A commitment to build on the success of health and safety advisory services has been made by the County Council and City of York Council.
The two authorities have joined forces to creates a shared service. The importance of ensuring strong health and safety advice was highlighted at the official launch of the service on Tuesday, 18 July, particularly following the tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower in London last month.
The service provides advice not only to the two councils, but also to other public bodies and more than 450 schools, which buy in the team’s expertise. Advice and support covers a range of areas, including civil engineering and construction, facilities management, health and safety in schools and fire risk assessments.
Uniting the two councils’ services will bring efficiencies through streamlined processes and structures, but will also enable them to become more resilient, allow for specialisation and increase their capacity.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Gareth Dadd, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “We believe in the importance of health and safety, and this importance has been strikingly brought into the spotlight following the horrendous events at Grenfell Tower.
“Health and safety remains a political and a professional priority. This shared service is a pragmatic solution in the harsh financial landscape in which we work. It will build resilience and capacity across both authorities and will help us to retain skilled and experienced staff by providing more opportunities for career development and specialism. This will enable the team to build on its provision, which is valued by organisations beyond the two authorities, to develop its commercial aspect.”
City of York Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Environment, said: “My father was a health and safety officer in the petro-chemical industry on Teesside, so I see the true value in it as a service.
“It is a sign of the times with local council budgets that we are looking to work this way. However, this shared service is a way of making sure we are more resilient and make the best use of the expertise available. We cannot emphasise the importance of that too much. Council budgets are getting tighter, but this is a council service that cannot be compromised.”