News item | 2023-03-20 | 11:00 am
Passionate people work in public administration, but turnover is high. And residents are positive about more citizen participation, but little use is made of it in practice. These are some insights from the report De Staat van het Bestuur 2022, which was published today. The State of the Administration is a biennial trend report from the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations about how municipalities, provinces and water boards are doing, what residents notice about this, and which policy plans there are that contribute to a strong public administration.
Minister Hanke Bruins Slot presented the State of the Board during the Day of the Board in Leiden. On the same occasion, together with representatives of the other levels of government, she signed the updated Intergovernmental Relations Code, in which the national government, municipalities, provinces and water boards record how they work together.
Hanke Bruins Slot: “The State of the Board shows that we should not take our public administration for granted and that we should constantly work on it. It is of great importance that the national government, municipalities, provinces and water boards work well together. That is why it is great that all levels of government have signed the new Intergovernmental Relations Code today. This will contribute to strengthening our public administration – and ultimately to making policy that provides good solutions.”
Support decentralized administration
The State of the Board 2022 shows that involved people work in decentralized public administration in the Netherlands, who want to contribute something to society and invest a lot of time in their work. The work is also demanding, and turnover is high. In the period 2018 – 2022, for example, 38% of councilors and 47% of aldermen in municipalities left prematurely.
The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is in talks with the professional and interest groups of the decentralized administration to find out what else is needed to improve their position. Think of extra support, such as training and support from audit offices and clerks.
More opportunities for citizen participation
Residents consider local referenda, participation, citizen forums and other forms of citizen participation to be important. However, little use is made of it in practice, according to the State of the Board. To strengthen the connection between residents and their administration, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations is working on a Participation Act at a decentralized level. The bill aims to oblige local governments to record how they involve their residents in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of policy plans.
On 17 March 2023, Minister Bruins Slot (BZK) also presented the Approach to citizen participation and citizen forums. In addition to the citizens’ forum on climate and energy policy, the government wants to start exploring another citizens’ forum during this government’s term of office. In addition, the government will improve existing forms of involving residents. For example, by making internet consultation on new laws more understandable and accessible.
New Intergovernmental Relations Code signed
During the Day of the Board, the renewed Code of Inter-Administrative Relations was also signed. The Inter-Administrative Relations Code of the Association of Dutch Municipalities, the Interprovincial Consultative Body, the Union of Water Boards and the State sets out how governments work together. For example: if policy is developed at European level that has an effect on municipalities, the agreement is that the national government will involve the municipalities in this. Whereas the old Code previously defined which government should do what, the new Code focuses more on cooperation in solving societal challenges. Each layer of government contributes where necessary.
Link to the State of the Board
The State of the Board 2022 can be found at https://www.kennisopenbaarbestuur.nl/themas/staat-van-het-bestuur. The associated dashboard with multi-year figures can be found at www.staatvanhetbestuurdashboard.nl.