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Essay

Met vreemde ogen kijken

Gemeentelijke visitaties met behulp van bestuurskrachtmetingen: opzet, uitkomsten en benutting

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2021
Auteurs Jean Schutgens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This study examines the quality of visitation in three government sectors in the Netherlands: academic education (training), urban policy (urban municipalities) and municipal authorities. The focus is mainly on the visitation of municipal authorities in the Dutch province Limburg. The assessment of the visitation quality of university study programmes and of major cities policy must yield hypotheses to determine the quality of the visitation of municipal authorities that have been visited. The object of study is therefore ‘visitation’, in particular ‘visitation quality’. The visitations of university studies were viewed from four quality perspectives, namely on the design quality, the process quality, the assessing and the concluding quality, and usability or utilisation. This is also the case with the visitation of the major cities’ policy and of the Limburg municipal authorities. The question is, of course, what the analysis of the quality of all the assessments in three sectors yields, with special attention to the assessment of municipal authorities. Is it clear after that analysis how this quality inspection should be carried out? The study provides a wealth of insights and shows the state of the administrative strength of the inspected Limburg municipal authorities. A publication of this study has been postponed for more than five years, because the author wanted to investigate whether the administrative strength measurements were used in the longer term.


Jean Schutgens
Dr. J.M.L.R. Schutgens is bestuurskundige en in 2014 bij Arno Korsten gepromoveerd aan de Open Universiteit. Hij was gemeentesecretaris van Landgraaf in de periode 1992-2008.

    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.
Reflectie & debat

Empathisch bestuur als politiek statement

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2018
Trefwoorden discretionaire ruimte, cultuurverandering, empathie, morele oordeelsvorming, moreel beraad
Auteurs Dr. mr. Hans Bosselaar
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Reflection and debate initiates academically inspired discussions on issues that are on the current policy agenda.


Dr. mr. Hans Bosselaar
Dr. mr. Hans Bosselaar is als senior onderzoeker en academisch manager verbonden aan de afdeling Bestuurswetenschap en Politicologie van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

    For the Dutch Association of Municipal Councillors (Raadslid.Nu) Bas Denters, professor of Public Administration at the University of Twente, wrote an essay on control and accountability in local government and the role of the municipality in this process. At close examination the relations in this area are less clear than they look on paper. The reason is what Mark Bovens and others have called the ‘displacement of politics’ in all its appearances: regionalization, privatization and socialization (i.e. tasks carried out by the society instead of the government). That process requires reflection on the question how democratic control and accountability at the local level can be reshaped. It is important to experiment with new ways in which municipal councils redefine the local processes of control and accountability. One can think of: (a) broadening the scope of the section in Dutch Municipal Law on affiliated parties (‘Verbonden Partijen’); (b) formulating Governance Charters and process framework notes; and (c) organizing the ‘democratic encirclement’ of the local administration, e.g. by other parties. In various places interesting initiatives have already been taken and hopefully this essay and the attention from Raadslid.Nu will contribute to more municipalities daring to blaze new paths.


Prof. dr. Bas Denters
Prof. dr. S.A.H. Denters is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit Twente, wetenschappelijk directeur van de Nederlandse Onderzoeksschool Bestuurskunde (NOB), wetenschappelijk adviseur van KISS en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    With the term ‘system responsibility’ the authors (both working for the Dutch Scientific Council for Governmental Policy) mean the responsibility for the functioning of complex ‘administrative systems’. In these complex administrative systems supervision can have different roles: to assess the functioning one-sided from the perspective of the government, but also to put on reflective glasses (‘from afar glasses’) that aim at the bigger picture of divergent rationalities of the actors involved. In the second case, there is ‘system responsible supervision’. This essay explores the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of the desirability of system responsible supervision in a society with complex, compound administrative systems. Such supervision can contribute to a somewhat better understanding of these systems and a somewhat better ability to adjust these complex systems. These supervisors can be seen as a necessary complement of the withdrawal of the government and the rise of ‘horizontal administration’, in which the hierarchical decision-power of the central government has gradually shifted to other actors. As unelected and as relatively independent actors they occupy a new, hybrid place in the ‘trias politica’, because on the one hand they have taken over functions of elected politicians and administrators and on the other hand they function in many respects as a quasi-judicial power.


Dr. Peter de Goede
Dr. P.J.M. de Goede is senior wetenschappelijk medewerker van de Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid. Hij is voormalig redactiesecretaris en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. André Knottnerus
Prof. dr. J.A. Knottnerus is voorzitter van de Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid.
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