The HSE last week announced that it will consult on plans to make the process for disputing Fee for Intervention (FFI) notices “fully independent”.

The move means that the regulator has voluntarily taken up a position that it might have been forced into if a scheduled judicial review hearing – now almost certainly cancelled – had gone ahead.

The HSE issued a statement on 9 February outlining its plans to hold a consultation on the make-up of the panel that adjudicates on disputed FFI invoices, the issue at the centre of the planned judicial review brought by facilities management company OCS Group.

Health and Safety at Work understands that the statement followed a meeting between OCS Group and the HSE where the two sides came to an agreement to halt the legal proceedings.

A “consent order” setting out the terms the two parties have reached was submitted to the court on 7 February. If it is accepted, the hearing will be cancelled.

Currently, any dutyholder seeking to challenge a notice of contravention – the trigger for an FFI invoice – will have its case heard by a panel of three, made up of two HSE staff and an independent person drawn from industry or a trade union