News item | 25-04-2023 | 6:20 pm
The democratic constitutional state cannot exist without good and reliable public administration. Integrity rules form an indispensable basis for this. Minister Hanke Bruins Slot of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) will further strengthen the integrity rules for civil servants, administrators and representatives of the people. This is stated in the memorandum Integrity of public administration that the minister sent to the House of Representatives today.
Hanke Bruins Slot: “Civil servants, administrators and representatives of the people work for our society in the public interest. Integrity rules help with this: they provide guidance and make it clear what can be expected from public administration. That is why, for the first time in twenty years, I examined the integrity rules of the entire public administration together to see what is going well and what could be improved. With more attention to integrity, we are building a government that is reliable, subservient and fair.”
Integrity handbook for municipalities, provinces and water boards
Integrity rules are collected in handbooks, codes of conduct and laws and regulations. For civil servants, these rules can be found, for example, in the Code of Conduct for Integrity of Government, and for government officials, the Code of Conduct for Integrity of Ministers applies. In May 2023, the minister will publish an Integrity Handbook for municipalities, provinces and water boards. The handbook is intended to support local authorities, political parties and political office holders in promoting their integrity policy and clarifies what is and what is not permitted.
Screening laid down by law
Dutch integrity policy has developed over the past thirty years. Various agreements and regulations have been set up for each level of government and all civil servants, such as for the screening of civil servants and political office holders, and codes of conduct with agreements on, for example, accepting gifts and dealing with (financial) interests. There are also rules for ancillary positions.
The Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations wants to strengthen these rules and, where necessary, make them more uniform. An example of this is the screening for administrators, representatives of the people and civil servants. The minister is therefore presenting a bill to record the risk analysis for aldermen, deputies and executive directors of water boards.
Mandatory quality requirements for integrity investigation
If there is a possible integrity violation, it is important that an investigation into this takes place carefully and thoroughly. Due to the public nature of administrators and representatives, they are particularly vulnerable to accusations of dishonorable behavior even before they are investigated. That is why the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations wants to introduce mandatory quality requirements for integrity investigations. It is also being examined whether the support for integrity incidents can be expanded with a knowledge and expertise center for the integrity of political office holders. This is done in consultation with municipalities, provinces and water boards.
Concerns about serious integrity violations
The Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is concerned about the vulnerability of public administration when it comes to serious integrity violations or subversive activities. She sometimes receives signals about this, for example from the King’s commissioners and mayors. The minister wants to map out the manifestations in which this problem occurs, its seriousness and the scale on which it occurs.