement action; Rother Council must be transparent and accountable about how we operate and what those regulated may expect. Rother Council must ensure that health and safety priorities and interventions are targeted in accordance with the mandatory HSE guidance – Local Authority Circular 67-2 rev 12 LAC 67/2 (Revision 12) 2023/24 (hse.gov.uk)
5.1 Interventions are carried out in accordance with written procedures which reflect the nature of the activity under consideration. Officers have regard to the regulations made under Section 15 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the codes of practice which are issued under Section 16 of the Act, when enforcing the provisions of the Act.
5.2 In accordance with HSE and LGA advice issued 1st April 2011, food hygiene and health and safety interventions will be joined where appropriate to minimise burdens on local businesses.
5.3 RDC is committed to meeting statutory duties under Equality Act 2010. We aim to place equalities at the heart of our service planning and decision-making processes. Equalities at Rother District Council – Rother District Council
5.4 This plan provides a documented system for officers’ guidance and information and to facilitate inter authority or peer review audits.
6.1 Rother District Council recognises the emphasis placed on enforcement by the guidance of the HSE and LG Regulation (published in May 2011), in particular the need for enforcement action to ‘Maintain a strong deterrent against those who fail to meet their H&S obligations and put their employees at material risk thereby also deriving an unfair competitive advantage’ .
6.2 Rother District Council adopted an enforcement policy for the shared Environmental Health service in October 2014, Cabinet minute 14/31 is available at: EHEnforcementPolicy.pdf (rother.gov.uk)
Officers carry out enforcement in line with this enforcement policy as well as being guided by the Health and Safety Executive’s Enforcement Policy Statement and the Enforcement Management Model. Service standards and this plan can be found at Service standards – Rother District Council
7.1 Rother’s District has a population of approximately 93,100 and covers an area of 511.8 Km2 (ONS 2021). It comprises rural, coastal, and urban areas with three main towns – Bexhill, Battle and Rye. The businesses within the district reflect this diversity with care, tourism and leisure being the largest sectors.
Bexhill, the main urban development, has a significant care industry which is manifest in a high number of care homes. Battle is a year-round tourist destination. Rye and Camber are popular summer tourist attractions with Rye Harbour the location of several industrial estates. Battle, Robertsbridge and Rye all hold large annual bonfire celebrations in November which are distinct to this area.
7.2 Health and Safety work is carried out by officers who also conduct food hygiene inspections, infectious disease investigations, commercial and residential caravan site licensing, kennel and cattery licensing, risk assess private water supplies, pest control and stray dog control. A new role undertaken by the team is involvement in Project Discovery, a multi-agency team dealing with ‘Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking’ single point of contact for RDC.
7.3 The team operates from the Town Hall Bexhill on Sea and the Civic Offices Hailsham from 8 30 am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 4 30 on Friday. The service operates an agile working system. Planned out-of-hour work is undertaken and emergency calls are received by a standby system (Cornwall Council) on 01424 787868.
Rother District Council Structure
flowchart TB accTitle: Rother District Council Structure accDescr: The structure of Rother District Council's members including committees, cabinet and the chief executive A[Rother District Council \n Thirty-eight Elected Members] --- B[Cabinet] subgraph Committees C[Overview and Scrutiny Commitee] D[Planning Committee] E[Licencing & General Purposes Committees] F[Audit and Standards] G[Human Resources Committee] H[Joint Waste and Recycling Committee] end A --- Committees A --- I[Lorna Ford \n Chief Executive]
Decisions on this plan are delegated to Cllr. Field who communicates these to Mr R Parker-Harding, the Head of Environmental Health, Licensing and Community Safety.
Senior Management Structure
flowchart TB accTitle: Rother District Council Senior Management Structure accDescr: The structure of Rother District Council's senior manager, including the Chief Executive, Directors and Heads of Service A[Lorna Ford \n Chief Executive] --- B[Duncan Ellis \n Interim Deputy Chief Executive] A --- M[Ben Hook \n Director of Place and Climate Change] subgraph deputy[Deputy Chief Executive] direction LR C[Gary Angell \n Audit Manager] D[Mark Adams \n Head of Digital and\n Customer Services] E[Gary Angell \n Audit Manager] F[Chris Watchman \n Revenues and Benefits Manager] G["Ola Janowicz (deputy s151) \n Interim Chief Finance Officer"] H[Richard Parker-Harding \n Head of Environmental Services,\n Licensing & community Safety] end subgraph core[Corporate Core] direction LR I[Nicola Mitchell \n Corporate Policy & Projects Manager] J[Lisa Cooper \n Democratic Services Manager] K[Anna Evett \n Corporate Programme &\n Imporvement Manager] L[Maria Benford \n Human Resources Manager] end subgraph place[Place and Climate] direction LR N[Joe Powell \n Head of Housing & Regeneration] O[Deborah Keneally \n Head of Neighbourhood Services] P[Kemi Erifevieme \n Development Manager] Q[Jeff Pyrah \n Planning Policy Manager] end B --- deputy A ---- core M --- place
Environmental Health Structure
flowchart TB accTitle: Environmental Health Structure accDescr: The structure of Rother District Council's Environmental Health Department A[Richard Parker-Harding \n Head of Environmental Services, Licensing & Community Safety] --- B[Catherine Beaumont \n Deputy Head of Service \n Community Protection and Licensing] A --- C[Una Kane \n Environmental Health Manager \n Food, Safety, Pest & Dog Control and Licensing] B --- D[Five Senior Environmental Health Officers \n Three Licensing Officers \n Seven Pollution Control Officers \n Three Business Support Clerks] C --- E[Nine Senior Environmental Health Officers \n Two Pest Control Officers \n Two Business Support Clerks \n Stray Dog Control Contract] D --- F[Apprentice Environmental Health Officer] E --- F
This chart shows the structure for the Environmental Health service for Rother Council. A total of 21.75 full time officers are engaged in Environmental Health work for at an annual cost of £679,450.
The health and safety service of Rother District Council costs £93,530.
The work is carried out by the Food and Safety Team as part of the shared Environmental Health service and interlinks with neighbouring local authorities, Health and Safety Executive and Regulatory Delivery (Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy).
Work Achieved 2022 – 23 and Plan for 2023 – 24
8.5 The following work plan has been prepared in accordance with the National LA Enforcement Code, and Local Authority Circular 67/2 (rev 12). It seeks to use a range of interventions.
Provision of advice and guidance
- Rother DC offers advice to business through its Support and advice page
There is a range of local and national advice including specific information for rural businesses, local partnerships and regeneration projects.
- Rother District Council offers support for those starting up new businesses at our Advice, support and training page
Environmental Health Officers offer advice on health and safety at work including those thinking of starting a new business.
Health and safety – the basics for business – is at Health and safety at work – the basics for business
Proactive Interventions – Covid 19
No proactive health and safety inspections of workplaces were undertaken in 2022-3, but significant time was spent on safety advisory groups for traditional Sussex bonfires and large outdoor events.
Safety Advisory Groups
Traditional Sussex bonfires and large outdoor entertainments are held throughout the district. Some of these events are held on Council owned land and attract very large numbers of visitors. These events can pose crushing and burning risks in crowds. This work is recognised as a national priority as suitable for proactive intervention by local authorities to prevent injuries to members of the public (priority 12).
To protect public safety Rother DC chairs Safety Advisory groups for Battle, Robertsbridge, Rye, Northiam, Ewhurst & Staplecross bonfire celebrations. RDC also chair safety advisory groups for Party in the Park Polegrove and events on private land such as The Rye Jazz festival and events in Pontins, Camber Sands.
The aim of the Safety Advisory Group is to bring together the organisers, bonfire society and the local authority with Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire & Rescue, Southeast Coast Ambulance to review the safety plans for the event. The plans are discussed and advise is given, where needed, to all parties to improve arrangements.
In 2022-3 meetings were held in person to review risk assessments and other arrangements. It was a difficult year as Sussex Police decided to withdraw the involvement of their planning unit part way through the year. Their subsequent involvement in the SAG process was not consistent. Police presence on the night of bonfire celebrations was significantly reduced on previous years. Minimal contributions were made by East Susses Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS).
The partial withdrawal of Sussex Police and ESFRS from the safety advisory process caused a drop in confidence of the remaining parties. The Sussex Bonfire Council contacted Rother DC with their concerns. Rother DC intervened and secured a commitment from both Sussex Police and ESFRS to participate in the SAG process in 2023-4.
Investigation of Incidents and Complaints
All reported accidents, incidents (RIDDOR or adverse insurance reports) and complaints are subjected to the HSE’s incident selection criteria and complaints handling criteria. This means that each complaint is investigated if it poses a significant risk to safety or health. The full policy is available at Food and Health and Safety Complaint Investigation Policy – Rother District Council
Almost fifty accidents at work were reported to Rother District Council in 2022 – 23. The majority were slips, trips, and falls in places of work. One report detailed how an employee was injured whilst strimming the grass by flying stones. Another report related how a person suffered a severe cut from the use of a knife in forestry school. One fatality was reported during the year and this matter is still under investigation.
Sixty service requests were received from the public in 2022-23 about safety standards within businesses. Many concerned safety standards within the tourism and leisure sector. Safety of children’s play equipment, holiday accommodation and entertainment venues. These concerns were addressed by phone, email, and visits. When contraventions were confirmed, businesses were given a period to comply. Compliance was confirmed by digital photographs or site visits.
During other inspections it can happen that officers identify matters of evident concern. During a food hygiene inspection an officer discovered people working in a basement preparing food. The basement was in poor condition and the electrics were of particular concern. The officer instructed that the necessary improvements were made by a competent qualified electrician.
In a retail business the officer discovered two frozen drinks machines balanced on top of cans of alcohol. As well as a health and safety concern, this was also in breach of the licensing objectives, to prevent harm to children.
The same retailer had an overstocked store room which blocked the rear exit from the property.
The officer issued enforcement notices (health and safety improvement) and all works were completed.
During a Project Discovery visit to a car wash a faulty elelctrical socket was discovered.
In the same car wash, vats of acids used as a degreaser were found, raising questions about safe use and protective personal equipment and safe disposal.
Enforcement notices were issued to those responsible for the operation of the car
wash and the necessary improvements were achieved.
During 2022-3 an investigation was made into a report of carbon monoxide poisoning in a care home. A prosecution was taken against the care home owner who entered a guilty plea in early 2023. Sentencing is to be given in September 2023.
Plan for 2023-24
We will continue giving advise to businesses, responding to complaints from the public, making proactive inspections and enforcement where necessary. We will also continue with the Safety Advisory Group work.
We will deliver three projects from the HSE priority list – safety of inflatables at public events, electrical safety in hospitality, gas safety in catering. One local campaign on coffee machine safety.
There have been several serious incidents where inflatable amusement devices have collapsed or blown away in windy conditions. Inflatables can be found at many local premises, and we will raise awareness of the general risks associated with the operation of such devices. That devices are correctly anchored to the ground, there are suitable arrangements for measuring wind conditions at regular intervals, there is written documentation from a competent inspection body to show it complies with British Standard BS EN 14960. Full details at Inflatables – Rother District Council
Many hospitality venues have extended their space to make the most of outdoor areas. We will urge pubs, restaurants, and cafés to ensure outdoor electrical equipment such as lights and heaters are specifically designed for outdoor use, installed by a competent person, and checked regularly for damage or water ingress. If we identify problems, we will take action to ensure the electrical fittings are made safe. (National Priority No.6)
We will raise awareness of the risks of exposure to carbon monoxide in commercial kitchens from badly installed or faulty appliances; poor ventilation – during food hygiene inspections. If we identify problems, we will take action to make sure the gas appliances or ventilation are made safe (National Priority No.4)
Many high street food outlets have a pressurised coffee machine, which should be subject to regular servicing to ensure the correct pressure is maintained. During food inspections, we will check the correct servicing has been completed and if not, we will act.
Working with Other Regulators
The Food and Safety team will continue to work with Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, South East Coast Ambulance on safety at traditional bonfire events, other outdoor events and project Discovery.
The number of full-time equivalent officers allocated to work on health and safety regulatory activity is 1.6. The list below is of all officers authorised by Rother DC under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. Note EHORB is the Environmental Health Officers Registration Board.
|Environmental Health Officer
|Level of Authorisation Enforcement
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Health and Safety Diploma
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Env Health Degree
Environmental Health Officers outside the Food, Safety team who are also authorised:
|Head of Environmental Health
|Senior Environmental Health Officer
|Senior Environmental Health Officer
|Deputy head of Environmental Health
|Senior Environmental Health Officer
During 2022-3 a new cloud-based database was brought into use – Idox Cloud. Every accident report, service request, investigation etc is recorded on the database. The Environmental Health Manager provided training for all members of FAST, including procedure notes
All reference materials and internal work procedures are stored on the RIAMS website. In addition, there is material available on the HSE’s general website and secure extranet site, a library of law encyclopaedias and reference books is maintained in the office.
Competency and Consistency of Officers
The shared Environmental Health service between Wealden and Rother has created resilience, improving collective knowledge and experience.
Annual appraisals are conducted to identify training needs which form an annual training programme. For 2023-4 training will be directed towards maintaining health and safety skills around accident investigations. Every member of the team also attends external seminars, to progress their professional knowledge and self-development.
During 2022-3 team meetings were usually held every six weeks predominantly in person, except for the poor weather in December. Senior managers have attended at least one team meeting during 2022-3. Full notes of meetings are available on the internet library FAST Team Meetings | RIAMS.
Complaints Against Service
Rother operates a local complaints procedure which allows anyone dissatisfied with the Council’s service to pursue their complaint and expect a quick response. No complaints were made against the service in 2022 – 23.
A proportion of businesses are contacted online to seek their views on how we perform. These responses are collated and contribute to the performance management monitoring and reporting carried out by the Environmental Health Service. This includes acting where performance does not meet the expected standards.
Disclosure of Information
It is Rother’s policy that disclosures will be made on receipt of a written application under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Agreed and Approval
This Service Plan has been authorised by the Head of Service, following consultation with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder.
It is published on our website and in the Members’ Bulletin.
Signed: R Parker-Harding
Mr R Parker-Harding BSc (Hons) MSc DMS CEnvH MCIEH AMIOA
Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner
Head of Service- Environmental Services, Licensing and Community Safety
Dated: 17 July 2023
Signed; Cllr K Field
Councillor K Field
Cabinet Portfolio Holder
Dated: 28 July 2023
Address: Town Hall, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex TN39 3JX