HSSIB powers

The Health and Care Act 2022 (the Act) gives us powers and responsibilities when carrying out our patient safety investigations.

We always prefer to carry out our investigations with the consent of staff and organisations. However, where this is not possible, our investigators have the power to:

  • Enter, investigate and seize items from premises.
  • Compel people to speak with us.

The Act also includes the responsibility on any person not to disclose protected materials that are provided to us as part of our investigations, unless specific exemptions are met.

It is an offence under the Health and Care Act 2022 for a person to obstruct our investigators from performing their duties. It is also an offence for any person to knowingly or recklessly disclose protected materials.

More information on these powers and responsibilities are set out below.

Entry, inspection and seizure

Where the HSSIB considers it is necessary for the purposes of an investigation, a HSSIB investigator can:

  • Enter and investigate any premises in England, other than premises used wholly or mainly as a private dwelling, without notice.
  • Inspect and take copies of any document at, or capable of being viewed using equipment at, the premises.
  • Inspect any equipment or other item at the premises.
  • Seize and remove from the premises any document, equipment or other item unless doing so would pose a risk to the safety of any patient.

Under section 121 of the Health and Care Act 2022 it is an offence for a person to intentionally obstruct an investigator from entering premises, inspecting equipment or other items, or seizing evidence. A person who is found guilty of an offence may receive a fine.

Powers to require information

Anyone can continue to disclose any information, document, equipment or other item to the HSSIB on a voluntary basis. However, if someone may not want to speak with us, and where a HSSIB investigator reasonably believes for the purposes of an investigation that a person is able to provide information to us, we can ask individuals to:

  • Attend at a specified time and place and to provide information by answering questions.
  • Provide specified information, or information of a specified description, by a specified date.
  • Provide specified documents, equipment or items, or documents, equipment or items of a specified description, by a specified date.

A person must provide the information, document or equipment unless providing it would risk the safety of any patient or they could incriminate themselves or refuse to provide this under legal professional privilege.