Study on Labour Inspection Sanctions and Remedies: The case of the United Kingdom

This report describes the main features of the UK legal system for enforcement of labour standards, with a focus on the key strategies and sanctions available to government agencies responsible for oversight and enforcement of minimum employment standards and occupational health and safety.

There are five bodies in the United Kingdom that conduct inspections on labour matters: the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS); Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC); the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); and the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority (GLA). The main focus of this study is on the HSE, because in the area of health and safety there has been more thought and innovation concerning regulation (including enforcement and sanctions) than in other fields of employment and working conditions. However, there is also analysis of the rest of the authorities, and particularly the relatively newly established GLA, which provides an important example of an innovative regulatory approach.