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Health and Safety at Work – Prosecutions (R009728)

Freedom of Information: Health and Safety at Work – Prosecutions (R009728)

Thank you for your e-mail of 19 February 2015 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information:

“Please provide me with: 
a) the number of cases referred to COPFS by the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities for consideration of whether to bring charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act and its secondary legislation [between 2006/07 and 2013/14] 
b) the number of these cases COPFS subsequently agreed to prosecute, broken down by the year of HSE/the local authority’s referral”


As I advised you during our telephone call on 5 March 2015, COPFS uses a live operational case management system, specifically designed to receive criminal and death reports from the police and other specialist reporting agencies and to manage the cases for prosecution purposes.  The information held on the system is structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes. Due to the way our system works, it would not be possible to provide you with all of the information requested within the £600 limit outlined in FOISA.  

On that basis, it was agreed that we would provide you with all of the requested information for 2013/14 but would only provide details of cases reported to COPFS by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the other requested years and not cases reported by local authorities. 

Details of the number and the outcome of cases reported to COPFS by HSE between 2006/07 and 2013/14 have been provided at Annex A. All such cases will relate to offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and relevant secondary legislation.

Details of the number and the outcome of cases reported to COPFS by local authorities in 2013/14 under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and relevant secondary legislation has been provided at Annex B

The cases contained within the attached annexes have been classified by the year in which they were first reported to COPFS. Therefore, if a case was reported in 2011/12 but the decision to prosecute was not made until 2012/13, the case will be included within the 2011/12 column. 

It may also assist you to know that between the specialist COPFS Health and Safety Division being launched in July 2009 and 15 January 2015, 98% of Health and Safety cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. 

Annex A

Total number of cases reported to COPFS each year by HSE and the outcome of those cases

Outcome

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Total

Court Proceedings

43

79

55

35

39

35

30

27

343

Direct Measure

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

No Action

4

8

8

8

4

8

6

1

47

No Decision

0

0

0

0

0

1

9

40

50

Total

49

87

63

43

43

44

45

68

442


Annex B

Total number of cases reported to COPFS each year by Local Authorities under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and relevant secondary legislation and the outcome of those cases

Outcome

2013-14

Court Proceedings

3

No Action

3

No Decision

4

Total

10