SCP: high expectations of decentralization not fulfilled

The Social and Cultural Planning Bureau settles with high expectations of the decentralisation of care and support tasks from the State to municipalities. โ€œThere were all kinds of wonderful thoughts in 2015, but in practice it turns out that it didnt work out,โ€ says researcher Mariska Kromhout.

According to her, the Empire urgently needs to change things. โ€œDoing nothing is not an option.โ€

Five years ago, the implementation of the Social Support Act, the Youth Act and the Participation Act became a task for the municipalities. More customization, self-reliance, help from ones own network – and all with less money, was the thought.

According to those health care laws, municipalities must help vulnerable people. It concerns a broad group, with many different problems: children, the elderly and people with disabilities and distance from the labour market. The idea was to help needy citizens faster and better, but that has not been successful, the SCP now concludes.

โ€œ If you look, for example, at the Participation Act, these people have hardly improved and some have even deteriorated,โ€ says Kromhout. Similarly, the employment rate has not improved in recent years.

In youth care, the waiting lists are still too long, even in the case of Youth Protection. And there are exactly the most vulnerable children, says Kromhout.

She is also concerned about elderly people with a need for care who have to stay at home longer and longer. โ€œThe group of elderly people who are in between home and nursing home is not helped well.โ€

They are a few of many bottlenecks of decentralisation, which sometimes causes the most vulnerable people to fall short. Kromhout suggests that many people do get help. โ€œBut too much is expected from people themselves and their network. In many cases, they cannot take care of themselves and there is not always someone in their own network who can help.โ€

Structural deficits

Decentralisation was accompanied by the expectation that municipalities could manage with less money, but they have been in structural funds for years now. The SCP expects that in the coming years the number of vulnerable people will increase rather than decrease, partly due to the coronacrisis.

The pandemic creates new vulnerable groups that will call on support. This will also increase expenditure. โ€œWe did not make a financial analysis, but only more money is not enough,โ€ says Kromhout.

Now action, โ€œno time to loseโ€

Together with her colleagues advises to take action as soon as possible. According to her, the Empire must โ€œrethink and adjustโ€. There needs to be a more realistic view of self-reliance and the so-called caring society, according to Kromhout.

In practice, the various ministries must work together better, the rules and procedures must be simplified and more citizens thinking. โ€œAnd it should be better today than tomorrow.โ€

Kromhout fears that the recommendations will disappear for a year due to the upcoming elections and cabinet formation. โ€œIts about vulnerable people, so theres no time to waste.โ€