The Ministry of VWS does not want to say if it wants to modify the alternative way of WOB requests, following the judge‘s ruling yesterday. In that ruling, the court ruled that the department’s conduct does not comply with the Public Administration Act (Wob). Demissionary minister Hugo de Jonge says today “to look closely at the pronunciation and what it means for the working method.”
Since the beginning of the corona crisis, the Ministry has been using an alternative approach to WOB requests, where a request is not individually assessed. Instead, the Ministry itself decides what information comes out at what time. According to De Jonge, this is inevitable because of the large amount of documents and WOB requests.
‘Yes, it was crisis’
De Jonge now says that the ministry always wanted to be transparent, but simply didn‘t come to that because it was too much work in crisis time. The court points out that De Jonge apparently did not see any reason to draw up “specific legal provisions”.
“Yes, it was crisis,” De Jonge says. “And despite that crisis, we do everything we can to be as transparent as possible. And that means we want to make all the documents available to anyone who asks for it.” The Minister does not want to address the question of how he looks at the judge’s judgment, that the so-called ‘partial decisions’ he makes are not in accordance with the Wob.
A WOB request should normally be handled within eight weeks. Nieuwsuur filed three WOB requests in May 2020, which have still not been dealt with. As a result, Nieuwsuur went to court.
The minister does not want to say whether the ministry is appealing or not. The court ruled yesterday that the Minister should now decide on the three WOB requests within two months, under penalty of increased penalty payments.