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March 23, 2007

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Making MPs and the the media hear us

It has been a busy few months on the political front for IOSH, as members and staff met with MPs and other key influencers to tell them about what IOSH has been up to and to canvas support for our Wiseup2work campaign.

President Lisa Fowlie, chief executive Rob Strange, and director of technical affairs Richard Jones met the new minister for health and safety, Lord McKenzie of Luton, on 19 March to discuss the current health and safety climate.

The meeting was also an opportunity to build on the strong relationship developed with Lord McKenzie’s predecessor, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. Lord Hunt’s response to Rob Strange’s congratulatory letter on his promotion demonstrates this. Lord Hunt said: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with IOSH and its commitment to increased health and safety standards was readily apparent. I very much enjoyed the ‘young people’ campaign.”

Richard Jones also met Glenda Jackson MP, Conservative shadow work and pensions minister Andrew Selous MP, and Ian Hughes, from the Department for Education and Skills work-related learning and enterprise unit.

Director of communications, Ruth Doyle, met Annette Brooke MP, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for children and families; Barry Sheerman MP, the chair of the Education and Skills Select Committee; Susan Kramer MP, the Liberal Democrat shadow secretary of state for transport and industry, John Leech MP, Liberal Democrat member of the Transport Committee, and Fiona Mactaggart MP, a Labour member of the Education and Skills Select Committee.

Rob Strange said: “The fact that members of the IOSH presidential team and staff have been able to meet 34 MPs over the last few months shows that we really are on the political map.

“We’ve also written to Gordon Brown outlining our hopes for his Budget proposals, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, John Hutton MP, agreed to open our annual conference. This all shows that IOSH is increasingly well thought of in political circles.”

President Lisa Fowlie also made IOSH heard in the national media. She spoke to The Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Express to comment on stories about children being banned from playing games like football or tag.

In the Telegraph, Lisa said: “To ban football on the grounds of safety will deprive kids of the opportunity to let off steam and benefit from exercise. Football has been a playground sport for generations. Banning it is a gross over-reaction.”

In the Express, she said: “The benefits of children being active far outweigh the rare occasion when an accident may happen.”

Support for the Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled in Parliament on behalf of IOSH by Michael Clapham MP also continues to gather pace. At the time of writing, 89 MPs had put their name to the motion. You can find out who has signed up by going to http://edmi.parliament.uk/edmi and visiting EDM number 254

‘Protecting young people in the workplace’.

Visit www.iosh.co.uk/campaigns for updates.

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