Sentencing Guidelines: What Do Individuals Need to Know?

On 1 February 2016, the Sentencing Guidelines Council introduced a new guideline in relation to corporate offences. It also applies to individual Health and Safety Offences, including those committed by Senior Executives causing their organization to commit an offence.

For example, if it is demonstrated that a Director or Senior Officer, due to their consent, connivance or neglect, caused the company to commit an offence, then not only could the company be prosecuted, but the individual director or executive could be personally prosecuted alongside the company. In these cases, the guideline gives indications of penalties which can include imprisonment from six months to two years in relation to such offences. This is aimed at directors who are hiding behind a corporate organization, emphasising the importance of directors not just doing the right thing, but being seen to do the right thing.

The sort of circumstances in which directors can be prosecuted, and indeed have been prosecuted, is where their organization is committing offences and they don’t have appropriate systems and procedures to stop it happening. It also includes, in the worst case, when a director has consented to or turned a blind eye to unsafe practices, which have not addressed.

Do you fully understand your health and safety obligations within your organisation? We run regular training courses to help Senior Executives understand what is required and the implications of not meeting their obligations. Contact Quadriga on 0118 929 9920 or click here to see our next training courses.

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