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Artikel

Hoe word je wethouder? Een onderzoek naar de transparantie en het democratisch gehalte van de wethoudersvoordracht

Een onderzoek naar de transparantie en het democratisch gehalte van de wethoudersvoordracht

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2014
Auteurs Julien van Ostaaijen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article addresses the question how aldermen are selected and nominated and how this process is related to a number of democratic values like popular influence and transparency. The central question is how one becomes an alderman in the Netherlands. To answer this central question a document analysis has been carried out and 137 interviews with aldermen have been held in 77 municipalities that were selected on geographical dispersion and number of inhabitants. The research shows that the process until the appointment of aldermen is little transparent and democratic for the outside world. In the large majority of the cases aldermen are asked an nominated from within a political party. The road to becoming an alderman is not closed, in principle everyone can become an alderman, but it is also not transparent and accessible for everyone. For this the selection and nomination is too much tied up to and decided in political party networks. However, gradually changes occur in this closed party bastion, because now parties more often are forced to look for suitable candidates outside the party.


Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is werkzaam als onderzoeker en docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur (Tilburg University).

    In the Netherlands at January 1st 2015 municipalities will most likely receive administrative and financial responsibility for work, youth and societal support. Anticipating this change almost all large municipalities have introduced social neighbourhood teams, inspired by the successful model of the ‘Achter-de-Voordeur-aanpak’ (Dutch for ‘Behind the Front Door-approach’). In this article the authors reflect on this development, because of criticisms about the vagueness surrounding the social teams and with its further development in mind. In a historical analysis they look at this phenomenon in relation to its political and policy context. The central research question is the change in vision that has occurred since the first experiments with neighbourhood social teams and the implications for their design. The authors show how the focus in the policy discourse has gradually moved to arguments concerning the efficiency of the societal support, more self-responsibility and self-direction and more participation in the society and the labour process. This makes a different model for neighbourhood teams desirable, especially in terms of (1) the target group of the approach, (2) the depth of the support and (3) the role of the generalist and the room for manoeuvre or the powers this generalist receives. A lot of municipalities choose to discover gradually what works. Next to the time pressure this might explain the vagueness of the plans for the design and organization of neighbourhood teams.


Mirjan Oude Vrielink
Mevr. dr. M.J. Oude Vrielink is senior onderzoeker aan de Universiteit Twente.

Lydia Sterrenberg
Mevr. dr. ir. L. Sterrenberg was senior projectleider bij Platform 31, werkt nu als wetenschappelijk onderzoeker bij de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en als coördinator van het ‘Pioneers into Practice’ mentoring-programma, onderdeel van het Europese Climate-KIC-programmma.

Helga Koper
Mevr. H. Koper is programmamanager Sociaal Domein bij Platform 31.

    Nowadays municipalities in the Netherlands work together more intensively with other municipalities in the region. Also cooperation with companies, institutions and societal organizations is more often looked for at the regional level. In practice this brings along many problems and difficulties. For several reasons it appears not to be easy to combine the implementation strengths of municipalities and societal partners. This article presents a new approach (based on the theory of ‘new regionalism’) to regional implementation strength. This approach is not only about designing regional administrations, but is mainly about the factors that induce administrations as well as companies and institutions to commit themselves jointly for the region. To increase the regional implementation strength more is needed than the formation of a regional administrative structure in which municipalities do not cooperate in a non-committal manner. To induce municipalities and societal partners to commit themselves jointly to handling new tasks or new challenges it is also necessary to have a clear strategic vision on these issues that binds parties and makes them enthusiastic and that regional cooperation is rooted in a societal breeding ground. It also asks for an administrative structure that does justice to the contribution every municipality and societal partner makes to the realization of the strategy and for a democratic involvement of municipal councils and sector-based interest groups.


Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur bij de vakgroep Bestuurskunde van de faculteit Management en Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente en senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC.

    In policy practice sometimes organizational arrangements appear that at first glance manifest itself as cooperative relations between private organizations, but about which on second thoughts the question can be asked if after all there is an active input from the side of the government. This is for instance the case in the construction of biogas infrastructures. In this article the authors discuss if we can talk about PPC after all. In the debate on governance this question is important because in the design of PPC the public interest involved must be sufficiently guaranteed in terms of control and accountability. On the basis of a confrontation between the results of a literature review and an empirical study of the case of a Green Gas pipeline in North-East Friesland (‘Biogasleiding Noordoost Fryslân’) in the Netherlands, the authors conclude that public steering in practice can take a form in disguise. Using ‘intermediate’ civil law legal persons, governmental influence indeed can be and is exercised during the cooperation. Especially law poses specific demands on control and accountability to take care of public interests, like the promotion of the use of renewable energy. Likewise in this kind of projects, especially in comparison with pure private-private cooperation, the public and if possible even the public law regulation must be safeguarded, for instance by transparency of form and content of steering. Of course this has to be done with preservation of the cooperative nature that is typical of PPC.


Maurits Sanders
Dr. M.P.T. Sanders is hoofddocent Bestuurskunde bij Saxion Hogescholen, zakelijk directeur van het Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG) en onlangs gepromoveerd aan de Faculteit Management en Bestuur van de Universiteit Twente.

Michiel Heldeweg
Prof. mr. dr. M.A. Heldeweg is hoogleraar Public Governance Law aan de Faculteit Management en Bestuur van de Universiteit Twente.
Artikel

In dienst van beleid of in dienst van de democratie?

Een studie naar de waarden achter overheidscommunicatie

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2014
Auteurs Harrie van Rooij en Noelle Aarts
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    More than twelve years after the appearance of the report of the Dutch Committee on the Future of Government Communication (‘Commissie Toekomst Overheidscommunicatie’) communication as the responsibility of the government is an important issue of debate and a discipline that is alive and kicking. We may even conclude that communication – in the terminology of this report – has conquered a place in the heart of policy. A lot is still unclear about the communicative function of government. On the normative question ‘why should the government communicate’ diverging answers are possible. However, the question is hardly discussed in practice and in science. For this reason the positioning of government communication as a separate discipline is also unclear. Reflection on the elementary values behind the discipline can reveal themes that have been invisible so far. The article investigates which values and motives are attached in theory and in practice to communication as a governmental function. For this reason a content analysis has been carried out of a number of volumes of five Dutch magazines (practical and scientific). The authors conclude that for professionals communication mainly is an instrument to support policy goals. The possibility to make a purposeful contribution with government communication to democratic values hardly is brought about, not so much in Communication Science as in Public Administration.


Harrie van Rooij
Drs. H.J.M. van Rooij is werkzaam bij het Ministerie van Financiën als beleidsadviseur op het gebied van strategische overheidscommunicatie.

Noelle Aarts
Prof. dr. M.N.C. Aarts is verbonden als bijzonder hoogleraar strategische communicatie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en als universitair hoofddocent aan de Universiteit Wageningen.
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