Jan 18, 2023 at 7:46 PMUpdate: 2 minutes ago
Various implementing organizations, including the Tax and Customs Administration and the UWV, “are sounding the alarm”, says a group representing the organizations in the first so-called State of Implementation. Two years after an important report by the House of Representatives on implementation problems, implementation in the Netherlands is still “opaque, inflexible and prone to error”.
According to the group, which will report periodically after this first publication on the state of public services in the Netherlands, there is a clear cause for this. There are a lot of complicated rules and there is a lot of stacking of policies.
“Complex legislation causes citizens and entrepreneurs to get stuck in the system,” writes the group led by Abdeluheb Choho. He is general director of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The conclusions are in line with the report on implementation problems that a parliamentary committee published in 2021.
Much attention to implementation in political The Hague
The implementation of laws and policy has recently received a great deal of attention in politics in The Hague, partly in response to the benefits scandal. Implementers are the counters where citizens come into contact with the government.
These implementers are therefore important for confidence in the government. But in some cases citizens get stuck and because of the complicated laws and the increase in the number of rules “can no longer see the wood for the trees”. As a result, civil servants have more work, while there is a shortage of people. In many cases, things are going well, emphasize the officials from the group that worked on the State of Implementation.
Politics, policy and implementation should work together better
According to the group, which also represents the Central Bureau for Driving Skills Certificates (CBR) and the Education Executive Agency (DUO), among others, “there must be earlier and better cooperation between politics, policy and implementation”. According to the civil servants, the House and the cabinet must “examine the fundamental flaws in the underlying system of policy making and implementation”.
The State of Implementation was created in response to the report of the parliamentary committee from 2021. Although the cabinet has taken good steps since then, the members are “seriously concerned about the future-proofness of our services”.
Where laws are becoming increasingly complex and politicians have “sky-high ambitions”, too little money is released to improve implementation and services. Moreover, the provision of information is still not in order. “IT systems are outdated and the data exchange is insufficient to properly help citizens and entrepreneurs,” said the steering committee.
Performers have never sent a similar signal to politicians before
Due to the focus on customization (individual solutions for individual cases), people increasingly expect that it is possible to deviate from standard rules. The National Ombudsman has already concluded that customization is too often used as a solution for bad policy.
The State of Implementation was presented to Chamber President Vera Bergkamp (D66) on Wednesday. “It has never happened before in the Netherlands that the implementing organizations themselves and in The Hague send such a signal to politicians,” says the group.
Beeld: Getty Images
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