HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc872-3W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the mandate of the Audit Board of the Administrative Commission on social security for migrant workers is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [55236]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

The Audit Board works under the authority of the Administrative Commission on Social Security for Migrant Workers, which has issued Decisions defining its composition and working methods as specified in Article 101 of Regulation (EEC) 574–72. The functions of the Audit Board are set out in Article 102 of that Regulation. Its duties in practice relate exclusively to health care costs. Specifically, it is tasked to collect the data and perform the calculations required by Title V of Regulation 574–72, to give the Administrative Commission details of the implementation of Regulations (EEC) 1408–71 and 574–72 particularly as they relate to health care finance, to submit to the Administrative Commission proposals on the calculation of annual average healthcare costs in respect of each member state, to lay before the Administrative Commission each year a statement of the healthcare costs claims position between the member states, and to carry out such other work as may be referred by the Administrative Commission.

The Audit Board normally meets twice a year in Brussels. It is chaired by the presidency of the day, and UK representation is normally two or three officials from the Department of Health. Costs to UK public funds are limited to expenses of approximately £550 per person for a one-day visit and £700 for a two-day visit, less any reimbursement provided by the European Commission.

The next meeting of the Audit Board will last one day and will consider the annual average cost papers submitted by seven member states together with work on the annual statement of claims. Any proposals made by the Audit Board to the Administrative Commission would, if subsequently adopted by the European Commission, then be subject to UK parliamentary scrutiny.