We have noticed over the past 18 months that some councils have stopped providing Competent Person support to schools in their area. This has led to MESH providing support to a number of schools in place of the council.
Although the councils will no longer provide health & safety advice they still insist that schools provide evidence that they have access to expert advice. They do this through the annual audits undertaken on the schools and will expect to find firm evidence that health & safety advice is both sought and acted upon.
For one school, the council asked us to identify the level of support that was being provided and to identify the competence of our team to provide such advice. This was no problem as we were working closely with the school and were able to demonstrate that an appropriate agreement was in place.
This approach should hopefully ensure that some so called “Competent Person” agreements; where the consultants provide access to a name rather than an effective support function, will not cut the mustard!
However for the schools this means they need to find the right consultants without any support from the council. This of course means that they can easily fall into the trap of either recruiting consultants that are not suitably qualified or maybe overpriced.
For those schools we are working with, they have the confidence of being able to check out our competence with other schools who have been happy to provide excellent references. We would advise any schools looking for Health & Safety support to make sure they properly check out the consultants first and make sure they fit the requirements of the school and the council.