Welcome to our Spring newsletter!

When we started to curate the updates for this bulletin, we could hardly have anticipated the sheer scale of the Covid19 pandemic and its effect on us all. Much has been written about the impact across the various industry sectors (including by us). But whilst coronavirus has rightly demanded our attention, other developments have continued across our practice area, albeit at a slower pace than before.
In this issue, we look at some of those changes; revisiting the issue of sentencing in health and safety cases, looking at recent consultations in allergen labelling and online advertising and examining the Government’s Environment Bill.
As always, we welcome your feedback so if you do have any thoughts, comments or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
In the meantime, we wish you, your families and your colleagues all the best at this most challenging time.

Health and Safety Viewpoint: Back to Basics

In the past six weeks, our lives have changed beyond all recognition. With the lockdown and its stringent restrictions on our movement, virtually all jobs have changed in some way. As thoughts turn to how we might exit the lockdown, workplaces will need to continue to adapt to the challenges Covid19 presents.

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Health and Safety Viewpoint: Sentencing update

The Sentencing Council’s Definitive Guideline for Health and Safety Offences applies to all cases sentenced after 1 February 2016, and prescribes the calculations to be undertaken by a Court when sentencing.

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Health and Safety Viewpoint: Corporate manslaughter prosecutions

The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 was introduced to make it easier to prosecute companies, where it was alleged that corporate failings had caused an individual’s death. The Act sought to address long-standing public dissatisfaction at a perceived failure to hold organisations to account in the aftermath of high profile disasters such as the Herald of Free Enterprise and Hillsborough.

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Fire Safety News: Government responds to “Building a Safer Future”

The tragedy at Grenfell Tower rightly spawned a number of consultation exercises designed to establish how we can better manage building safety. One such exercise, “Building a Safer Future” sought views on proposals for a “radically new building and fire safety system”. It reported last year and, earlier this month, the Government published its response.

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Care Quality Viewpoint: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

The steps taken by a provider prior to and in the immediate aftermath of a crisis event can be determinative of what enforcement action is pursued against it. It is imperative that providers proactively consider how they would respond to a crisis.

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Care Quality News: Increasing care sector fines but no consistency?

The number of prosecutions brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) continues to increase. Although the fines imposed on providers following conviction have been relatively low, the lack of applicable sentencing guidelines has led to inconsistencies between fines, as well as with those handed down in sectors where guidelines do apply.

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Care Quality News: Allegations of duplication in CQC reports

It came to light in January that duplicate material had been identified in a number of Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection reports.
Whilst initially it was reported that there were 78 instances alleged, the figure subsequently rose to 108 following internal peer review and audit by the CQC.

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Environment News: Environment Bill on hold

The progress of the Environment Bill has been temporarily suspended as Parliament works to cope with the practical and logistical challenges presented by Covid19. At the time of suspension, the Bill was being considered by a Public Bills Committee.

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Environment News: Waste crime task force launched

The war on waste has a new ally as the Government launched the Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) earlier this year. Described as a “giant step forward”, the new unit brings together law enforcement agencies, the environmental regulators, HMRC and the National Crime Agency to tackle the growing trend in criminal waste networks.

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Food Safety News: Use by dates under the spotlight

Tesco recently challenged a Magistrates’ Court decision that it was a criminal offence for a shop to offer food for sale after its labelled use by date.

EU food law is clear that “unsafe food must not be placed on the market” and as a result requires highly perishable foods to be marked with a use by date. After that date, the food is deemed to be unsafe.

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Food Safety News: Novel food deadline for the CBD industry

Ever since the European Commission confirmed the “novel” status of cannabidiol (CBD) in January 2019, businesses in the UK market have been thrown into a state of flux given a very uncertain regulatory position.

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Food Safety News: Allergen consultation now closed

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has now concluded its consultation exercise as it looks to finalise its Technical Guidance for Allergen Labelling in advance of the introduction of “Natasha’s Law”. Coming into force on 1 October 2021, the new rules amend the Food Information Regulations 2014 to require increased detail when labelling food that is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS).

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Advertising Standards News: Call for evidence extended

Online adverts represent half of all advertising spend in the UK.
Their increasing importance to businesses looking to market products and services brings benefits and challenges in equal measure. The dynamics are different, the speed of response much quicker and the potential to target an audience unparalleled.

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Trading Standards News: Busier than ever?

Whilst many regulators have suspended routine activity and are working from home during the lockdown, National Trading Standards (NTS) has warned the public about a rise in scams following the onset of the pandemic.

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COVID-19: Information from the regulators

The pandemic has presented challenges for the regulatory agencies as they seek to discharge their statutory responsibilities during the lockdown. Most have issued revised guidance and position statements, which we have collated.
The guidance is largely concise and clear but if you have any queries regarding its application to your business, please do get in touch.

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