Compliance: Regulation and Environment

By Bridget M. Hutter | Go to book overview
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6 Responding to Complaints and Accidents: Reactive Enforcement Methods

In contrast to the relative predictability and routine of proactive methods of enforcement, reactive work is comparatively unpredictable and unstructured. There were two ways in which inspectorates were prompted to organize reactively: first, in response to complaints and secondly, in response to accidents and incidents.


COMPLAINTS

In my fieldwork 13 per cent of IAPI visits and 10 per cent of FI visits were prompted by complaints, but complaints did not figure prominently in mobilizing the resources of REIs. The levels of complaint handled by each inspectorate were not always easy to determine from the Annual Reports.1 IAPI reports gave the most details about complaints, with annual figures for the number of registered and unregistered processes subject to complaint and a breakdown of which type of scheduled works were complained about each year. During the period 1983-6 the number of registered processes under complaint were:

1983327
1984365
1985347
1986399

FI Annual Reports did not routinely report their handling of complaints, although in 1985 it was stated that the inspectorate had handled approximately 10,000 complaints. The RI Annual Reports for 1983 and 1984 noted that 176 and 210 complaints by railway staff were dealt with. The 1985 and 1986 reports do not specify the number of complaints. The greater detail of IAPI reports on the subject of the complaints it receives is perhaps explained by the greater public profile and

____________________
1
Some reports did not mention complaints, and where complaints were referred to the source of the complaint was not always clear. For example, it is not always possible to determine whether the complaint came from employees or the public.

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