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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.

    ‘The Netherlands is a country of commissions. Some are useful: they draw up an analysis that clarifies, declares success or denounces failure’, as the author wrote in his PhD-thesis ‘Looking with strange eyes’ in 2014. This essay also deals with commissions. In the three decentralization operations in the Netherlands, a so-called social affairs advisory council has made its appearance in the Dutch municipalities. Advisory committees or councils play an important role in our political system. For a long time discussions have been held about the position of these advisory bodies and their added value for policy and stakeholders. This fits in with municipalities that are in full development with concepts such as self-management, co-creation and vital communities. Advisory councils want to know if their work matters. There may be growing disappointment about the effects of their advice. That feeling of disappointment is understandable. In 1979 Carol Weiss was rather negative at the time about the degree of utilization of research. In 1983 Arno Korsten put this into perspective: ‘The view that there is underutilization on a large scale requires revision. An important reason is the fact that applying research results is often not immediately and easily visible, neither for researchers involved nor for policy makers.’ Research is something other than advice, but the insights are a source of inspiration for the use of advice. An advisory council wants to increase the effectiveness of its advice. For that reason, in this essay an approach is developed that provides insight into the factors that determine the way in which and the extent to which the advice is used in political decision-making. With this insight, an advisory council for the social domain can strengthen the influence of its advice, as is expected.


Dr. Jean Schutgens
Dr. J.M.L.R. Schutgens is bestuurskundige en bestuurlijk vrijwilliger van het provinciaal Huis voor de Zorg in Limburg. Hij was gemeentesecretaris van Landgraaf in de periode 1992-2008.

    A provincial government in the Netherlands (Limburg) wants to start a movement designed to encourage citizens to live longer and healthier, and to participate in society. The province mobilizes partners to achieve these goals, with important tasks for the municipal governments. This article addresses the question how to help municipal governments in this approach. To draft a guide, a literature search was carried out, interviews were held and the policy practice was explored. This approach resulted in several building blocks that promote a departure from the trend in the health and participation of the citizens in Limburg. These building blocks are set in municipal activities in a Participation Compass social domain. Applying them indicates whether a municipal government is doing the right things to actively engage citizens. It gives an overall picture of the functioning of administrators, networkers and service providers. The report mentions strong points as well as learning points. It is crucial that results are recognized and accepted. The report also suggests improvement points for municipal governments and their partners on their path to the participation society.


Dr. Jean Schutgens
Dr. J.M.L.R. Schutgens is bestuurskundige en bestuurlijk vrijwilliger van het Huis voor de Zorg. Hij was gemeentesecretaris van Landgraaf in de periode 1992-2008.
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