- Mission Statement
- Aim and Objectives
- Compliance with National Priorities
- Authority Profile and Structure
- Work Achieved 2022-23 and Plan for 2023-24
- Competency of Inspectors
- Complaints Against Service
- Customer Survey
- Disclosure of Information
- Contact Details
- Agreed and Approved
This Health & Safety service plan is an expression of Wealden District Council’s continuing commitment to regulating Health and Safety at work. This service plan contributes to Wealden’s corporate plan of 2023 -27 aim for engaged communities “We want our communities to be safe” and for the aim of a thriving economy “to be thriving and diverse. This will ensure business and employment opportunities for all”.
Wealden 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
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’ (November 2011).
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 carried out at any premises. 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.
Local authorities are not responsible for – agriculture, horticulture, forestry, medicine (hospitals, GPs, dentists etc) mining, open land, quarries, and railways. Full details Appendix 1: Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority} Regulations 1998: A-Z guide to allocation (hse.gov.uk}
Each local authority is an enforcing authority in its’ own right 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.
Local authorities should use several intervention approaches to regulate and influence businesses in the management of health and safety risks 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.
Local authority inspectors may use enforcement powers, including formal enforcement notices, to address occupational health and safety risks and secure compliance with the law. Prosecution action may be appropriate to hold duty holders to account for failures to safeguard health and safety. Local authority enforcement – HSE and LAs Working together – HSE
Within Wealden 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”.
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, 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 plan a range of interventions based on HSE national priorities and local intelligence led 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 Wealden District Council must conform to the requirements of the National Local Authority Enforcement Code. The Code requires that all health and safety law enforcement is proportionate in applying the law and securing compliance; consistent in approach and targeting of enforcement action; Wealden Council must be transparent and accountable about how we operate and what those regulated may expect. Wealden Council must ensure that health and safety priorities and interventions are targeted in accordance with the mandatory HSE guidance – Local Authority Circular 67-2 (Revision 12).
LAC 67/2 (Revision 12) 2023/24 (hse.gov.uk)
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.
In accordance with HSE, LGA and FSA advice issued 1st April 2011, combined food hygiene and health and safety inspections will be carried out, to minimise burdens on local businesses.
Wealden has an Equality Policy and the Environmental Health Service carried out an equality impact assessment and is currently carrying out equality monitoring. The results of the monitoring will determine future policy in this area.
This plan provides a documented system for officers’ guidance and information and to facilitate inter authority or peer review audits.
Wealden 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’.
Wealden District Council adopted an enforcement policy for the shared Environmental Health service in 2014: EHEnforcementPolicy.pdf (wealden.gov.uk)
Officers carry out enforcement in line with Wealden’s Enforcement Policy as well as being guided by the Health and Safety Executive’s Enforcement Policy Statement and the Enforcement Management Model.
Wealden’s District has a population of approximately 160,151 and covers an area of 835 Km2 . (ONS UK 2021). Wealden District is mainly a rural area with five urban centres: Crowborough, Hailsham, Heathfield, Polegate and Uckfield. The District of Wealden contains small pockets of rural, coastal and urban living. The businesses within the District reflect this mix. Small and micro businesses form a fundamental part of the Wealden economy as almost 90% of businesses in Wealden employ less than nine people.
Health and Safety work is carried out by Environmental Health 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.
The service operates Monday to Friday from Vicarage Lane Hailsham from 8 30am – to 5pm Monday – Friday; 01323 443322. Planned out-of-hours work is undertaken and emergency calls are taken by the standby system (Cornwall Council) on 01424 787868.
Wealden District Council Structure 45 Elected Councillors
- Planning North and South
- Audit, Finance & Governance
- Overview and Scrutiny
- Joint Waste and Recycling
- All associated sub committees
Decisions on health and safety matters are delegated to the Cabinet Portfolio Holder – Cllr K Williams.
Cllr Williams makes decisions on policy matters regarding health and safety and communicates these to Director of Place Mr. Chris Bending.
The Senior Management Structure is shown on the chart below.
The Director of Place, Mr. Chris Bending directs the Head of Environmental Health, Richard Parker Harding accordingly.
Wealden Senior Management Structure
This chart shows the structure for the Environmental Health service for Wealden Council. A total of 21.75 full time officers are engaged in Environmental Health work for at an annual cost of £1,088,950.
The health and safety service of Wealden District Council 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
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
Wealden Council offers a range of business advice through the website at
Business Support – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council
A business newsletter and a support leaflet are available in hard copy or electronically to all and includes health and safety advice for business.
Advice is available for those thinking of starting a new business on the website at Starting up a business – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council Should more detailed guidance be required, Environmental Health Officers will do so on request.
The Environmental Health service webpages provide health and safety advice at Health and safety at work – the basics for business – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council
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.
Safety Advisory Groups
Traditional Sussex bonfires and firework displays are held throughout the district. Some of these events are held on district and parish 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 Wealden DC Environmental Health chairs Safety Advisory groups for the traditional bonfire societies of Crowborough, East Hoathly, lsfield and Little Horsted, Hailsham, Heathfield, Mayfield, Ninfield, Rotherfield, Warbleton and Rushlake Green. A new society, Chiddingly, is to have its first Safety Advisory group in the summer of 2023.
The aim of the Safety Advisory Group is to bring together the bonfire society and the local authority with Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire & Ambulance, 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 seven 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 Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS).
The partial withdrawal of the police and ESFRS from the safety advisory process caused a drop in confidence of the remaining parties. The Sussex Bonfire Council contacted Wealden DC with their concerns. Wealden 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
Reported accidents, incidents, diseases, and dangerous occurrences (RIDDOR) 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 – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council
Seventeen accidents at work were reported to Wealden in 2022-3. All were relatively minor matters involving slips, trips and falls, advice was given in all cases. A further eighty-five service requests were made by the public about safety standards within businesses: uneven flooring, unguarded steps, concerns about children’s play equipment and spaces. Visits were made and businesses were required to make the necessary improvements; advise was given to some online.
The most significant complaint was made by a guest who stayed at a small hotel. Whilst closing a sash window, the mechanism failed trapping the guests’ hand. Alone in a hotel room unable to summon help, the guest remained trapped for some time. When he was released, he suffered tissue damage to his fingers which required hospital treatment. An EHO’s investigation revealed a fault with the window and others in the small hotel. An enforcement notice was issued, and remedial works were completed to all affected windows.
During other inspections it can happen that officers identify a matter of evident concern. During a food inspection an officer noticed that the fire exits doors were chained closed – the business was instructed immediately to remove and to seek advice from ESFRS. At another food inspection a string of fairy lights was noticed behind a bar – they were connected to the electric by a “chocolate box” connector. The business was instructed to take out of use immediately, which they did. When an EHO arrived at a food business in Crowborough, he found the parts of the business were flooded, but was still open for business.
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 – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council
Many hospitality venues have extended their space to make the most of outdoor areas. We will urge pubs, restaurants, and cafes 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 and other outdoor events.
The number of full-time equivalent officers allocated to work on health and safety regulatory activity is 2.4.
The list below is of all officers authorised by Wealden DC under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. Note EHORB is the Environmental Health Officers Registration Board.
During 2022-3 a new cloud-based database was brought into use – ldox 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 the use of the new cloud-based database, ldox Tascomi and fatal accident investigations. Every member of the team attends external seminars, to progress their professional knowledge and self-development.
It is essential that officers are well informed and knowledgeable in health and safety matters. Competency of all officers is judged against HSC (G) 4 “Standards of Competency”, using a matrix developed by the Sussex Health and Safety Liaison Group. Annual appraisals are conducted to review performance and to identify specific training needs. Officers attend training days, county liaison meetings and food and safety team meetings. During 2022-3 all but one team meeting was held in person.
Wealden continues to attend and support the Sussex Health and Safety Liaison Group. This group includes all Sussex local authorities that are responsible for regulating health and safety and includes a representative from the HSE. It encourages sharing of knowledge and expertise and develops joint resources.
Complaints Against Service
Wealden operates a local complaints procedure which allows anyone dissatisfied with the Council’s service to pursue their complaint and .e pect a quick response. No complaints were made against the service in 2022-3.
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 taking action where performance does not meet the expected standards.
Disclosure of Information
Disclosures will be made on receipt of a written application under the Freedom of Information Act 2001.
Telephone: 01424 787550
Address: Vicarage Lane Hailsham East Sussex BN27 2AX
Agreed and Approved
This service plan has been agreed by Cllr K Williams Portfolio Holder and is approved by full council and is published on the Wealden District Council website.
Signed: R Parker Harding
Mr R Parker-Harding BSc (Hons) MSc OMS MCIEH CIEnv AMIOA Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner
Head of Environmental Health
Dated: 4th July 2023
Signed: K Williams
Councillor Mr K Williams
Cabinet Portfolio Holder Public Health and Asset Management Dated: 4th July 2023