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November 29, 2006

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Political ground gained at conferences

IOSH representatives met with leading figures from each of the three main political parties during this autumn’s conference season.

New president Lisa Fowlie attended the Liberal Democrat Conference and met up with Danny Alexander MP, shadow minister for work and pensions and Sarah Teather MP, shadow minister for education, to put across IOSH’s views on the Welfare Reform Bill and on the health and safety of young people.

Lisa also met with a number of senior figures from teaching unions like the NUT and NASUWT, and from the Local Government Association, Disability Rights Commission and the Social Market Foundation to tell them about IOSH’s six-point plan for young workers and views on issues like corporate manslaughter and rehabilitation.

“People were very interested in what IOSH had to say, and the visit was very useful to help us gain an understanding of Liberal Democrat policy on a range of issues. I’ll certainly be looking to see how IOSH can work more closely with the Lib Dems and with the other organisations we meet during my presidential year,” she commented.

Fruitful days

Over two days, immediate past president Neil Budworth, director of technical affairs Richard Jones and director of communications Ruth Doyle attended the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

They met Anne McGuire MP, the parliamentary under secretary of state in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Terry Rooney MP, chair of Commons Works and Pensions Select Committee and Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, the health and safety minister. Discussions were also held with the President of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Neil said: “Both Anne McGuire and Terry Rooney were very helpful and IOSH has a number of significant avenues that we will be following up on as result of suggestions made by these MPs including asking Parliamentary Questions relating to our six-point plan, tabling an Early Day Motion and an adjournment debate on the issue of young workers.”

Business case

In October, Richard Jones also attended the Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth, to gain an insight into the Conservative’s agenda for health and safety and win support for the IOSH campaign on young people.

The IOSH six-point plan was discussed with several MPs, including David Willetts MP, the shadow minister for education and skills, who showed interest in the idea that health and safety training in schools could also benefit employers by reducing the time spent on induction. Philip Hammond MP, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, Tim Boswell MP, shadow minister for work and pensions and Edward Garnier MP, shadow minister for home affairs were also spoken to.

In addition to the Conservative MPs, Richard was also able to chat briefly with the CBI’s new director general, Richard Lambert, who was also interested in the business benefit of training young people in health and safety before they enter the workforce.

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