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(Part of "Asbestos Policy Suggested Improvements")


Instead of the asbestos campaign the HSE Acting Chief Executive now proposes a new strategic partnership between the HSE and DfES which he states will ensure that

“The needs of the education sector, with regard to health and safety are appropriately met. Importantly, the partnership will be a gateway for topic specific issues that need addressing, such as asbestos” (10)

In essence he proposes a return to the failed systems of the last forty years and also proposes the removal of the expertise and openness provided by stakeholder participation in decision making. This is particularly bad as the campaign was a major improvement that would have introduced openness in the place of secrecy and would have driven improvements and change.

The Acting Chief Executive says that the HSE and the DfES are still discussing, but have not yet agreed, a remit. Present discussions on the role of the DfES in asbestos management have been unresolved for more than two years and so agreement on the remit in the foreseeable future seems unlikely. Agreement is also exceptionally unlikely as, at the time of the Acting Chief Executive’s letter, the DfES officer responsible for asbestos safety had not even heard of the new strategic partnership. (11)

Neither the DfES nor the HSE have attempted to meet the urgency demanded by the Minister, and there has been no advance in correcting the failings of asbestos management identified by him. The new strategic partnership is, in essence, a return to the failed past policies and there is every reason to believe that the proposed partnership is fundamentally flawed.