Why the Tax Administration, the UWV and CBR are so often wrong

Officials are driving crazy. They have to implement policies that have been conceived by politics, when they have long known that the plans do not work in practice. And everyone gets to deal with it through the government‘s executive organizations. Whether it’s the Tax Administration, the UWV or, for example, the CBR.

Time and time again things go wrong with this kind of government services. A special committee of the House of Representatives finds out why and held the last hearing on Friday. There CDA member of the parliament Pieter Omtzigt was one of the experts who was heard. He discovered several misses in government services, for example the childcare allowance affair at the Tax Administration, which caused parents to be severely affected.

Not so much sense of

According to him, one of the causes is that politics makes all kinds of plans without proper control of whether the implementing organizations are able to implement them. โ€œIn the Soviet Union you were able to prepare things completely with a five-year plan,โ€ says Omtzigt about the current government agreements which he believes are closing the policy. In the next formation it must be different, he finds.

Another bad example is Omtzigt‘s youth care. โ€œIn that decentralization, everyone said, โ€œYou really shouldn’t do this.โ€ Yet the plan was continued, because it was in the coalition agreement. โ€œThere was also care for children with very serious problems. A local official doesn‘t know that much about it.โ€

The Chamber committee investigating the abuses is led by VVD’er Andrรฉ Bosman. He also expressed his negative opinion on closed coalition agreements that have not been checked for feasibility. His committee has heard several experts saying that the Chamber should listen better to the workplace.

That‘s not easy. Officials indicate in the hearings that there is not always room to tell their boss that a plan or rule does not work in practice. When asked, the lowest officials sometimes say that the signals are on red, but the higher the signal in the civil service, the greener the signal becomes. And then officials suddenly hear their boss tell the minister that a plan or law can be implemented.

Bas van den Dungen, the highest official at the Ministry of Finance: โ€œIt must not be the case that we do not give the annoying message to politics.โ€ But that happens, he says. โ€œSurely you have a great degree of loyalty to your political ministry.โ€

Not too many new faces

The public service believes that there really should be better listened to the performer. Politics therefore again believe that signals from officials should be brought out better. One solution could be for Members of Parliament to talk directly to civil servants about what is going on in the workplace, and not – as we do now – through an administrator. This was called for in the hearings.

In addition, Omtzigt considers that the Chamber should also take more time to deal with the law and monitor the implementation more extensively. Not too many new faces on the candidate lists, which will remove the experience from parliament, would help.

โ€œ Membership of the Chamber is a profession. It took me years to understand how you control the government,โ€ says Omtzigt. At the same time, he sees that the cabinet now often does not provide the underlying documents in decisions, which makes control difficult anyway.

The CDA player also sees a role for the media. They should pay more attention to MPs who control things like tax laws instead of getting into the riot of the day. Now politicians are not encouraged to check enforceability laws, because when drawing up the candidate lists, the parties are mainly looking at visibility in the media.

On Friday, experts such as Herman Tjeenk Willink, Minister of State, were heard by the committee. It denounced, among other things, the continuous savings in public services. And other experts see that ICT has to solve more and more. As a result, major problems arise when a citizen knocks on a problem that does not fit within the lines. That’s how ‘the human size’ disappears, they say.

The committee wants to make recommendations before the elections.