Following a recommendation in Lord Levene’s 2011 report into Defence Reform, the DSA will be the over-arching body for the MOD’s safety regulators from 1 April.
The DSA brings together the existing Military Aviation Authority and Defence’s other independent safety regulators and assumes the functions of the Defence Safety and Environment Authority (DSEA). It will also have new responsibilities for the conduct of independent service inquiries into safety-related fatalities and major equipment loss or damage; provide independent advice to the Secretary of State on safety policy; and be responsible for Defence’s independent accident investigation teams.
Air Marshal Dick Garwood is the first Director General of the DSA and is the primary authority for all service inquiries into safety-related fatalities and major equipment loss or damage. With the exception of the air safety service inquiries, the Front Line Commands had previously held this responsibility.
The DSA is independent from the chain of command, with investigations conducted by teams independent of financial, political and operational pressures.
The Defence Safety Regulators within the DSA will be: Military Aviation Authority; Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator; Defence Maritime Regulator; Defence Ordnance, Munitions and Explosives Safety Regulator; Defence Land Systems Safety Regulator comprising: Land Systems Safety Regulator; Defence Movement and Transport Safety Regulator; Defence Fuel and Gas Safety Regulator; Defence Fire Safety Regulator. In addition, the Military Air Accident Investigation Branch and Land Accident Prevention and Investigation Team will join the DSA.
A Defence Safety Regulatory Review will consider how Defence might undertake safety regulation in the medium to long term and will consider the most effective organisational model. It will report at the end of May 2015 and will influence how the DSA will be structured by full operating capability in a year’s time.
The DSA headquarters will be in Main Building, London, replacing DSEA headquarters.
The Front Line Commands will retain the right to convene an inquiry into lesser circumstances where the DSA has chosen not to convene an inquiry.