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    From 2001 (until February 2017), the Dutch province of Overijssel had its own knowledge center, in the area of urban society alongside the national knowledge centers, that was called KISS. In a first essay, an overview of KISS meetings dedicated to citizen participation was given with examples from all over the world. A second essay zoomed in on the Dutch municipality Deventer, a frontrunner in the area of innovative community and area development. This essay focuses on Enschede, a municipality with nearly 160,000 inhabitants in the east of the Netherlands near the German border, as pioneer with the method of the social general practitioners (‘wijkcoaches’) in the Netherlands. Two KISS meetings were devoted to this innovative instrument: the first on its design and on the preliminary results of the project, the second on the final results and on the future of the project. An important role in pioneering was played by the political executives in the municipality and the community of Enschede that showed New Civic Leadership (a concept from Robin Hambleton) by their commitment to the common good and the values of the welfare state. This type of leadership is especially important in a turbulent policy environment like that of social work with decentralizations, financial cuts and shifting policy goals.


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 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.
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