HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 cc409-10W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the mandate of the Committee of Senior Labour Inspectors 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. [61725]

Mr. Spellar

[holding answer 13 June 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

The Committee of Senior Labour Inspectors (SLIC) was formally established by the European Commission in 1995 (Decision 95/319/EC) and mandated to give its opinion on all problems relating to the enforcement by member states of Community law on health and safety at work. In the last 12 months SLIC has met once in Belgium and once in Spain during their respective presidencies of the EU.

Each member state has two representatives. The UK is represented by Mr. Justin McCracken, Deputy Director General (Operations) and Dr. Adrian Ellis, Director of Field Operations both of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Travel and subsistence for their attendance of the last two meetings cost £2,320 of which the European Commission reimburses the cost of travel (£940).

The latest meeting discussed progress with the SLIC work programme including the assessment of health and safety systems in EU and candidate countries, asbestos, the European campaign on health and safety in construction, future co-operation with candidate countries, health and safety aspects related to working time, and SLIC's role in the European Commission's future health and safety strategy.

SLIC is accountable to the European Commission and submits an annual report on its activities to the Commission with particular reference to any problem relating to the enforcement or monitoring of Community legislation on health and safety at work. The Commission forwards that report to the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work.

The Advisory Committee produces an annual report which is sent to the Cabinet Office which is then passed to the House of Lords and Commons European Scrutiny Committee; HSE submits an explanatory memorandum to the Scrutiny Committee on the Advisory Committee's report.