The House of Representatives, ministries and executive organizations too often lose sight of the human dimension when implementing policies. This is one of the conclusions of a Lower Chamber Committee that recently conducted research into the functioning of organisations as a benefit agency UWV, driving licence institute CBR and the Tax Administration.
The committee urges the Cabinet, Chamber and Executive Organisations to work better together in the formulation and implementation of policies. “Every day postponement means more people in the crap,” says the committee led by VVD member Bosman.
According to the research report, the Chamber and Cabinet have neglected the implementation of policies for many years. There is too little check on the consequences of new laws and regulations.
20 percent can not get out of the feet with rules
The committee concludes that there are people who are trapped by implementation problems, some of them very serious. According to the report, some 20% of citizens are not able to handle rules in several policy areas. Because there is too little interest in each others work between cabinet, Chamber and execution, the proposed policy is not always properly tested for feasibility. Problems at the desk often do not end up with people who can solve them, says the committee.
The rules are often so complicated that even professionals have difficulty in understanding them. According to the committee, it is too often that no prior consideration has been given to the feasibility of measures. “This problem is particularly affected by measures that are laid down in a coalition agreement.”
Like the Committee of Inquiry in the Supplements affair, the Bosman Commission concludes that implementing organisations are expected to serve citizens on the one hand and act strictly against fraudsters on the other. “But clear guidance from politics or the Cabinet is missing.”
The committee also says that signals about problems in implementation do not always come to people who can do something about it. “Certainly in large executive organizations, a signal sometimes has to pass through a gap to managers before anyone can make a decision.”
In addition, employees may not feel safe to report bottlenecks. Furthermore, the focus in politics and in the media on incidents can lead to a defensive attitude among implementation organisations, which makes them reluctant to contradict unrealistic expectations: “This attitude is harmful to citizens.”
Bosman calls on the performers to offer more contradiction when there are unworkable proposals on the table: “An official must serve society and not his minister; the people at the bar are more important than politicians in The Hague.”
Room not always fully informed
The committee also says that the cabinet does not always inform the Chamber in full and timely manner. According to Bosman, the ministries are too dominant and the Chamber and executive organizations are not able to offer sufficient counterweight to this.
The committee calls on the Court to lean less on ministries and to deepen itself more in the implementation. Nor should the Chamber allow itself to be hunted up and take more time before a bill is voted on. In addition, Chamber and Cabinet should evaluate the effects of new laws earlier than is happening now.
New Chamber needs to get started
The committee held public hearings at the end of last year and spoke to some 40 people, including executive staff members, MPs and scientists and the National Ombudsman. The aim of the committee was to find out what caused the problems of implementing organizations.
It is planned that the newly elected House of Representatives will examine the recommendations of the committee. Recently, the House of Representatives decided that there will be a parliamentary inquiry into the payment affair. The conclusions of the Inquiry Committee of Implementation Organisations presented today will be involved in that survey.
Look at the presentation of the report and the explanatory notes here: