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    This article describes and explains the development of the regional construct for the coordination of medical assistance in accidents and disasters, the emergency medical services in the region (GHOR), in the Netherlands in the period 1996 to 2020. The authors distinguish four stages of organisational development, which they analyse from a multi-actor perspective consisting of three elements: the impact of disasters and (negative) evaluations, the institutional context and the bureaucratic battle surrounding the GHOR. The GHOR was a solution for a perceived insufficiently coordinated functioning of all parties involved in medical assistance. The GHOR was positioned in a complex way. This made it predictable that the multidisciplinary GHOR process would gradually be integrated within the ‘nearby’ regular mono-disciplinary acute care process and the structures for it. This article gives policymakers involved in disaster and crisis management more insight into the history and development of the GHOR over the last two decades. This insight is important now that the added value of the GHOR has come under discussion, partly due to the doubts of the Evaluation Committee for the Security Regions Act, and decisions about its future have to be taken. For administrative scientists, this case study shows that public administration’s ability to foresee and break through known organisational development patterns is still inadequate.


Bernadette Holtkamp
Mr. B.J. Holtkamp BN is hoofddocent/onderzoeker Safety & Security Management aan de Saxion Hogeschool in Enschede.

Ira Helsloot
Prof. dr. I. Helsloot is hoogleraar Besturen van Veiligheid aan de faculteit Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

    How did Flemish and Dutch mayors experience the first months of the corona crisis? To find out, the Flemish and Dutch authors of this article first zoom in on the local government system of Flanders (Belgium) and the Netherlands in which these mayors operate. That system differs between the Low Countries from a functional, territorial and political perspective. However, a thorough document analysis and a series of interviews teach us that the position and leeway of mayors is quite similar in full corona time and during the corona struggle. Crisis decision-making is centralised in both Flanders and the Netherlands. Mayors therefore quickly made a significant shift in terms of (1) power and authority (respectively to the provincial governor and the federal level and to the regional mayor and the national level); (2) tasks (prioritising crisis management over other tasks); and (3) roles (increased importance for the executive role with impact on the ‘mayor father’ or ‘mayor mother’ role). And, with that, this contribution shows that Flemish and Dutch mayors, and if they are extended, local authorities, are indispensable for these days tackling a crisis, even if it extends far beyond their own borders.


Ellen Wayenberg
Prof. dr. E. Wayenberg is hoofddocent aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent. Zij is covoorzitter van de Permanent Study Group on Regional and Local Government in het kader van de European Group on Public Administration en redactielid van Beleidsonderzoek Online en het Vlaamse Tijdschrift voor Overheids­management.

Marieke van Genugten
Dr. M.L. van Genugten is universitair hoofddocent bestuurskunde in de sectie Bestuurskunde van de Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen. Zij is redactielid van het tijdschrift Bestuurskunde.

Joris Voets
Prof. dr. J. Voets is hoofddocent bestuurskunde aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent. Hij is bestuurslid van de Vlaamse Vereniging voor Bestuur en Beleid en de International Research Society for Public Management en hoofdredacteur van het Vlaamse Tijdschrift voor Overheidsmanagement.

Sandra Resodihardjo
Dr. S.L. Resodihardjo is universitair docent bestuurskunde in de sectie Bestuurskunde van de Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen. Zij is redactielid van Risk, Hazards, & Crisis in Public Policy.

Inke Torfs
I. Torfs MSc is doctoraal onderzoeker aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent.

Bram Van Haelter
B. Van Haelter MSc is doctoraal onderzoeker aan de Vakgroep Bestuurskunde en Publiek Management van de Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde van de Universiteit Gent.

    In 2020 and 2021 there were many examples of manifestations and disturbances in the Netherlands in which social media played an important role. On a number of occasions, fights were fought in the physical world that originated in the online world, for example from the drill rap scene. The increase in victims of digital crime also became apparent. During this period, a number of Dutch mayors came to the media with a clear message that they wanted more options/powers to respond to this. Previous research has shown that mayors cannot use powers online, but they can maintain order in other ways. Students from NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (in Leeuwarden) therefore conducted an exploratory study in the autumn of 2020, in collaboration with the Cybersafety research group, into the practical possibilities and (political) views with regard to administrative law options: a digital restraining order. In this contribution, attention is paid to the question of whether a digital version of the physical restraining order as a formal authority of mayors can contribute to the prevention of disturbances of public order that have their source in the online world.


Gert Vuik
G. Vuik is sinds 1999 werkzaam binnen de operationele dienst van de politie. Hij nam deel aan de minor Cybersafety van NHL Stenden Hogeschool/Integrale veiligheid en verwacht dit jaar af te studeren als Politiekundige aan de Politieacademie te Apeldoorn.

Willem Bantema
Dr. W. Bantema is senior docent-onderzoeker bij het Lectoraat Cybersafety van de Thorbecke Academie van de NHL Stenden in Leeuwarden. Hij heeft expertise op het gebied van bestuurlijke handhaving en digitalisering.

    Local political parties are clearly on the rise in the Netherlands in both the municipal council and the municipal board. Their average percentage of council seats increased from 25% in 1998 to 37% in 2018 and the percentage of councillors from 21% to 32%. This coincided with a greatly increased fragmentation. For example, the average number of political parties on the council rose from 6.5 in 1998 to 8.0 in 2018 and the number of parties providing one or more aldermen increased from 2.8 to 3.4 during this period. Fragmentation expressed in the number of effective parties shows a similar trend. If we use the Chapel Hill score, it appears that the average political colour of both the municipal council and the alderman part in the municipal board has shifted to the right. This is mainly because political parties are becoming increasingly right wing according to this index and not so much because there are more local votes for right-wing parties. Significant differences in the representative representation are also noted. The local parties as well as the Socialist Party (SP) are less successful than average in converting their seats on the council into councillor seats, while the three large traditional (and especially the CDA) and smaller Christian parties have succeeded above average in this.


Raymond Gradus
Prof. dr. R.H.J.M. Gradus is hoogleraar bestuur en economie van de publieke en non-profitsector aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, en is tevens verbonden aan de vakgroep Accounting en het Zijlstra Center for Public Control, Leadership and Governance.

Tjerk Budding
Dr. G.T. Budding is universitair hoofddocent Management and Financial Accounting en opleidings­­directeur van de Public Controllers­­opleidingen aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Elbert Dijkgraaf
Prof. dr. E. Dijkgraaf is hoogleraar empirische economie van de publieke sector aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en fellow van het Tinbergen Instituut.

    Since 2003, decentralized audit offices in the Netherlands have been authorized to investigate the regularity of the administration conducted. The definition of ‘regularity’ and the scope of the regularity investigation is not described in the law or in the literature. In this article, a regularity investigation is defined as ‘testing whether the administration has complied with applicable law’. That applicable law consists of written and unwritten rules of law, and case law. Audit offices examine regularity less often than efficiency and effectiveness. However, they have started researching it more often than in the past, according to this article. Of the administrative audit office reports in 2019, 42% contained a regularity finding, conclusion or recommendation. Accountants also investigate the regularity. They do this in the context of the annual audit and limit themselves to financial regularity. The regularity audit carried out by decentralized audit offices is broader. In addition to written legal rules, it also focuses on unwritten legal rules and case law, it is not limited to financial subjects and the investigation period can be longer than one reporting year. The findings and conclusions of the audit offices regarding the lawful unlawful actions of the administration concern the consequences for citizens and companies and the consequences for the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration’s actions.


Arjan Kok
Mr. drs. A. Kok RA is sinds 2004 werkzaam bij de Rekenkamer Metropool Amsterdam, is medeauteur van de Handreiking juridische vraagstukken van de NVRR (juli 2020) en doceert het onderdeel rechtmatigheidsonderzoek binnen de postacademische cursus Rekenkameronderzoek (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam).

    In recent years there has been a lot of discussion about and movement in the position of local audit offices in the Netherlands, For example, there is currently a bill to strengthen the audit offices in the Dutch House of Representatives (‘Tweede Kamer’), and in recent years there have been drastic cuts in the budgets of many local audit offices. The development of local audit offices nationally is therefore strongly determined by politics. Partly for this reason, it is wise to look beyond national borders and gain insight into the development and position of the local audit institutions in other European countries. It is striking that the majority of the regional European audit offices are not only considerably larger and perform more tasks – in addition to performance audits, they also audit the annual accounts – but also that there are considerably fewer decentralized audit offices per country. In addition, there are major differences in powers. For example, regional audit offices in France can in some cases impose fines and take certain cases to court. Despite the large differences, however, there are also many similarities between the various European decentralized audit institutions. For example, all audit offices conduct performance audits and independence is almost always properly guaranteed by law. The article concludes with a plea for the Dutch situation to be somewhat more in line with the development of the European decentralized audit institutions.


Paul Hofstra
Drs. P. Hofstra is tot 1 juni 2021 directeur/bestuurder van de Rekenkamer Rotterdam. Hij is daarnaast voorzitter van de Rekenkamer Sint Eustatius.

    In the more than 15 years that decentralized audit offices have existed in the Netherlands, little attention has been paid to the research methods they use. This article focuses on how the research methods used by decentralized audit offices have developed and to what extent they use new technology. New technology has changed a lot in 15 years, which offers new possibilities for research, but also raises new questions. Based on an empirical analysis of audit reports, it can be concluded that decentralized audit offices adopt a standard approach to document and file analysis and interviews, with only limited application of innovative technology. On the basis of a theoretical exploration of the relevant literature and a simple qualitative analysis of research by the Netherlands Court of Audit and the Rathenau Institute, a framework has been developed in which the opportunities and risks of the application of new technology in decentralized audit office research are described. This can provide a handle for future application. Decentralized audit offices can use this for (more) reflection on their research methods and innovation, in order to develop to maturity while remaining young.


Ard Schilder
Dr. N.A.C. Schilder is directeur-bestuurder van de Zuidelijke Rekenkamer.

Isabelle Fest
I. Fest MA is promovendus bij de Universiteit Utrecht, waar zij onderzoek uitvoert naar de toepassing van algoritmen bij de Nationale Politie.

Erik Schurer
E. Schurer MSc is als onderzoeker verbonden aan de Zuidelijke Rekenkamer.

    This article focuses on the regularity audit carried out by decentralized audit offices in the Netherlands. Decentralized audit institutions have been given a limited task assignment from the legislator for this type of research. It was expressly not the intention that the audit office repeats the (financial) regularity audit done by the accountant, nor was the decentralized audit office given a role in the so-called indemnity procedure. The decentralized audit office’s role is primarily to carry out a system test of regularity. A positive side effect of this limited task assignment has been that decentralized audit institutions have not started to practice regularity audits as a separate activity. Monitoring the relationship between regularity, efficiency and effectiveness can protect an audit office from pitfalls. While this working method is maintained, new opportunities will arise for decentralized audit institutions. The accountant will soon no longer have primacy in assessing (financial) regularity, but the municipal and provincial Executive will instead report directly to the municipal and provincial council in an annex to the annual accounts. The accountant will continue to monitor whether what is stated in this annex about regularity is correct and complete. This offers new possibilities for the decentralized court of auditors to assist the council in its monitoring and contextualizing role, and in forming an opinion on regularity.


Jan van der Bij
Mr. dr. J. van der Bij is werkzaam bij het Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties, lid van het College van de Noordelijke Rekenkamer, lid van de commissie BBV en voorzitter van de commissie Bado.

    From 1964 (until around 1990), political science became the dominant approach within (local) administrative sciences in the Netherlands. This position was taken over from the legal approach. In this period, the concepts of politics, policy and decision-making were central to research and theory. In the period up to 1990, we still see a predominantly administration-centric or government-centric perspective among these political scientists, although we already see incentives from different authors for a broader perspective (the politics, policy and decision-making concepts remain relevant however) that will continue in the period thereafter. This broader perspective (on institutions, management and governance) took shape in the period after 1990, in which Public Administration would increasingly profile itself as an independent (inter)discipline. This essay tells the story of the (local) administrative sciences in this period as envisaged by twelve high-profile professors. The story starts in 1990 in Leiden with the (gradual) transition from classical to institutional Public administration, as is revealed in the inaugural lecture by Theo Toonen. This is followed by eleven other administrative scientists, who are divided into four ‘generations’ of three professors for convenience. In conclusion, the author of this essay argues that there is mainly a need for what he calls a (self-)critical Public Administration.


Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    For administrative sciences in the Netherlands in general and for local administrative sciences in particular 2021 is a special year. It is the year in which our Dutch journal Administrative Sciences (the first issue was published in November 1946) celebrates its 75th anniversary, even though 1947 was the first full volume. But it is also the year in which it is 100 years ago since its predecessor, Municipal Administration, was founded; the first issue was published in January 1921. This means that we can speak of 100 years of having an (academic) journal for local government in the Netherlands. In 2016 we paid extensive attention in an editorial to the start of our Administrative Sciences journal and the men (and a woman) who have worked in it from the very beginning. In this editorial, we therefore draw attention to the men from the very beginning (this time there was no women involvement) of the Municipal Administration journal. It is the first academic journal in the field of local government in the Netherlands, first published every two weeks from January 1921 and on a monthly basis after 1922. The editorial board of the new journal was entrusted to a committee, of which, in addition to the board of the VNG (that is the Dutch association for municipalities) and its secretary, six people were members: Herman Nieboer (after his sudden death on 16 November 1920, he was replaced by Willem Drees in January 1921), Gerrit van Poelje, Willem van Sonsbeeck, Ate Roelof Veenstra, Bastiaan Verheij and Jacob de Wilde. Henri Vos, Pieter Bakker Schut and Jakob Herman van Zanten joined them in 1922.


Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Artikel

Access_open Uitvoeringsorganisaties tussen staat en straat

De relevantie van maatschappelijke verantwoording voor directeuren van ZBO’s en agentschappen

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2021
Auteurs Lars Brummel, Sjors Overman en Thomas Schillemans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This contribution analyzes the degree of relevance that administrators of independent administrative bodies (ZBOs) and agencies assign to their accountability relationships with social stakeholders. Although there is a lot of attention for social forms of accountability in the scientific literature, no large-scale quantitative research has been conducted into how administrators of implementing organizations experience this accountability. This study fills this gap on the basis of survey research by: (1) mapping the importance of forms and practices of social accountability for implementing organizations; and (2) weighing potential explanations for differences in the importance of social accountability in implementing organizations. The authors show that administrators of ZBOs and agencies in the Netherlands attach great importance to accountability towards their broad public environment, also compared to other countries with similar types of implementing organizations. This observation is in line with the Dutch reputation of consensual and interactive governance. Differences in the importance of social accountability between implementing organizations cannot be explained by the vertical accountability relationship with the parent department or other institutional organizational characteristics. The analysis shows that social orientation is greater among ZBOs and agencies where the media has more influence over administrators. Social accountability is associated with greater perceived media pressure.


Lars Brummel
L. Brummel MSc is promovendus aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht. In 2018 rondde hij zijn researchmaster bestuurskunde en organisatiewetenschap af in Utrecht.

Sjors Overman
Dr. S.P. Overman MSc is universitair docent aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij is in 2016 gepromoveerd aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Thomas Schillemans
Prof. dr. T. Schillemans is hoogleraar Verantwoording, gedrag en instituties aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht.

    While authorities sometimes make it appear that the coronavirus outbreak in the first half of 2020 did not allow for policies other than those in place, we saw remarkable variations in policy approaches in Western Europe. Governments almost everywhere pushed for ‘social distancing’, but differences in wording and communication, and implementation and enforcement emerged that could not be entirely explained by differences in the manifestation of the coronavirus. In order to understand and explain such differences, this article points out the institutional filter that exists between the corona threat and policy action. The interaction between two central components of the institutional filter – national culture and state tradition – is elaborated in this article for six Western European countries in particular: the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and Belgium, France and Italy, on the one hand. Policy action in these countries is largely consistent with what could be expected given the combinations of national culture and state tradition in these countries. The institutional filter forms a comprehensive framework with which more specific explanations from social trust or manifest public leadership can be placed.


Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks
Prof. dr. F. Hendriks is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

    Adriaan Koelma fits in with the list of legal scholars who helped to shape the early history of the (local) administrative sciences in the Netherlands, which was dominated by a legal approach to local administration. In that respect, he was not only a follower of the first Dutch public administration scholar, Gerrit van Poelje, but also his successor. He held the chair in Public Administration in Rotterdam, which Van Poelje vacated in 1933, first as a lecturer and later as a professor (from 1946 onwards). Nowadays, Koelma is mainly remembered for the state commission named after him: he (in vain) advocated the introduction of districts (next to municipalities). He was chairman of this state commission that was installed by Minister Beel on 19 December 1946. He fulfilled his scientific activities in addition to a career in the Dutch civil service. Koelma was a typical ‘self-made man’ who worked his way up from junior employee at the municipal clerk’s office of Dordrecht to municipal clerk and, if only briefly, mayor of Alkmaar. His experiences in the Second World War had a great influence on his later life. Due to a war-related illness, he had to give up the chairmanship of the Koelma Commission in 1947 and in 1948 his professorship and role as mayor of Alkmaar. This war also gave him insight into the pernicious influence of Nazi ideology on governance theory and governance practice. He could not have suspected how hard the German occupier would put the Dutch administration and its servants to the test during his public lesson of 1934, because at that time the Nazi regime in Germany had not yet shown its true nature at the local level of government.


Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    This article is about how the number of downfalls of aldermen can be controlled or reduced. Behind this main question are two sub-questions: should the alderman, who is now filling his office increasingly professionally, professionalize even more? Or should the alderman take a pause for reflection by thinking about how to hold the office in a more politicizing way, so that it remains accessible to untrained administrators? The answers to these questions are based on the research conducted on the downfalls of aldermen in four consecutive board periods from 2002 to 2018 in the Netherlands. The investigation shows that, for at least half of the downfalls, the alderman directly influenced his fall through his own behaviour or omissions. Better preparation, sharper selection and more professional implementation and guidance during the aldermanship is desirable to reduce the large number of downfalls that are detrimental to the image, role and position of the office of alderman. At the same time, more professionalization of the office because of the desire for efficient and effective implementation, as well as simultaneous decentralization and regionalization, is turning the alderman more and more into a manager. That could mean the end of political aldermanship. The relevance for practitioners is that this article shows that (a) the early departure and the political downfall of aldermen in the period 2002-2018 shows a stable pattern; (b) for at least half of the downfalls the alderman fall through his own behaviour or neglect of influence; (c) better preparation, sharper selection and more professionalization may limit the number of political downfalls of aldermen.


Mr. Henk Bouwmans MPM
Mr. H.M.J. Bouwmans MPM is directeur van de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Raadsleden (NVvR) en zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist voor De Collegetafel.
Thema

Access_open De ‘strijd om kerken’

Een bestuurskundige schets van een (geloofs- en beleids)gevoelig onderwerp

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2020
Auteurs Dr. Marlies Honingh en Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    While many new churches were built in the Netherlands sixty years ago to meet the demands of religious communities for space for their worship, the situation in 2020 is completely different. It is true that a church is sometimes built here and there in the Netherlands, but the general picture is that many churches have been withdrawn as places of worship in recent years, that a number have been demolished and that many have been given a new designated purpose. The fate of a church building often evokes many emotions in people. For example, we experienced this when we, together with the Parisians, watched in disbelief as fire destroyed parts of Notre Dame. This is related to the fact that for many people churches are more than just ‘beautifully stacked stones’. They are directly linked to the highs and lows of people’s individual and collective lives. People were baptized and married in that church, funeral services of loved ones were held there and the church is still a familiar part of the image of city or village. Rightly so that churches are also seen as ‘affective monuments’. The central question, however, is how to deal with religious heritage (policy related) now that churches are emptying? In this article the authors first give a brief outline of the background, nature and scope of what they call the ‘church problem’. Then they discuss the ‘battle for churches’ associated with this problem, which they subsequently try to interpret from a number of Public Administration theories. The role of certain individuals and organizations in the ‘battle for churches’, the so-called ‘entrepreneurs’, is further explored. They pay specific attention to the role of the municipality in this as a whole and call on all parties involved to deal (politically) with the ‘church problem’ rather than ‘spasmodically’.


Dr. Marlies Honingh
Dr. M.E. Honingh is universitair hoofddocent bestuurskunde aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
Prof. dr. N.J.M. Nelissen is emeritus hoogleraar aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, redactielid en oud-hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    This essay discusses the book L’archipel français: naissance d’une nation multiple et divisée. In addition, the French author Jérôme Fourquet is discussed, what the central thesis of the book is, what research methods the author uses, how the book is structured and what conclusions he comes to. Subsequently, the second part of the essay raises the question of the extent to which (in the opinion of the author of the essay) there is also a metamorphosis of society in the Netherlands, as is seen in France. This enables him, among other things, to report on a longitudinal research project at Radboud University Nijmegen, which is known as ‘Socio-cultural Developments in the Netherlands’ (SOCON). The central proposition of the bestseller is that France was once a nation that could be seen as ‘one and indivisible’ (and was experienced as such), but that France has changed fundamentally over the past decades and is now a ‘multiform and divided’ country: an ‘archipelisation’ process has occurred. Fourquet derives the term ‘archipelago’ from geology and uses it as a metaphor for the sub-worlds that have emerged: largely autonomous ‘islands’ with a limited joint bond. The Dutch SOCON study and other evidence supports Fourquet’s notion that there is also a huge shift in society in the Netherlands and that here too (perhaps less than in France) there are indications for ‘archipelisation’.


Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
Prof. dr. N.J.M. Nelissen is emeritus hoogleraar aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, redactielid en oud-hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    The care for religious heritage is no recent phenomenon in the Netherlands. King Willem I (1813-1840) was the first king of the Netherlands personally committed to the preservation of churches. But striving for conservation does not mean that a building is frozen in time; on the contrary. Many a church is made smaller, rebuilt or expanded in the course of its existence. The use of churches for other than religious purposes is also nothing new in the Netherlands, as is the re-designation of churches. The ‘Grote Kerk’ of Veere has been re-designated many times since 1600. Of the current approximately 7,100 buildings in the Netherlands that were built for a religious function, some 1,700 have already been re-designated. It is said that around 1,000 church buildings have been closed since the 1960s, hundreds of which have been demolished. As far as religious buildings are concerned, change is not an exception, but a constant. So desperately wanting to keep everything as it is – or was – seems impossible. But all this does not alter the fact that church buildings are dear to Dutch society. For example, churches make up only 4% of the total stock of national monuments in the Netherlands, but together they receive about 40% of all maintenance funds. Church buildings apparantly offer something extra and lift us up as people. And from that perspective alone, the recommendation is to keep these buildings as much as possible for the future.


Drs. Frank Strolenberg
Drs. F.J.G.M. Strolenberg is programmaleider Toekomst Religieus Erfgoed bij de Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed en werkt als zelfstandige vanuit Frankenvrij.net.

Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    Given the increasing importance of local administration and its range of tasks, it is important to know whether municipal councils are succeeding in properly controlling the administration. That is one of the main tasks that has been entrusted to the municipal council when dualism was introduced in the Netherlands in 2002. Council members are aware of the importance of the monitoring task, but little is known about the way in which they perform this task. Research in ten Dutch municipalities into the use of the available set of tools for framing and monitoring shows that municipal councils make little or no use of some of the instruments, in particular with regard to information gathering and the support of the council. Good information provision to the council sometimes appears to be subordinated to the political importance of the coalition. And everywhere councillors are struggling with the set of programmes for programme budgeting and accounting introduced during the dualisation process: it offers insufficient possibilities for framing and checking. In the absence of a clear assessment framework, it is not possible to determine whether this detracts from the effectiveness of control and framework. What good or effective control is and what its purpose is are also apparently not a topic for discussion in the local arena. This article shows (a) that council members can make more and better use of available framework and control instruments and the possibilities for supporting the council; b) the instrument of the programme budget (and the program account) does not seem to live up to the expectations of the dualisation process; c) mayors, as chairmen of the council, do not always feel responsible for the proper provision of information for the council and, in a broader sense, for better positioning of the council as a framework-setting and controlling body. More leadership is required here.


Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. C.E. Peters is zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist, bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en regionaal bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Peter Castenmiller
Dr. P. Castenmiller is verbonden aan adviesbureau PBLQ en is tevens voorzitter van de rekenkamer van de gemeente Delft.
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