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    Dutch municipalities and provinces have been obliged to have an audit office or audit office function for about 20 years. How does the audit office work nowadays and what contribution does it make to decentralized administration? That is the question at the center of this article. To this end, the authors list the available knowledge about audit offices or committees and present the results of their own analysis of 982 audit reports from 234 audit offices or committees from 308 Dutch municipalities. The audit office or committee has been institutionalized in the vast majority of municipalities and in all provinces. Council members are increasingly less likely to (also) be members of this board and the output has increased slightly from approximately one to an average of one and a half surveys per year. Where initially mainly business management-oriented subjects were examined, some broadening to more policy-related themes has taken place. Municipal councilors are quite satisfied with their audit office or committee. At the same time, the actual social effects of policy are rarely measured in audit institutions. Moreover, council members make little use of audit reports in controlling the municipal board, and audit offices or committees also add little to their framework-setting role. Little is known about the extent to which the research of the audit offices makes a more objective contribution to the administration and strengthening of the functioning of the municipal council, which is also a theme for future research.


Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. K. Peters is zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist en bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en regionaal bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht; zij is voorzitter van de Rekenkamer Venlo en rekenkamerdirecteur in Beuningen, en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Sabine van Zuydam
Dr. S. van Zuydam is onderzoeker bij Necker van Naem en is verbonden aan de Universiteit Twente; daarnaast is zij (plaatsvervangend) voorzitter van verschillende rekenkamercommissies en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    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.
Artikel

Access_open Uitvoeringsorganisaties tussen staat en straat

De relevantie van maatschappelijke verantwoording voor directeuren van ZBO’s en agentschappen

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2021
Auteurs Lars Brummel, Sjors Overman en Thomas Schillemans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This contribution analyzes the degree of relevance that administrators of independent administrative bodies (ZBOs) and agencies assign to their accountability relationships with social stakeholders. Although there is a lot of attention for social forms of accountability in the scientific literature, no large-scale quantitative research has been conducted into how administrators of implementing organizations experience this accountability. This study fills this gap on the basis of survey research by: (1) mapping the importance of forms and practices of social accountability for implementing organizations; and (2) weighing potential explanations for differences in the importance of social accountability in implementing organizations. The authors show that administrators of ZBOs and agencies in the Netherlands attach great importance to accountability towards their broad public environment, also compared to other countries with similar types of implementing organizations. This observation is in line with the Dutch reputation of consensual and interactive governance. Differences in the importance of social accountability between implementing organizations cannot be explained by the vertical accountability relationship with the parent department or other institutional organizational characteristics. The analysis shows that social orientation is greater among ZBOs and agencies where the media has more influence over administrators. Social accountability is associated with greater perceived media pressure.


Lars Brummel
L. Brummel MSc is promovendus aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht. In 2018 rondde hij zijn researchmaster bestuurskunde en organisatiewetenschap af in Utrecht.

Sjors Overman
Dr. S.P. Overman MSc is universitair docent aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij is in 2016 gepromoveerd aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Thomas Schillemans
Prof. dr. T. Schillemans is hoogleraar Verantwoording, gedrag en instituties aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht.

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.

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.

    Information platforms can facilitate data sharing and make new applications possible. It is essential to connect a wide range of both public and private parties to a platform if real data-based transformation is to get off the ground. However, organizations are reluctant to share data if they do not know exactly what it can be used for or if they have no direct interest in it. Achieving a good solution requires a lot from the innovation process itself and the way it is managed. This article uses three innovation perspectives for the analysis of a logistics information platform. This analysis shows that different stages in the development of an information platform can be distinguished, each with its own dynamic. For local government the involvement of and connection to local parties is important, while innovation as a whole benefits from the link with an overarching agenda that transcends the local level.


Prof. dr. Bram Klievink
Prof. dr. ing. A.J. Klievink is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit Leiden, met een speciale focus op digitalisering en publiek beleid.
Vrij

Van transitie naar transformatie van de jeugdhulp

Biedt de transactiekostentheorie aanknopingspunten voor meer kwaliteit, minder uitvoeringskosten en lagere administratieve lasten?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2019
Auteurs Drs. Nanko Boerma en Dr. Bert Bröcking
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the implementation of the Dutch Youth Act, since the so-called ‘transition’ of 2015 under the responsibility of the municipalities, there are three major problems: the municipalities are short of money, the implementation of youth aid is accompanied by high administrative burdens and there are serious quality concerns, especially where different care providers must work together for one client. This article deals with the possibilities of the economic transaction cost theory for realizing improvements through organizing more effective collaboration between municipalities and healthcare providers. Transactions are a ‘forgotten’ cost source. There are three sources of transaction costs: limited rationality, opportunistic behavior and ‘asset specificity.’ In this article the authors analyze twelve problems documented in the literature on youth care from this perspective. This creates a framework from which municipalities can tackle these problems in order to improve the quality of youth care, to keep costs under control and to reduce the administrative burden. In a number of sectors and large projects ‘linking zones’ appear to be a way to increase the trust between players in a chain, so that transaction costs fall. Where poor cooperation between chain partners in youth care is a major cause of the problems, municipalities can make significant gains by establishing linking zones with care providers contracted by them. This article outlines the method in a linking zone.


Drs. Nanko Boerma
Drs. N. Boerma is van huis uit politicoloog en is voorzitter/directeur van de stichting Transactieland, het kennisinstituut voor transactie-innovatie.

Dr. Bert Bröcking
Dr. B.C. Bröcking is adviseur op het terrein van de jeugdhulp. Hij schreef over de rollen van cliënt, hulpverlener en overheid in de jeugdhulp.

    Civil servants at the Dutch authorities increasingly make use of behavioural insights in the policy process. These insights are primarily put on the agenda at the level of the national government in the Netherlands. However, they also seem to be particularly useful at the local level. After all, behaviour-conscious policy focuses on behavioural change through the redesign of the direct environments of citizens, and local authorities have a clear view and control over these environments. In the light of this potential, this article explores the current rise and institutionalization of behavioural expertise in local government. The work practices of local behavioural experts are examined on the basis of three dimensions of local government: positioning, practices and politics. The findings show that local behavioural experts are still in an experimental and start-up phase, but at the same time are already working with a wealth of behavioural assignments. In doing so, they deal tactically with scarce resources, resistance and abrasive institutional logics. The article shows that behavioural insights and designs are also promising in local government, that a local administrative landscape of behavioural expertise is already being developed; and that making meters in the field of behavioural expertise calls for several forms of coordination.


Joram Feitsma MSc
J.N.P. Feitsma MSc is promovendus bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij studeerde bestuurs- en organisatiewetenschap en filosofie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en de Washington University in Saint Louis.
Artikel

Crisis? What crisis?!

Verhalende betekenisgeving aan de economische crisis door gemeenten en hun maatschappelijke partners

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2018
Auteurs Dr. Mark van Dam
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In 2008 a global economic crisis broke out. Now we can look back at the crisis as a clearly ordered sequence of events. But at the time these events were experienced as unexpected, unordered and unpredictable: a shock situation. How did municipalities respond to this shock situation, to this economic crisis? This article describes how two Dutch municipalities, together with their societal partners, made sense of the economic crisis. This concerns the question of how they interpreted the crisis themselves, but also which actions ensued. From a constructivist position, the article considers how the two municipalities together with their partners made sense of the situation and this enabled them to implement measures that could mitigate the consequences of the crisis for their communities. Based on epistemological and methodological assumptions discourse analysis, the author investigates the role of language in this process of sense-making. This approach offers municipalities insight in the role of stories in policymaking and in determining new practical solutions. The article closes with some guidance on how this perspective can help to people and institutions to cope with comparable situations, specifically in the cooperation between municipalities and other organizations.


Dr. Mark van Dam
Dr. A. van Dam is oprichter en onderzoeker/adviseur bij AddSense. In 2017 promoveerde hij aan de Faculteit Politieke en Sociale Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent.
Artikel

Gezocht: integere en daadkrachtige verbinder (m/v)

Het onderscheidend vermogen van profielschetsen voor Nederlandse burgemeesters beoordeeld

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2018
Auteurs Niels Karsten, Hans Oostendorp en Frank van Kooten
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    There is a lot of criticism on the profile descriptions in which Dutch municipalities express the requirements which they put on a new mayor to be appointed. They would look too much like each other and contain few real choices. This article describes the requirements Dutch municipalities put on candidate mayors and analyses the discriminatory power of profile descriptions. A content analysis of 231 profile descriptions and talks with five focus groups show that municipal councils especially ask for integer networkers and linkers, who are above all effective, empathic and communicative. The differences between municipalities in this respect are small and the municipal size hardly makes any difference. Municipal councils do not fully utilize the opportunities in profile descriptions for local customization and barely translate the local conditions into specific requirements. The explanation for this is partly located in isomorphic processes, that lead to uniformity: municipal councils follow the guide of the national government for the appointment process and copy texts from each other. At the same time the office of the mayor in the Netherlands asks for a specific content, that is translated into the profile descriptions. It is therefore the question if the criticism on profile descriptions is fully justified. They do have discriminatory power, although municipal councils could make much sharper choices in what they expect from a mayor, appropriate to the challenges the municipality faces.


Niels Karsten
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Hans Oostendorp
Drs. J.H.W. Oostendorp is directeur van het adviesbureau Necker van Naem.

Frank van Kooten
F. van Kooten MSc is data-analist bij het adviesbureau Necker van Naem.

    In administrative practice as well as in administrative science administrative innovation is a much desired good. In this article the author makes an attempt to describe the good, or the better, that can be pursued with administrative innovation, much sharper than has been done in the past. The result is a substantive framework for qualifying and evaluating administrative innovations. The article arises from a special interaction research, that started with a question from administrative practice (about the leading principles for administrative innovation in the Dutch municipality of Breda) and ended in a confrontation between desiderata from administrative practice on the one hand and foundations from administrative science on the other hand. Finally, these six leading principles emerged out of the investigation: responsiveness, productivity, involvement, counter-pressure, creativity, and good governance. The author also discusses how the resulting framework can be used and understood. The framework is robust because it not only is theoretically (the literature on governance and democratic innovation) inspired and founded, but also recognizable and manageable for administrative practice.


Frank Hendriks
Prof. dr. F. Hendriks is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.
Artikel

De aanstellingswijze gewogen

Een overzicht van argumenten voor en tegen verschillende aanstellingswijzen van de burgemeester

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2017
Auteurs Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen, Dr. Niels Karsten en Prof. dr. Pieter Tops
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article offers the reader an overview of arguments for and against the different modes of appointments of Dutch mayors. The authors do this from different perspectives that are based on relevant values of good governance. In relation to the intended deconstitutionalization of the mode of appointment, they want to contribute with this overview to the debate on the role of the mayor and the mode of appointment. The three modes of appointment discussed are nomination by the Crown, election by the municipal council and direct election by citizens. On the basis of this research, they conclude that changing the mode of appointment to one of the three (pure) modes of appointment has advantages as well as disadvantages, but that the combination has important consequences for the functioning of the local governance system as a whole. In addition, they conclude somewhat paradoxically that the mode of appointment is only one of the factors that influences the functioning of a mayor. Therefore, the question about the mode of appointment of Dutch mayors must be considered within a broader framework of possible measures, with the underlying questions: what kind of mayor, and what kind of local governance, do we want ultimately?


Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en voorzitter van de Rekenkamercommissie in de gemeente Zundert.

Dr. Niels Karsten
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Prof. dr. Pieter Tops
Prof. dr. P.W. Tops is hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg en lector Openbaar bestuur aan de Politieacademie.

    The increased complexity of multilevel democracies makes the evaluation of the performances of the government an increasingly difficult task for citizens. Multilevel governance involves information costs, which makes it more difficult for citizens to give clear responsibility for government tasks to the correct level of government. This article contains the first study that is focussing on the responsibility perceptions in the Netherlands. The authors do not just look at who citizens hold responsible for certain government tasks, but they also look at the consequences of these perceptions for the mechanism of accountability. The satisfaction of citizens are with the policy in a particular area should only influence the political support for the level of government they hold responsible. Results of the research are that in line with this perspective a strong correlation exists between satisfaction with the pursued policy and trust of the citizens in this government, in proportion as they hold a level of government more responsible. On the other hand there are large differences between citizens, that correlate with their level of education. So there are also large groups of citizens for whom it is not possible to keep governments responsible for the policy pursued, because they simply do not know which government is responsible.


Lisanne de Blok MSc
E.A. de Blok MSc is promovendus aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Hiervoor deed ze een research master sociale wetenschappen aan dezelfde universiteit en liep ze stage bij de Raad voor het openbaar bestuur (Rob).

Prof. dr. Wouter van der Brug
Prof. dr. W. van der Brug is hoogleraar Politicologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.
Artikel

Lokale verkiezingen: een lokaal of nationaal feest der democratie?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2017
Auteurs Dr. Eefje Steenvoorden, Babs Broekema MSc en Dr. Jeroen van der Waal
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The term ‘second-order election’ indicates some elections are less important for citizens than national elections. This article investigates to what extent that applies for the Dutch elections of the municipal council. The research builds on literature about the second-order nature of the local elections in the Netherlands. The authors focus on the question to what extent the Dutch elections of the municipal council are second-order elections, by comparing voting at local and national elections in different ways. They compare four aspects of local and national voting: the turnout, the underlying factors that explain the turnout, the factors that explain voting for local parties, and the national or local character of the voting motives at the municipal elections in 2014. The results do not give a clear answer to the question to which extent municipal elections are locally oriented. The four different angles all deliver ambiguous patterns. So municipal elections indeed partly have a second-order nature as previously argued and shown. Nevertheless, we must not underestimate local affinity and political involvement. The fact that some of the citizens are interested in local politics, local parties and in local election electoral programmes is pointing out a local political dynamics.


Dr. Eefje Steenvoorden
Dr. E.H. Steenvoorden is universitair docent politieke sociologie bij de vakgroep Sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Babs Broekema MSc
B. Broekema MSc is promovendus aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Aan dezelfde universiteit deed ze een master Bestuurskunde, Beleid en Politiek.

Dr. Jeroen van der Waal
Dr. J. van der Waal is universitair hoofddocent politieke sociologie bij de vakgroep Sociologie aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

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

    For aldermen in Dutch municipalities, ‘integrity’ increasingly seems to be an important factor causing their downfall. A lot of aldermen have resigned in the recent years because of ‘integrity’ and invariably local and national media were actively involved in this process. This article deals with the question of the role of the media in integrity affairs involving aldermen that have to resign. To answer this question, the authors analysed ten affairs that occurred in 2014 in which an alderman had to resigned (forced or voluntarily) because of integrity issues. The analysis shows that local media, regardless of how small they may be and how limited their means, often report extensively about integrity issues. In some cases, local media even act as accountability forums that call these aldermen to account. In other cases, the coverage in local media leads to further questions and calls for political accountability in the municipal council. Sometimes the media ‘merely’ report on the debates between the municipal council and the municipal board, but by doing so magnify the impact of an affair in the local community. In this way, the media fulfil their democratic role as watchdogs of local democracy, a role in which they bark loudly, often persistently and sometimes venomously about (alleged) integrity affairs.


Peter Schokker LLM MA
P. Schokker LLM MA is onderzoeker en adviseur bij het Bureau Integriteit BING.

Dr. Thomas Schillemans
Dr. T. Schillemans is universitair hoofddocent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO).

    Local authorities know for some time from experience with partnerships with local communities in the area of sustainable development that the urgency of climate change increases and that citizens develop into an equal partner. The convergence of these two motivations asks for an innovative way of acting, in which the performance of local authorities is a crucial factor for the ultimate success of local sustainable energy projects in which citizens are actively involved or will be involved. This article exposes the ways in which local authorities innovate with policy for the support of active citizenship in the production of locally generated sustainable energy. The article also explores the barriers that arise. The authors analyse two cases on different levels of government; ‘The Energy-workplace’ (in the Dutch province Fryslân) and ‘The Armhoede sustainable energy landscape’ (in the Dutch municipality Lochem). The cases show that policy innovations crystallize as well at ‘arm’s length’ distance as in the direct sphere of influence of the (local) authority. However, innovation takes place by the grace of the space in the existing institutional framework and the political (and administrative) system. Formal guidelines (like policy or regulation), persons, and informal practices of the traditional policy implementation may hinder a productive interaction between (active) citizens and government.


Beau Warbroek MSc
W.D.B. Warbroek MSc is promovendus aan het Department of Governance and Technology for Sustainability (CSTM) van de Universiteit Twente en de stichting University Campus Fryslân (UCF).

Dr. Thomas Hoppe
Dr. T. Hoppe is als universitair hoofddocent verbonden aan de Multi-Actor Systems-vakgroep (MAS-POLG) van de Technische Universiteit Delft.

    Energy planning and the realization of a new energetic infrastructure has become an issue for many actors. The local setting has become polycentric. Against this background the authors have tried to answer the question of the possible consequences of a polycentric local decision-making arena for the realization of sustainable energy transition, especially the implementation of smart grids. Polycentrism is characterised by configurations of units that are multi-level, multi-purpose, multi-sectoral and multi-functional. The impact of these configurations can be assessed using four criteria: control, efficiency, political representation and local self-determination. The authors used these criteria to analyse two cases. Both cases show that the consequences of polycentrism are variable and differ on the four criteria. The analysis shows tensions in polycentric configurations between control and efficiency on the one hand and local self-determination and political representation on the other. This outcome was a reason for the authors to argue for a better institutional design for the local polycentric arena with the help of the seven ‘rules-in-use’ of Elinor Ostrom. Her design is universal but requires specific local application. In this way more justice can be done to the local circumstances in order to be able to achieve effective results.


Imke Lammers MSc
I. Lammers MSc is als promovenda verbonden aan het Department of Governance and Technology for Sustainability (CSTM) van de Universiteit Twente.

Dr. Maarten Arentsen
Dr. M.J. Arentsen is als universitair hoofddocent verbonden aan het Department of Governance and Technology for Sustainability (CSTM) van de Universiteit Twente.

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.
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