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Artikel

Digitaal leiderschap

Verkenning van de veranderende rol van gemeentesecretarissen in de informatiesamenleving

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2020
Auteurs Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Rapid technological change and the information society have consequences for the role and duties of municipal clerks. To increase understanding of the implications of digital technologies for the role of municipal clerk (town clerk), this article presents an exploration of the ‘digital leadership’ of municipal clerks, i.e. leadership that suits a time when digital technologies are growing explosively. By using the four leadership perspectives of Bolman and Deal and the public value thinking of Moore, it was investigated which leadership themes are mentioned in the literature. In this way, this article aims to contribute to the leadership role of the municipal clerk so that he gives shape and direction to the organization from a vision on this change task and leads this transition instead of seeing it as a collection of smart gadgets or an issue concerning the IT department. This means that he will have to be aware of technological developments, can think critically about their significance and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to lead the municipal organization in the information society. This article shows practitioners that: (a) municipal clerks play an important role when it comes to the structure of the municipal organization in the information society; (b) the way in which municipalities innovate digitally has an impact on society and people’s lives; and (c) it is therefore important to shape the leadership of municipal clerks based on public values in order to realize legitimate applications of digital technologies with added social value.


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).

    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.
Artikel

Kleine teksten, grootse verwachtingen

De toename van eisen aan bestuurders in non-profitorganisaties

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2020
Auteurs Dr. Morris Oosterling en Prof. dr. Theo Camps
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Changes in views on the management of non-profit organizations have implications for the role expected of administrators. This also has an important influence on the requirements placed on these administrators. In the Dutch context, it has not previously been investigated whether and how the requirements for administrators change, and to what extent this occurs in conjunction with changes in the views on the management of non-profit organizations. This is central to this study. By means of a content analysis, in which 363 recruitment texts from the period 1980-2010 were analyzed, the authors show that more and more divergent demands are made on administrators in non-profit organizations. With our study we also show that this accumulation is closely related to views on management. Regulators are advised to focus on optimizing requirements, rather than maximizing them. This allows for more targeted and more adequate recruitment. The study also shows that accountability has not previously been a specific requirement in recruitment texts, whereas this is desirable in the light of previous incidents. Our recommendation to supervisors is to pay more specific attention to this when drawing up job profiles. The relevance for practitioners is (a) that the study provides insight into the relationship between views on the management of non-profit organizations and the demands placed on directors by supervisors; (b) this also clarifies that there are or may be blind spots, as becomes clear with regard to accountability requirements; and finally (c) our study provides food for thought about the role of recruitment texts in the selection process, and whether the requirements set are really relevant to the organization.


Dr. Morris Oosterling
Dr. M. Oosterling is onderzoeker, adviseur en coach bij Aizen Wetenschap in Bedrijf en adviseur werving, selectie en onderwijs bij BeteoR, Mens en Organisatie. Hij promoveerde in juli 2019 in Tilburg op het proefschrift Op zoek naar leiderschap. De top in non-profit organisaties bezien vanuit selectie.

Prof. dr. Theo Camps
Prof. dr. T.W.A. Camps is geassocieerd consultant bij de Berenschot Groep BV en hoogleraar Organisatiekunde en Bestuurskunde aan de TIAS School for Business and Society.

    The author of this contribution asks whether and, if so, in which specific cases, the principle of the separation of church and state applies to situations related to the emptying of churches. As a result of the closure, restoration and re-designation of church buildings, governments may be confronted with issues that touch on this principle. The principle of the separation between church and state prescribes that the government must be neutral. This contribution explains that this neutral attitude differs according to the social domain in which the issue arises. Using a contextual approach, he makes clear which interests (religious, general, private and the interests of others) should be decisive in government policy in this area in the various domains.


Mr. dr. Jos Vleugel
Mr. dr. A. Vleugel is als onderzoeker en universitair docent staatsrecht verbonden aan de faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie van de Universiteit Utrecht. Zijn expertise ligt bij de volgende thema’s: grondrechten, de neutrale overheid, religieuze tolerantie en de scheiding tussen kerk en staat.

    Large government investments are regularly preceded by an ex-ante evaluation. This article examines the quality of two ex-ante studies and considers the use made by administrators and representatives of the people of these ex-ante studies. In both cases it concerned qualitatively sound ex-ante studies. In both cases, these studies also demonstrably affected the debate about these investment plans in the people’s representations. But there was no question of power-free decision making. In both cases, the representatives of the people were put under great pressure. Not only was there time pressure. The public debate came late. The use of sound ex-ante studies is not only an investment in rationality, but is also accompanied by political-strategic manoeuvring. The relevance of this article to practitioners is that it (a) contains four reasonable requirements that the representative may make of each ex-ante study offered by the executive board; (b) also shows that an ex-ante analysis on which important decisions are based should not be characterised by secret parts or by undefined assumptions and an ex-ante analysis must be transparent; and (c) demonstrates it is important as a representative to be tenacious, to keep a firm hand and not to decide before all questions have been answered and a full list of safeguards is on the table.


Prof. dr. Michiel Herweijer
Prof. dr. M. Herweijer is bijzonder hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen. Hij was tot 1 januari 2019 directeur van de Noordelijke Rekenkamer. Sinds 1 november 2018 is hij docent publiek management aan de Universitaire Campus Fryslân te Leeuwarden (een nevenvestiging van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).

    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.
Artikel

Het spel en de knikkers: ervaren rechtvaardigheid in vier lokale participatieprocessen

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2020
Auteurs Drs. Christine Bleijenberg, Dr. Reint Jan Renes, Prof. dr. Noëlle Aarts e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Designing and implementing participation processes that are perceived as meaningful by both municipalities and citizens requires insight into the assessment by participants. In this study the theory of experienced procedural justice is applied in the context of citizen participation. To gain insight into the importance of the outcome and the course of the process in the assessment by participants, the authors have used survey research to collect data from four different participation processes in a Dutch municipality (Delft). The results of this explorative study show that the respondents rate the participation processes in which they have participated as reasonably fair. There is a fair process effect when respondents experienced the process as fair and their confidence in the municipality increases, even if the outcome is unfavourable for them. For practitioners, this study shows that the dimensions of procedural justice, namely respect, having a voice and explanation, are guiding principles for the design and implementation of participation processes. There is still much to be achieved, especially when it comes to being given an explanation, so information about the decision-making process and accountability for the substantive choices that have been made. Finally, regular evaluation research is needed to set up participation processes that tie in with what participants think is important.


Drs. Christine Bleijenberg
Drs. C. Bleijenberg is als onderzoeker en docent verbonden aan het lectoraat Crossmediale Communicatie in het Publieke Domein van de Hogeschool Utrecht en als promovendus aan de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen.

Dr. Reint Jan Renes
Dr. R.J. Renes is lector Psychologie voor een Duurzame Stad aan het Amsterdams Kenniscentrum voor Maatschappelijke Innovatie van de Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

Prof. dr. Noëlle Aarts
Prof. dr. M.N.C. Aarts is hoogleraar Socio-Ecologische Interacties aan het Instituut for Science in Society (ISiS) van de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen.

Jonas Moons MSc
J. Moons MSc is als onderzoeker en docent verbonden aan het lectoraat Crossmediale Communicatie in het Publieke Domein van de Hogeschool Utrecht.
Artikel

Hulp bij het vormen van lokale coalities en colleges

De lokale externe (in)formateur in Nederland

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2020
Auteurs Dirk Winkelmolen MSc en Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In many Dutch municipalities, a ‘local external (in)formateur’ is deployed after the municipal elections. Local (in)formateurs guide the process of coalition formation. They investigate which political parties and political groups want to work together and try to bring them closer together. They can also play a role in the board formation, such as selecting alderman candidates and allocating portfolios. External (in)formateurs come ‘from outside’. They do not have an official political or official position in the municipality where they do their work at the time of their deployment as informateur. In 2014, forty percent of the municipalities made use of such an external (information) officer. However, we still know relatively little about the work of these local external informateurs, their background and results. The authors try to fill that gap on the basis of a literature study, interviews with stakeholders and a survey among 115 local external informateurs. They also consider the added value of local external (in)formateurs for local democracy. The work of local external (in)formal formateurs can contribute to a stable and well-functioning municipal executive. Nonetheless, they tend to have a rather one-sided socio-demographic profile and the desired party political experience and involvement with the municipality can be at odds with the desired independence and objectivity.


Dirk Winkelmolen MSc
D. Winkelmolen MSc deed de master Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg en is momenteel beleidsmedewerker Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling in de gemeente Roerdalen (Limburg).

Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en voorzitter van de Rekenkamercommissie in de gemeente Zundert.

    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.
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.
Thema

Access_open Lokaal bestuur in Vlaanderen en Nederland: een verkennende vergelijking

Inleiding op het themanummer ‘De gemeenteraad in Vlaanderen en Nederland vergeleken’

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2019
Auteurs Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers en Prof. dr. Herwig Reynaert
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    There are many good reasons to dwell a little longer on current developments in Dutch and Flemish local government and to examine what both countries can learn from each other. Despite all the differences, Flemish and Dutch municipalities have more in common than with local government in France, the United Kingdom, German Länder or Scandinavian countries. Different words are used on both sides of the border, but the duties and powers of local officials are largely the same. It is therefore a good reason to subject the local government on either side of the border to a first comparison, as a prelude to the contributions in this special issue. After an initial interpretation of the institutional and administrative differences and agreements, the editors of this special issue discuss a number of current discussions about the role and position of the municipal council in Flanders and the Netherlands. They conclude with a brief introduction to the two contributions to this special issue.


Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. Herwig Reynaert
Prof. dr. H. Reynaert is hoogleraar politieke wetenschappen bij het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Thema

De raad in beraad

Een vergelijking en evaluatie van de formele hervormingen ter versterking van de gemeenteraad in Vlaanderen en Nederland

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2019
Auteurs Dr. Tom Verhelst, Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters en Prof. dr. Koenraad De Ceuninck
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Until 2002, local government in Flanders and the Netherlands had a monistic approach. In both systems, the city council was formally the head of the board. However, due to the interplay of factors and evolutions, the influence of the council in practice was increasing. This contribution compares and evaluates the institutional reforms that have been implemented in Flanders and the Netherlands over the past decades in an attempt to reassess the role and position of the council. While Flanders opted for more limited reforms within the existing monistic system (e.g. its own chairman for the council, a special committee for intermunicipal cooperation, a procedure for restoring structural unmanageability), the Netherlands opted with dualism for a radical personnel and functional separation between council and board. Although the reforms in Flanders often seem half-hearted and councilors in the Netherlands attribute more influence to themselves, research also shows that the revaluation of the council in the Netherlands is (still) incomplete too. This theme will undoubtedly remain on the political agenda in the coming years. The authors are thinking of the development of a better statute for council members, or the functioning of the council as a democratic watchdog of the network society.


Dr. Tom Verhelst
Dr. T. Verhelst is postdoctoraal medewerker bij het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek (vakgroep politieke wetenschappen) van de Universiteit Gent.

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.

Prof. dr. Koenraad De Ceuninck
Prof. dr. K. De Ceuninck is politicoloog en hoogleraar bij het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent.
Serie

Ambitieuze en ambivalente vernieuwing van de lokale democratie in Nederland

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2019
Auteurs Dr. Linze Schaap, Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks, Dr. Niels Karsten MA e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article in the series on the local democratic audit, the authors argue that municipal democracy in the Netherlands has become a multiple democracy. Within the formal framework of representative democracy, numerous democratic arrangements have emerged that may be referred to as participatory, direct and also what the authors call ‘do-democracy’. Additions to representative democracy did not come without reason: representative democracy is not a perfect system, either in theory or in practice. Efforts have been made to improve the functioning of representative democracy in a number of ways. Three of these are discussed in this article. The authors note that these three reforms do not solve the problems in representative democracy. So the Dutch municipalities have started looking for additions to representative democracy. In this article various forms of participatory, do-it-yourself and direct democracy are discussed. Many effects of these reforms are still unknown and knowledge about them has crumbled, but one conclusion can be drawn: people with a low education are not inclined to take part, even with arrangements that are easily accessible. Striving for a more vital local democracy seems meaningful; the authors formulate a number of ways of thinking about this.


Dr. Linze Schaap
Dr. L. Schaap is universitair hoofddocent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

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

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

Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en voorzitter van de Rekenkamercommissie in de gemeente Zundert.

Charlotte Wagenaar MSc.
C.C.L. Wagenaar MSc is onderzoeker bij de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

    In this article in the series on the local democratic audit, the authors discuss the relationship between decentralization, scaling-up and local democracy. Decentralizations and scaling-up operations have changed the face of local government in the Netherlands considerably in recent decades. What have the consequences for the functioning of local democracy been? Although decentralizations aim to increase democratic control of government tasks, decentralizations appear to have weakened local democracy in two ways. First of all, they have led to a substantial scaling-up of the local government, through municipal amalgamations and especially through the formation of regional partnerships. Regionalization in particular has had all kinds of negative consequences for the functioning of local democracy. Decentralization policy itself has also weakened the steering and controlling role of the city council – certainly in the short term – while decentralization presupposes that the city council has a strong role in coordinating decentralized policy with local wishes and circumstances. We can speak of a ‘double decentralization paradox’ that entails both bottlenecks and opportunities. From the legislator’s side, therefore, an integral vision for the organization of domestic governance is needed.


Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC en tevens redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

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.

    Governance is a human activity and is therefore unquestionably about relationships. Relationships between public and private parties. Relationships in existing steering-oriented structures (the political administrator as guardian, magistrate) and also relationships in new forms of cooperation that are often focused on good relationships (government participation). Public-private partnerships are inevitably accompanied by conflicting interests that place different demands on interactions. One-size-fits-all does not fit there, but customization is required, with constant alignment with what is – and what is not (yet). And so the ability to make contact requires much more attention, and from there to explore and grasp perspectives. How do you work on the tensions that you find on your way? It is there that the method of communication influences how the process of cooperation and steering proceeds. This is not a matter of whether-or, but and-and. Both perspectives are characterized by a different relationship with those involved and a different way of contact and interaction. This article focuses on contact from a collaborative perspective. The classical administrative side already has a rich history, while the cooperation side is often still an unknown and unexplored territory. The central question is: how can you, as a director and public professional, deliver tailor-made solutions and therefore adapt to complex tasks? The authors look at complex situations from a communicative perspective and they introduce ‘appreciative communication’ as the art of aligning with what really moves people, as a frame of view of the inconvenience caused by the differences present. They highlight a number of generic tensions that can arise in cooperation situations. A case study into the approach to regional innovation in the field of mobility serves as an illustration.


Dr. Els van der Pool
Dr. E.M.C. van der Pool is lector Human Communication Development bij de Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen (HAN).

Dr. Guido Rijnja
Dr. G.W. Rijnja is adviseur communicatiebeleid bij de Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, Ministerie van Algemene Zaken.
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