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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 contribution describes civil service professionalism from a functionalist perspective: the most important function of civil service professionalism is creating, developing and maintaining the authority of governments. Contrary to common opinion, moral authority in our day appears to be of prime importance. Citizens appreciate moral authority, but this important source of authority is often underused by political-administrative officials (especially by them). By making better use of moral authority, civil servants – policy officials and executive officials – could play a much bigger role. In order to achieve this, their professionalism must be improved by creating a broad civil service charter from which (to a certain extent) they can derive a right for civil service professionalism. In the context of the present political debate in the Netherlands on the normalization of the legal status of civil servants, there is an opportunity now to make real progress in this matter. It would be a good thing if civil servants would make themselves heard in this debate. Looking after the moral dimension of the work of civil servants and the accountability in this respect is not only a matter for the Dutch cabinet and those preparing the civil service charter, but also for the civil servants in different parts of the Dutch civil service themselves.


Prof. dr. Gabriël van den Brink
Prof. dr. G.J.M. van den Brink is emeritus hoogleraar Maatschappelijke bestuurskunde aan de Tilburg University (Universiteit van Tilburg). Op 27 november 2015 hield hij zijn afscheidsrede.

Drs. Thijs Jansen
Drs. M. Jansen is universitair docent en senior onderzoeker aan de Tilburg University (Universiteit van Tilburg) bij de School voor Politiek en Bestuur.

Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de opleiding European Public Administration aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de opleiding European Public Administration aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    This contribution gives an overview of the results of recent research into the role perception and the role behaviour of councillors. The research is the MAELG-survey (Municipal Assemblies in European Local Governance) carried out in 2007 and 2008 in 15 European countries and Israel. A special issue of Local Government Studies has been dedicated to this research. Three articles of this special issue are discussed intensively. These articles look at the role perception and the role behaviour of local councillors from the perspective of the tension between representative and participative democracy, the relation between participative democracy (also called citizen democracy) and the responsiveness of councillors and the influence of informal institutions on the representation style of local councils. Another recent article in Acta Politica looks specifically at the situation in Belgium. It is interesting that the authors do not apply the classic typology of representation styles (trustee and delegate), but an alternative typology (with delegation, responsiveness, authorization and accountability as four styles of representation) developed by the Dutch political scientists Andeweg and Thomassen.


Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen en onderwijscoördinator van de opleiding European Public Administration aan de Universiteit Twente.
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