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Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust pleads guilty following HSE prosecution

18 September 2017

Before Banbury Magistrates’ Court, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. This follows the death of 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk at the Slade House facility, Oxford on 4 July 2013.

This prosecution has been brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The defendant is due to be sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on 12 October 2017.

A HSE spokesperson said: “HSE acknowledges the defendant’s guilty plea but will not make a further comment until after sentencing.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It helps Great Britain work well by applying a broad range of regulatory interventions and scientific expertise, to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. The HSE has a legal duty to make inquiries about all allegations or complaints made to it, initially to determine whether there are grounds to formally investigate possible breaches of health and safety regulations.
  3. Until 1 April 2015, allegations of unsafe working practices at medical establishments, unrelated to clinical matters, could be referred to HSE. After this date, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) became the lead regulator, including investigating potential breaches of health and safety regulations.
  4. Since 1 April 2015, this HSE investigation was conducted as a historic inquiry, as the HSE was the responsible regulator at the time these offences were committed.
  5. Further information about how the HSE decides on whether to launch a formal investigation can be found at and
  6. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.” Further information about the legislation applied in this case can be found at

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