The perceived shortfall of inspectors at the HSE is being replicated at the local-government level, with three in five councils reporting difficulties in recruitment and retention of environmental health practitioners.
A new report by the Audit Commission on how local authorities can improve their overall recruitment and retention strategies highlights the contracting environmental health workforce, which saw an eight-per-cent decline between 1995 and 2005, as an area for grave concern. The shortfall poses a risk to councils’ ability to protect public and occupational health and safety in their communities.
According to the Commission, the factors driving this trend include:
– fewer people entering the profession set against growing cross-sector and international demands;
– fewer student placements, which are required by practitioners who wish to gain a formal qualification in environmental health; and
– more competition for staff from the private sector, which is often able to offer better training, work experience, and employment terms and conditions.
The report, Tomorrow’s people, can be found by clicking on the link below.