HSE has appointed a new chief executive to steer the regulator through its far-reaching commercialisation programme.
Dr Richard Judge, currently inspector general and chief executive of the Insolvency Service, will take up the reins from Kevin Myers in November.
Judge has had a varied career in science and technology organisations spanning the nuclear, rail and environmental sectors. He has a professional background as a chartered engineer and is qualified as a chartered director.
He became chief executive of the Insolvency Service in 2012. Prior to this he was the boss of CEFAS, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, and interim chief executive at the Rural Payments Agency.
Following a PhD completed in 1987, Judge worked at AEA Technology until 2000, which in 1996 became the privatised privatised offshoot of the Atomic Energy Authority. Between 2000 and 2003 he was managing director of AEA Rail BV, and group director of AEA Environment between 2003 and 05.
The first recruitment round for the £160,000-a-year job was mothballed with the publication of Martin Temple's triennial review. The job description was rewitten to take into account the new requirements for increasing the commercialisation of HSE. The second recruitment phase was launched in April.
“This is a great opportunity to lead the executive of a renowned and respected regulator that will soon celebrate its 40th year,” said Judge. “I look forward to working with my new HSE colleagues, and with everyone who has a stake in delivering further improvements in Britain’s health and safety performance.”
Myers took up the post in August 2013 after Geoffrey Podger left for a role helping establish New Zealand’s new health and safety regulator.
“I am delighted to welcome Richard as our new chief executive and look forward to working with him,” said Judith Hackitt, the HSE chair.
“His valuable, considerable experience in both the public and private sector is a perfect fit for HSE, enabling us to take forward our commercial agenda whilst also ensuring we can build on our standing as a world-class regulator of workplace health and safety.”
Unite the union said it was looking forward to working with Judge, but called on him to “reverse the recent trend of removing Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) and the cut in guidance on health and safety at work”.
The union's national health and safety adviser Bud Hudspith said: “We welcome the fact that the government has at last appointed a new chief executive for the HSE. Hopefully this will end the decision making paralysis at the top of the HSE.
“Unite looks forward to working with Richard Judge to improve the safety and health of Unite members at work, and to achieve full and accurate accident reporting.
“We have been urging HSE to act against employers who fail to report workplace accidents, but it has not been willing to do so. This is why we are calling on Dr Judge to act as chief executive and ensure more is done to protect workers.”
During a October 2012 Business, Innovation and Skills committee hearing into the Insolvency Service he was asked how his professional experience was relevant to his role. He responded: “By way of background, I have been a chief executive for the past 12 years; I have been running professional service organisations of one form or another for that time and beyond. Professionally I am chartered as an engineer; I am also a chartered director; and I have worked in both the private and the public sector.
"The common characteristic in all of that is going into organisations where a degree of change is needed or there are some particular challenges, and helping the organisations get to grips with those challenges and take them forward."
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