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    Information platforms can facilitate data sharing and make new applications possible. It is essential to connect a wide range of both public and private parties to a platform if real data-based transformation is to get off the ground. However, organizations are reluctant to share data if they do not know exactly what it can be used for or if they have no direct interest in it. Achieving a good solution requires a lot from the innovation process itself and the way it is managed. This article uses three innovation perspectives for the analysis of a logistics information platform. This analysis shows that different stages in the development of an information platform can be distinguished, each with its own dynamic. For local government the involvement of and connection to local parties is important, while innovation as a whole benefits from the link with an overarching agenda that transcends the local level.


Prof. dr. Bram Klievink
Prof. dr. ing. A.J. Klievink is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit Leiden, met een speciale focus op digitalisering en publiek beleid.

    Digital transformation offers provinces both opportunities and threats. A long-held wish that social tasks (and the demand from citizens and companies) can be put at the center seems to be fulfilled. But, in addition to opportunities, the transformation also provides the necessary risks for, for example, the privacy of citizens and companies, but also due to the disruptive nature of digital transformation. This contribution looks at the digital transformation from a provincial perspective. The data vision in the making of the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant forms the basis for this essay, but what emerges applies broadly (with differences in emphasis) to several provinces. The author also gives a number of suggestions for the implementation of the transformation.


Dr. Marcel Thaens
Dr. M. Thaens is Chief Information Officer van de Provincie Noord-Brabant en lid van de Regiegroep Interprovinciale Digitale Agenda (IDA).

    Modern technology will lead to fundamentally different models for policy and governance. The impact of this on existing government bureaucracy is strongly underexposed within the current discourse on digital transformation. This essay, based on practical experience, wants to make clear (a) that this impact is indeed there; (b) that this impact affects all processes of the government organization; and (c) that this impact is not something that will emerge in the long term, instead it is already evident. So it is now time for administrators, policymakers and managers to put this topic on the agenda, otherwise the disruptive soup will soon not be as hot, but even hotter, when eaten.


Drs. Evert-Jan Mulder
Drs. E. Mulder is oprichter en directeur van Red Plume, adviesbureau voor Digitale Transformatie van de Publieke Sector. Hij onderzoekt de impact van de digitale revolutie op arbeid en organisatie van gemeenten, is nauw betrokken bij de ontwikkeling van smart cities, adviseert overheden over strategie voor digitale transformatie, geeft binnen de Nederlandse en EU-overheid workshops en masterclasses over dit onderwerp, en wordt ook internationaal als expert gevraagd.
Thema

Access_open Principes voor goed lokaal bestuur in de digitale samenleving

Een aanzet tot een normatief kader

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2019
Auteurs Prof. dr. Albert Meijer, Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer en Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article presents a normative framework for good local governance in the digital society. We build on the five principles of Frank Hendriks (laid down in an article in Urban Affairs Review in 2014): participation, effectiveness, learning ability, procedural justice and accountability. An analysis of these five principles leads to the refinement of these principles for the digital society. The overarching points are that attention is needed for the possibility of human contact, that avoiding discrimination must be central, that higher demands are made with regard to speed of action, that the principles increasingly apply to networks of organizations, and that the principles increasingly apply to the design of systems. This overview thus provides concrete tools for organizations that want to reflect with citizens and stakeholders on the extent to which they are able to achieve good local governance in the digital society.


Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
Prof. dr. A.J. Meijer is hoogleraar Publieke Innovatie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer
Dr. M.T. Schäfer is universitair hoofddocent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Media- en Cultuurwetenschappen.

Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
Dr. E.M. Branderhorst is gemeentesecretaris en algemeen directeur in de gemeente Gouda en lid van de Raad voor het Openbaar Bestuur (ROB).

    More and more government organizations are making data public with the aim of promoting innovation and democratic processes. But open data does not always lead to the desired impact. In this study the authors analyze why some organizations are successful in exploiting the potential of open data and others are not. This research uses an ecosystem approach to investigate similarities and differences between four organizations that use open data. This has revealed three factors that promote the ecosystem, namely the influence of other organizations that are also involved with open data such as the motivation for open data, the important role of innovation champions and the utilization of the user perspective. Three barriers have also emerged: the preparation of a suitable case question for open data, the difficult relationship between obtaining capacity and the expected yields and the difference in scale between issues and profitable data sets.


Rik Wijnhof MSc
R. Wijnhof MSc deed een master Publiek Management aan de Universiteit Utrecht en is projectleider bij het programma Transparante en Open Provincie (TOP) van de provincie Zuid-Holland.

Jochem van den Berg MSc
J. van den Berg MSc deed een research master Bestuurskunde en Organisatiewetenschap aan de Universiteit Utrecht, is Open Data-consultant bij The Green Land en zakelijk directeur bij PresentU.

Dr. Erna Ruijer
Dr. E. Ruijer is universitair docent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.

    The technological dynamic has a major impact on all kinds of markets, but what does this dynamic mean for local and regional government? This special issue presents five articles about local and regional governance in the information society. The editors of this special issue have chosen to place two articles by practitioners (written by Marcel Thaens and Evert-Jan Mulder) and three articles by scientists, one of which is a co-production of scientists and a practitioner. The editors believe that for a platform such as Bestuurswetenschappen (Administrative Sciences), it is also important to make the different voices heard and thus feed a rich debate about local and regional governance in the digital society.


Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
Prof. dr. A.J. Meijer is hoogleraar Publieke Innovatie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Erna Ruijer
Dr. E. Ruijer is universitair docent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.

    Voor doeltreffend en doelmatig beleid is het essentieel om verantwoording af te leggen over de gemaakte keuzes en te leren van de lessen uit het verleden. Om dit te stimuleren verplicht de Regeling Periodiek Evaluatieonderzoek (RPE) de rijksoverheid om periodiek beleidsdoorlichtingen te (laten) verrichten. Een beleidsdoorlichting bundelt alle beschikbare kennis over de doeltreffendheid en doelmatigheid van een volledig beleidsterrein over een bepaalde periode. Daartoe worden alle tussentijds uitgevoerde beleidsevaluaties bestudeerd.
    Dit artikel beschrijft de kwaliteit van beleidsdoorlichtingen. Het artikel is gebaseerd op onderzoek van SEO Economisch Onderzoek in opdracht van het Ministerie van Financiën. Het gebruik van beleidsdoorlichtingen valt buiten de scope van dit artikel.
    Uit een steekproef van 49 beleidsdoorlichtingen blijkt dat de doeltreffendheid en doelmatigheid van het gevoerd beleid vaak niet goed in beeld komen. Dit komt onder meer omdat er te weinig goed evaluatieonderzoek wordt uitgevoerd en omdat beleidsdoelstellingen met enige regelmaat worden aangepast. Het gevolg hiervan is dat uitspraken over de doeltreffendheid van beleid meestal niet stevig onderbouwd zijn en de doelmatigheid van beleid onderbelicht blijft. Dit maakt het minder goed mogelijk om lessen uit het verleden te trekken.
    Er is ruimte voor verbetering. Zo kan (1) het lerend vermogen van ministeries intern versterkt worden, (2) kunnen departementen hun beleidsevaluaties systematischer uitvoeren om volledigheid te waarborgen, (3) dient er ex ante te worden vastgesteld hoe de doeltreffendheid en doelmatigheid van beleidsmaatregelen ex post (causaal) kunnen worden geëvalueerd, (4) kan de onafhankelijk deskundige die bij beleidsdoorlichtingen wordt ingezet tevens de kwaliteit van het beschikbare evaluatiemateriaal vaststellen, en (5) kan worden overwogen om beleidsdoorlichtingen strategisch te plannen aan het eind van een kabinetsperiode. Op deze manier neemt de toegevoegde waarde van de beleidsdoorlichting toe.


Nard Koeman
Nard Koeman is werkzaam bij SEO Economisch Onderzoek.

Carl Koopmans
Carl Koopmans is werkzaam bij SEO Economisch Onderzoek.
Article

Access_open Opening the Opaque Blank Box

An Exploration into Blank and Null Votes in the 2018 Walloon Local Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden voting, elections, blank vote, invalid vote, abstention
Auteurs Jean-Benoit Pilet, Maria Jimena Sanhuza, David Talukder e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, we propose an in-depth exploration of blank and null ballots in the recent 2018 local elections in Wallonia (Belgium). In the official results, both blank and null ballots are merged together and are classified as invalid votes. After obtaining the authorization to access genuine electoral ballots, we study the votes which were not considered for the composition of local councils in detail. The dataset is a representative sample of 13,243 invalidated ballots from 49 Walloon municipalities. We first describe how many of these invalidated ballots are blank and how many are null votes, as well as the nature of the nulled votes (unintended errors or intentionally spoiled ballots). Second, we dig deeper into the differences between ballots that have been intentionally invalidated by voters (blank votes and intentional null votes) and ballots non-intentionally invalidated. Our results show that most of the ballots (two-thirds) are null ballots and that among them, half are unintentional null ballots. Finally, we show that contextual (socio-demographic and political) factors explain the variations in intentional and unintentional null votes across municipalities.


Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet is professor of political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He works on elections, political parties, and democratic reforms. He has recently co-authored Faces on the Ballot. The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe (OUP, 2016, with Alan Renwick) and The Politics of Party Leadership (OUP, 2016, with William Cross).

Maria Jimena Sanhuza
Maria Jimena Sanhueza is PhD Researcher in Political Science at Universite Libre de Bruxelles where she is associated to three projects studying Belgian politics. Her research focuses on citizenship, representation and democracy. Before starting her PhD, Maria Jimena worked as assistant researcher for EU HORIZON 2020 projects Pathways to Power and Solidarity in Times on Crisis, and co-authored a few publications on European democracies and representation.

David Talukder
David Talukder is PhD candidate at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He is conducting a thesis on the reform of representative democracy, looking at disadvantaged groups’ evaluation of representative democracy and demands for procedural democratic reforms. His main research interests are related to procedural democratic reforms, participatory democracy and democratic innovations.

Jérémy Dodeigne
Jérémy Dodeigne is associate professor in political science at the Université de Namur. His research areas cover the study of political representation in multilevel systems, local politics, comparative politics and mixed methods research designs. His work appears in journals such as Party Politics, American Behavioral Scientist, Local Government Studies, Regional & Federal Studies, Government & Opposition, and Representation.

Audrey E. Brennan
Audrey E. Brennan is completing a joint doctorate in political science at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Université Laval. Her research interests are political parties, elections, and political participation. Her dissertation studies the effect of leadership change mechanisms on the long-term behaviour of political party members.
Article

How to Improve Local Turnout

The Effect of Municipal Efforts to Improve Turnout in Dutch Local Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden turnout, local elections, get out the vote, campaign, the Netherlands
Auteurs Julien van Ostaaijen, Sabine van Zuydam en Martijn Epskamp
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Even though many municipalities use a variety of means to improve turnout in local elections, citizen participation in local elections is a point of concern in many Western countries, including the Netherlands. Our research question is therefore: How effective are municipal efforts to improve turnout in (Dutch) local elections? To this end, we collected data from three sources: (1) a survey sent to the municipal clerks of 389 Dutch municipalities to learn what they do to improve turnout; (2) data from Statistics Netherlands on municipalities’ socio-demographic characteristics; and (3) data on the turnout in local elections from the Dutch Electoral Council database. Using hierarchical multiple regression analysis, we found that the direct impact of local governments’ efforts to improve turnout is low. Nevertheless, some measures seem to be able to make a difference. The relative number of polling stations was especially found to impact turnout.


Julien van Ostaaijen
Julien van Ostaaijen is assistant professor of public administration at the Tilburg Institute of Governance (Tilburg University).

Sabine van Zuydam
Sabine van Zuydam is assistant professor of public administration at the Tilburg Institute of Governance (Tilburg University) and researcher at Necker van Naem.

Martijn Epskamp
Martijn Epskamp is a researcher of the municipality of Rotterdam (Research and Business Intelligence department)
Article

Split-Ticket Voting in Belgium

An Analysis of the Presence and Determinants of Differentiated Voting in the Municipal and Provincial Elections of 2018

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden split-ticket voting, local elections, voting motives, Belgium, PR-system
Auteurs Tony Valcke en Tom Verhelst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article tackles the particular issue of split-ticket voting, which has been largely overlooked in Belgian election studies thus far. We contribute to the literature by answering two particular research questions: (1) to what extent and (2) why do voters cast a different vote in the elections for the provincial council as compared to their vote in the elections for the municipal council?
    The article draws on survey data collected via an exit poll in the ‘Belgian Local Elections Study’, a research project conducted by an inter-university team of scholars.
    Our analysis shows that nearly 45% of the total research population cast a split-ticket vote in the local elections of 2018. However, this number drops to one out of four if we only consider a homogenous party landscape at both levels by excluding the numerous votes for ‘local’ lists (which occur mostly at the municipal level). This finding underlines the importance of accounting for the electoral and institutional context of the different electoral arenas in research on split-ticket voting in PR systems. In the Belgian context, split-ticket voting in 2018 also differed between the different parties and regions. Furthermore, it was encouraged by a higher level of education and familiarity with particular candidates. This candidate-centred and strategic voting was matched by party identification and the urban municipal context favouring straight-ticket voting. Other factors such as region, a rural municipal context and preferential voting seemed more relevant to determine voting for local parties than using the instrument of split-ticket votes as such.


Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University (Belgium). He is a member of the Centre for Local Politics (CLP) and coordinator of the Teacher Training Department. His research, publications and educational activities focus on elections and democratic participation/innovation, (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership, citizenship (education).

Tom Verhelst
Tom Verhelst is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at Ghent University (Belgium) and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Political Science at Maastricht University (the Netherlands). His research focuses on the Europeanisation of local government (with a particular interest for the regulatory mobilisation of local government in EU decision-making processes) and on the role and position of the local council in Belgium and the Netherlands (with a particular interest for local council scrutiny).
Thema-artikel

Access_open Positieve bestuurskunde

Naar een robuust positief perspectief op de overheid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Positive Public Administration, successful public governance, research agenda, societal relevance
Auteurs Scott Douglas DPhil, Prof. dr. Trui Steen en Prof. dr. Zeger van der Wal
Samenvatting

    Citizens and scholars excel in identifying and analysing government failure. It is important indeed to understand public sector, but while governments in the Low Countries are doing well on average and very well from an internationally perspective, most attention is focused on the errors and mishaps. This article argues for a robust positive perspective on the public sector as a complement to existing research. From a scientific perspective, public administration must set itself the ambition to connect and aggregate existing positive insights even better. From a social perspective, the discipline must prevent the gap from being filled by a wholesale rejection of democratic government or the use of unproven miracle cures. This article elaborates the starting points for Positive Public Administration, arguing that this perspective should be comprehensive, context related, inter-subjective, learning-oriented, and robustly scientific in nature. The article also introduces the other contributions in this special issue, which together give an initial interpretation of positive public administration.


Scott Douglas DPhil

Prof. dr. Trui Steen

Prof. dr. Zeger van der Wal
Thema-artikel

‘Meedoen is belangrijker dan winnen’

Prijzen als exponent van de positieve bestuurskunde?

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Positive Public Administration, prizes, successes
Auteurs Dr. Tom Overmans, Prof. dr. Mirko Noordegraaf en Prof. dr. Filip De Rynck
Samenvatting

    Positive Public Administration (PPA) encourages scholars to examine governance success. The appreciation of successes, however, is not new. During previous decades, awards were bestowed for exceptional performance. We analyse whether two important awards in the Netherlands and Flanders are an expression of PPA. Firstly, we find that successes are interpreted differently: in the Netherlands, one-off, trendy performances are rewarded, while in Flanders the focus is on consolidated results of long-term change processes. Secondly, we see that ‘clean’ success criteria promote a suggestion of ‘control’, whilst public settings are ambiguous and unpredictable. Finally, we conclude that prizes are primarily celebrations; little evidence is found of systematic knowledge exchange, learning and professionalisation.


Dr. Tom Overmans

Prof. dr. Mirko Noordegraaf

Prof. dr. Filip De Rynck
Thema-artikel

Catharsis: een vergeten functie van financiële verantwoording

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Catharsis, Accountability, Emotions, Debates, Positive Public Administration
Auteurs Dr. Sjoerd Keulen en Dr. Ronald Kroeze
Samenvatting

    Performance Budgeting has been introduced to gain greater managerial control over the outcomes and efficiency of policies and their budgets. Strikingly, a growing body of literature has explained that politicians hardly use performance information or only to emotionally judge government performance. We, however, propose understanding the emotional use of performance information as catharsis. Catharsis is the ritual of emotional and moral judging to understand and initiate improvement. Catharsis has been named as an important function of accountability, but has not been researched in the field of Public Administration. We discuss the concept of catharsis in relation to accountability and show that, by using evidence from its role in Dutch parliament, the use of ‘cathartic emotions’ are omnipresent in financial debates, especially when parliamentary enquiries and annual budgets are debated. Based on these findings catharsis should be understood as a much more serious function of accountability by both academics and public officials.


Dr. Sjoerd Keulen

Dr. Ronald Kroeze
Thema-artikel

Positieve beleidsevaluatie: hoe evaluatieonderzoek kan bijdragen aan beter beleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden positive public administration, positive evaluation, positive psychology, success, policy oriented learning
Auteurs Dr. Peter van der Knaap en Dr. Rudi Turksema
Samenvatting

    New insights from the field of positive psychology led to the insight that people learn more effectively from positive feedback. Policy evaluation aims to improve public policy programmes through contributing to both accountability and learning. This ambiguous ambition has contributed to a considerable body of research into the impact of policy evaluation. Too often the conclusion is that the outcomes of policy evaluations – which are often negative by nature – are sparsely used by policy makers. This has led to series of improvements in the way we carry out evaluations. First through technical improvements and then by more responsive approaches. Both have not led to the desired breakthrough. Building on a number of positive evaluation studies, we advance a more positive approach in policy evaluation. Focussing on the successes in policy programmes rather than on its failures may contribute to evaluation impact. Consequently, we think a more positive, appreciative approach and using data to find success in policy making is necessary for policy evaluators to be more effective. This article presents practical examples of positive policy evaluations and successful use of data in the domain of policy evaluation.


Dr. Peter van der Knaap

Dr. Rudi Turksema
Vrij artikel

Paradox van het Pact van de Waard

Dynamische regionale samenwerking in een krimpende Hoeksche Waard

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden shrinking regions, regime theory, population decline, regional collaboration, regional strategies
Auteurs Janneke Rutgers-Zoet Msc en Dr. Tamara Metze
Samenvatting

    In several regions in the Netherlands there are declining population numbers. In those regions, administrators, companies and societal organisations often start regional collaborations in order to anticipate population decline and maintain a good quality of life. This is a logical step, but in practice the collaborating partners face challenges. For this article we analysed over a period of eight years the dynamics of cooperation in the Hoeksche Waard, a region in the province of South Holland that is dealing with a decrease in the number of inhabitants. On the basis of the regime model (Stone 1989), and by conducting qualitative research, in this exploratory study we discerned a paradox of regional cooperation in this ‘shrinking’ region: a decline of population numbers is the reason to initiate informal cooperation in networks, but the complexity of the regional agenda leads to the desire for formalisation of the collaborations in formal decision making structures. This formalisation, in its turn, leads to less commitment from the parties and makes cooperation and achieving results difficult, which increases the need for informalisation.


Janneke Rutgers-Zoet Msc

Dr. Tamara Metze
Vrij artikel

Burgerparticipatie: ontwikkelingstypen van bewonersverbanden

Interactie tussen participatieprofessionals en bewonersverbanden in beeld

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden citizen participation, self-organisation, public participation professionals, community enterprises, Amsterdam
Auteurs Dr. ir. Anna de Zeeuw, Eelco van Wijk MSc en Dr. Alex Straathof
Samenvatting

    Local authorities expect citizens to fulfil an increasing number of public services. In that context, citizen-based networks are emerging as means to fulfil a variety of public tasks, varying from supporting young entrepreneurs and strengthening social cohesion, to providing local care. In this article, we address the following questions: Which phases do community enterprises pass through in their efforts towards realising a sustainable contribution and how do participation professionals support these phases? To respond to this question, researchers followed seven community enterprises based in Amsterdam over a two-year period. We identified a typology of four development phases, with particular attention to the interaction between external participation professionals and the key persons of community enterprises. The study has practical relevance for governance of citizen participation and also raises important follow-up questions about the role of the local government.


Dr. ir. Anna de Zeeuw

Eelco van Wijk MSc

Dr. Alex Straathof
Thema-artikel

Niet meer dan een speldenprik

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Positive Public Administration, positivism, research agenda, societal impact
Auteurs Prof. dr. Willem Trommel
Samenvatting

    Willem Trommel reflects on the ambitions of Positive Public Administration. He observes that Positive Public Administration is at heart the product of a longing for positivist science and ‘real facts’ in public debate, arguing instead that a more radical overhaul of the discipline is required towards Provocative Public Administration.


Prof. dr. Willem Trommel
Thema-artikel

Wanneer worden gemeenten gezien als waardevol?

Lokale publieke waardecreatie door de ogen van lokale actoren

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden public value management, Positive Public Administration, local government, performance assessment
Auteurs Scott Douglas DPhil en Prof. dr. Paul ’t Hart
Samenvatting

    This article explores how we can gain insight into the quality of local government with the help of the public value perspective. The public value perspective does not evaluate government through generalised standards or benchmarks, but through the judgments of the actors involved in the policy. This approach could do better justice to the unique context of different governments, such as different local governments. The public value perspective, however, is hampered by the competing expectations that actors have of public policy and their generally negative bias towards the government. Based on 71 interviews with local actors in six municipalities, we show how the public value approach does indeed yields many different and critical perspectives, even within municipalities that are considered successful by national experts. However, we also show which connections exist between these seemingly competing perspectives and how sombre judgments about past governance are actually influenced by optimistic ambitions for the future.


Scott Douglas DPhil

Prof. dr. Paul ’t Hart
Thema-artikel

Positieve bestuurskunde: een Europese Minnowbrook (EPPA I)

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden Positive Public Administration, European research, research agenda, societal impact
Auteurs Prof. dr. Geert Bouckaert
Samenvatting

    Geert Bouckaert reflects on the ambitions of Positive Public Administration within the larger European research agenda for public administration.


Prof. dr. Geert Bouckaert
Thema

Access_open Hoeder van de raad of functie zonder inhoud?

Een beschouwing op het vicevoorzitterschap van de gemeenteraad

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2019
Auteurs Dr. Niels Karsten en Dr. Sabine van Zuydam
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    At the time of the ‘dualization’ of Dutch local government in 2002 the acting municipal chairman of the local council under article 77 (1) of the Dutch Municipal Act was seen as the ‘guardian of the local council’, who has a special responsibility for the functioning of the council as a whole and who can give the council a face opposite the local board. However, this role has never been given to this ‘vice-president’. This option has recently been suggested again, with the aim of promoting cooperation within the local council and facilitating the changing role of the council. In this article, the authors show that the role of the vice-president in practice is limited, although importance is attached to it and a majority of municipal councils use the power to appoint their own vice-president. For the time being the Netherlands does not seem inclined to learn from Flanders, where the council now appoints its own chairman. This is partly due to differences between the mayor’s positions in the Netherlands and in Flanders. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that in the Netherlands too in the future more attention will be paid to the issue of the (vice-)presidency of the municipal council.


Dr. Niels Karsten
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Sabine van Zuydam
Dr. S. van Zuydam is als onderzoeker en docent verbonden aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg, onderzoeker en adviseur bij Necker Van Naem en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.
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