SLIM was launched in 1996 and has facilitated the review of 17 different legislative areas. Legislation is examined by teams of experts drawn from Member States and users of the legislation such as producers, organisations representing professions, trades unions, and consumer groups.
SLIM teams examine Community legislation –directives/regulations with a view to identifying ways of how best to simplify current rules and procedures thus reducing burdens on businesses and improving the quality of the texts. Each team has up to 10 members (5 from Member Teams States and 5 others who represent organisations, groups, sectors who work with the legislation) and meets under the chairmanship of a personality nominated by the Commission. The review exercise usually involves 4-6 team meetings in Brussels. Team reports set out a series of recommendations designed to inter alia, streamline the legislation, reduce/remove unnecessary procedures, align existing provisions with new developments in the policy sector and new standards and requirements. Team recommendations often form the basis for new Commission proposals.
SLIM is co-ordinated by the Internal Market DG and the work of individual SLIM teams is organised by the Commission services responsible for the policy area under review. During the last phase of SLIM, three services, Environment, Enterprise and Health and Consumer Protection will provide support to and participate in the work of the teams.
The review process commences with the publication of a Commission Working Paper which sets out the legislative areas to be examined in the current phase of SLIM. The Working Paper is drawn up in consultation with Member States and contains a "simplification" mandate for each team.
The next step is to nominate representatives on each team. Member States are asked to indicate which team they wish to be represented on and interested organisations are also requested to identify the teams they wish to participate in. The Commission nominates a Chairperson for each team and the Commission services convene the team meetings. At the end of the review process, teams draw up reports setting out their recommendations and these reports form the basis of a Commission Communication which summarises what has been achieved during the current phase of SLIM.
The progress of each team is publicised via "flash " reports and the dissemination of information such as, team minutes, position papers/discussion documents and other contributions to the review exercise on the web page on SLIM – see phase five. Team Chairpersons present interim reports to the Internal Market Advisory Committee (representatives of all Member States) on progress made and identify likely recommendations prior to their formal adoption. This provides an opportunity for those Member States not directly represented in individual teams to learn more about and contribute to the work of teams. It also allows them to verify the extent to which the "simplification" mandate of each team is being followed.