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    Cabinet approves reform of Belgium’s social inspectorates

    © Belga
    De Backer announces restructuring plans.
    © Belga

    The cabinet approved yesterday (Thursday) measures to reform our country’s social inspectorates. This was announced by the Secretary of State for Combating Social Fraud, Philippe De Backer.

    The eight existing services will amalgamate into five. These reforms will be implemented from July 1st.

    The plan, which has involved four ministers and the eight services, is in particular aimed at avoiding business checks being duplicated.

    For example, such businesses may receive a visit from the Work Inspectorate and then the Social Laws Inspectorate with potential duplication.

    The Inspectorate and Social Research Service (ISRS) will act as a hub as it will manage, harmonise and strengthen the various inspectorates.

    Its staff numbers will be doubled and it will benefit from a full-time “manager”.

    The so-called Centre for Social Fraud Expertise will be set up to monitor the situation in this field.

    The social inspectorate FPS Social Security will be integrated into the National Office for Social Security (NOSS).

    The Independent Directorate-General will, in large part, be integrated into the National Institute for Social Insurance for the Self-Employed (NISE), merging the self-employed monitoring services into a single organisation.

    The monitoring of family allowances will have become an entirely de-federalized sphere by 2019.

    The total number of inspectors will be revised upwards, going from 1,264 to 1,364.

    Inspectors’ power will be strengthened, Mr De Backer says. This is because they will have jurisdiction to monitor several pieces of legislation. They can therefore demand to see social documents falling outside of their jurisdiction.

    As a secondary role, any given competent service will be able to lead more in-depth investigations.

    The role of inspectors is also to be reviewed. “Inspectors will play the role of business coach to assist given businesses with applying the rules. We will be more lenient with employers acting in good faith,” the Secretary of State indicated.

    He went on, “Our particular aim is to sanction businesses who ignore the rules consciously, intentionally and in an structured way.”

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times