Government review of the Balance of Competences between the UK and the EU – Call for evidence: Social and Employment Review

About this consultation

The Government has launched a ‘call for evidence’ for its review into the ‘Balance of Competences’ between the UK and the EU. In this context, competence is about everything deriving from EU law that affects what happens in the UK. The stated aim is to deepen public and parliamentary understanding. The review is not tasked with producing specific recommendations or examining alternative models for Britain’s overall relationship with the EU.


The Social and Employment part of the review is being led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and will consider equal treatment, employment regulation, social protection and health and safety at work. It also covers those areas of competence that are focused on improving coordination between Member States including employment promotion, social protection and the labour market aspects of the European Semester process.

Proposed changes

The Government is seeking evidence that provides objective, factual information about the impact or effect of EU action on respondents’ areas of expertise. This call for evidence also seeks views on the relationship between and necessity of social and employment policy to the functioning of the single market, as well as the balance of competences between the UK and EU on social and employment policy, how that competence is exercised, and what the implications of EU action are for Member States wanting to take their own action.

IOSH welcomes member comments and answers to the consultation questions below to help inform the IOSH submission.

Please send to by 2 January 2014.

Consultation questions

The argument for social and employment competence

  1. To what extent is EU action in this area necessary for the operation of the single market?
  2. To what extent are social and employment goals a desirable function of the EU in their own right?
  3. What domestic legislation would the UK need in the absence of EU legislation?

Impact on the national interest

  1. What evidence is there that EU action in social policy advantages the UK?
  2. What evidence is there that EU action in social policy disadvantages the UK?
  3. Are there any other impacts of EU action in social policy that should be noted?
  4. What evidence is there about the impact of EU action on the UK economy? How far can this be separated from any domestic legislation you would need in the absence of EU action?

Future options and challenges

  1. How might the UK benefit from the EU taking more action in social policy?
  2. How might the UK benefit from the EU taking less action in social policy, or from more action being taken at the national rather than EU level?
  3. How could action in social policy be undertaken differently? For example, are there ways of improving how EU legislation is made e.g. through greater adherence to the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality or the ways social partners are engaged?
  4. How else could the UK implement its current obligations in this area?
  5. What future challenge/opportunities might the UK face in this area and what impact might these have on the national interest?

Members wishing to also contribute directly to BIS can do so at: the-balance-of-competences by 17 January 2014.