If a premises is deemed to have breached legislation, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (the Authority) may take enforcement action. The action will depend on the nature of the breach and will be based on the principles set out in the Authority's General Enforcement Policy. The potential path of action that could be taken is broken down into Informal Action, Formal Action and Legal Enforcement.
Educate and Inform
Where the Authority are of the opinion that there are some minor fire safety measures that need attention, the Inspecting Officer may issue you some verbal advice. The matters advised on need to be addressed in a timely manner in order to improve your fire safety.
Fire Safety Matters Letter
Where the Authority are of the opinion that you have failed to comply with any requirements imposed on you by the Order but the breach is considered not to warrant service of an Enforcement Notice the above notification will be served on you by the inspector. The notification will identify the matters to address, and the steps considered necessary to remedy them.
The Fire Safety Matters document is not an Enforcement Notice. It identifies deficiencies which need to be addressed to meet your legal obligations under the Order and is issued by the Authority before any formal enforcement action is taken.
As the responsible person you may be given a period time in which to make satisfactory progress towards achieving a remedy to the deficiencies.
Where the Authority considers premises constitute a serious risk to persons, whether due to the features of the premises, their use, any hazard present, or any other circumstances; or premises may constitute such a risk if a change is made to them, or the use to which they are put, it may serve on you, as the responsible person, an Alterations Notice.
Where an Alterations Notice has been served, you must notify the Authority of the proposed changes before making:
- a change to the premises;
- a change to the services, fittings or equipment in or on the premises;
- an increase in the quantities of dangerous substances which are in or on the premises;
- a change to the use of the premises which may result in a significant increase in risk.
Where the Authority are of the opinion that, as a person being under an obligation to do so, you have failed to comply with the requirements placed upon you by the Order and that an Enforcement Notice is appropriate in the circumstances you will be served with an Enforcement Notice. This is a serious legal notice and must not be ignored.
Attached to the Notice will be a schedule specifying the matters that, in the opinion of the Authority, constitute failure(s) to comply with the Order.
The schedule will also identify the steps that must be taken to remedy the specified failure(s), to ensure that you comply with the Order.
Unless the steps identified in the schedule to the notice are taken by the specified date, it will be considered that you have not complied with the Notice and the Authority may consider a prosecution against you. You may however apply for an extension of time.
Where the inspector considers that the use of the premises involves, or will involve, a risk to persons on the premises in the event of fire so serious that use of the premises ought to be prohibited or restricted, then the Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority may serve a Prohibition Notice. The notice may prohibit use immediately or after a specified time and not allow it to be used until remedial action has been taken. The notice will explain why the action is necessary. This is a serious legal notice and must not be ignored.
If you have been issued a Prohibition Notice, our Prohibition: What do I do next? page on may be of help to you
Notice Under Article 37 (Fire-Fighters' Switches For Luminous Tube Signs)
Where apparatus to which this article applies has been installed or an installation is proposed in or on the premises, the Authority may serve a Notice of requirements, relating to the position, colour and marking of the cut-off switch, on the responsible person.
Article 27 Letter (Request for Information)
This is to require the production of any records which are required to be kept by virtue of any provision of the Order or regulations made under it, or records which it is necessary to see for the purposes of an inspection under article 27, and to inspect any entry into those records.
The Authority will consider prosecution where for example, there is failure to comply with the fire safety duties imposed by the Order and that failure has put one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire. In addition if there has been a failure to comply with any requirement or restriction imposed by a notice issued under the Order, then again consideration will be given to prosecution.
Failure to comply with the fire safety duties imposed by this Order or with any requirement or restriction imposed by a notice issued under this Order, is a criminal offence under Article 32 of the Order. A person guilty of such an offence shall be liable
- on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum; or
- on conviction on indictment, to a fine, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.
Any person found guilty of an offence under any requirement imposed by Article 37 in respect of luminous tube signs is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
A person on whom an Alterations Notice, an Enforcement Notice, a Prohibition Notice or a Notice given by the Authority under Article 37 (fire-fighters' switches for luminous tube signs) is served may, within 21 days from which the Notice is served, appeal by way of complaint for an order to a magistrates' court.
You should be aware that in order to satisfy the "Environment and Safety Information Act 1988" the Authority is obliged to enter details of certain notices called "relevant notices" ( which will be identified by the inspector serving the notice), into a publicly available enforcement register. "Relevant notices" are those which impose requirements or conditions not solely for the protection of persons at work. Entries on the register will be kept for a period of at least three years.
Entries to the register will be made within 14 days of the expiry of the right of appeal or the disposal of an appeal against the content of a notice. If a notice is cancelled on appeal no entry will be made. Where an inspector is satisfied that a notice has been complied with, withdrawn or amended a further entry will be made in the register within 7 days to show this.
If you think that the entry for this notice would disclose commercially sensitive information you should give written notice to the Authority within 14 days, they in turn will draft an entry which is considered not to disclose the information and serve this on you. In the meantime the entry will specify only your name, address, the place involved and the relevant legal provisions. If you are not satisfied with the redrafted entry you have a further right of appeal to the Secretary of State within 14 days.
Public Availability of Information
Under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, the Authority is committed to make available on written request, information about its actions and decisions, which includes information about notices it has issued. In general the information that the Authority will make available about a notice is the information on the front page.
Information on a notice will not be made available until the right of appeal against the content of a notice has expired with no appeal having been lodged, or the appeal has been disposed of. Where an inspector is satisfied that a notice has been complied with, this information will be made available at the same time as the information on the front page. If you think that the information in the notice would disclose commercially confidential information you should contact the Authority within 14 days who in turn will redraft the information in a way it believes will not reveal the confidential matter. In the meantime the only information to be made available will be your name, address, any place involved and the relevant legal provisions. If you are not satisfied with the redrafted information there is no further appeal. However, the Authority will make every reasonable effort to agree a form of words that is acceptable to you.
For the avoidance of doubt, where the publicising of a notice is appropriate to further the safety of persons, the details in the previous paragraph, about making available information regarding a notice will not apply. An example of circumstances where information may be given out directly the notice is served is where the notice prohibits the use of sleeping accommodation. Tenants, or other persons, who use this prohibited accommodation may be informed immediately by the Authority.
Appeals, Challenges and Complaints
There may be an occasion where you may wish to challenge our advice, actions or decisions. The Appeals, Challenges and Complaints Process (.pdf, 3 pages, 241KB) document provides information on the routes available.