The Government is finally to introduce a Bill that will allow companies to be prosecuted if they fail to ensure the safety of workers or the public.
But the draft Bill – which was a Labour manifesto commitment as far back as 2001 – is unlikely to be see the light of day this side of a General Election, expected next May, and so its future progress remains uncertain.
The Bill was included in the Queen’s Speech in November. It will introduce a new offence of corporate manslaughter, applicable when a death occurs because of management failure.
David Bergman, director of the Centre for Corporate Accountability, said that although he was pleased that a draft Bill was on the way, the Government had repeatedly broken commitments to publish a Bill since it came to power.
The Scottish Executive, meanwhile, has put forward its own plans for similar rules.
The executive is set to publish a consultation in the New Year looking at options, with the intent to introduce an offence of ‘corporate homicide’- which will apply when corporations and public bodies cause death through management failures.