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Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde x Jaar 2020 x
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Kantelpunt: op naar een nieuwe aanpak van problemen in de uitvoering van beleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden executive agencies, policy implementation, blame, ministries, parliament
Auteurs Prof. dr. Sandra van Thiel
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Over the past three years a number of reports and initiatives have emerged which seem to point to a different approach to solve problems in and with executive agencies. In the past, most problems were blamed on the agencies, by the media and politicians alike. However, these new reports and initiatives seem to allow room for a different, more realistic explanation. This article lists five of these reports and initiatives. First a letter on the results of the new coalition formation in 2017, concluding that executive agencies are under too much pressure and blame, and drawing more attention to the role of the legislature and the executive powers. Second, a report has been written by the Senior Civil Service – commissioned by a group of ministries – that offers a powerful analysis of the various causes of problems in and with executive agencies, leading to a number of prescriptions for all parties involved. Third, a ministerial committee has been established to discuss these problems and possible solutions on a regular basis. Fourth, the House of Representatives has launched a parliamentary inquiry into this topic. And finally, an unsolicited advisory report by the Council of State has been published on the dilemmas around ministerial accountability, stating that the blame for problems in and with executive agencies is often attributed in a false way. Together these five reports and initiatives call for a broader approach in handling such problems and hence more effective solutions.


Prof. dr. Sandra van Thiel
Prof. dr. S. van Thiel is hoogleraar Publiek Management aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zij doet al 25 jaar onderzoek naar uitvoeringsorganisaties en schreef daarover ‘Leren loslaten’ met 10 lessen voor de sturingsrelaties tussen ministeries en uitvoeringsorganisaties (uitgegeven bij Boom bestuurskunde).
Thema-artikel

Verantwoorde algoritmisering: zorgen waardengevoeligheid en transparantie voor meer vertrouwen in algoritmische besluitvorming?

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden algorithms, algorithmization, value-sensitivity, transparency, trust
Auteurs Dr. Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen en Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Algorithms are starting to play an increasingly prominent role in government organizations. The argument is that algorithms can make more objective and efficient decisions than humans. At the same time, recent scandals have highlighted that there are still many problems connected to algorithms in the public sector. There is an increasing emphasis on ethical requirements for algorithms and we aim to connect these requirements to insights from public administration on the use of technologies in the public sector. We stress the need for responsible algorithmization – responsible organizational practices around the use of algorithms – and argue that this is needed to maintain the trust of citizens. We present two key components of responsible algorithmization – value-sensitivity and transparency – and show how these components connect to algorithmization and can contribute to citizen trust. We end the article with an agenda for research into the relation between responsible algorithmization and trust.


Dr. Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen
Dr. S.G. Grimmelikhuijsen is universitair hoofddocent Publiek Management aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.

Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
Prof. dr. A.J. Meijer is hoogleraar Publiek Management aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.
Thema-artikel

Een transparant debat over algoritmen

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden AI, ethics, Big Data, human rights, governance
Auteurs Dr. Oskar J. Gstrein en Prof. dr. Andrej Zwitter
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The police use all sorts of information to fulfil their tasks. Whereas collection and interpretation of information traditionally could only be done by humans, the emergence of ‘Big Data’ creates new opportunities and dilemmas. On the one hand, large amounts of data can be used to train algorithms. This allows them to ‘predict’ offenses such as bicycle theft, burglary, or even serious crimes such as murder and terrorist attacks. On the other hand, highly relevant questions on purpose, effectiveness, and legitimacy of the application of machine learning/‘artificial intelligence’ drown all too often in the ocean of Big Data. This is particularly problematic if such systems are used in the public sector in democracies, where the rule of law applies, and where accountability, as well as the possibility for judicial review, are guaranteed. In this article, we explore the role transparency could play in reconciling these opportunities and dilemmas. While some propose making the systems and data they use themselves transparent, we submit that an open and broad discussion on purpose and objectives should be held during the design process. This might be a more effective way of embedding ethical and legal principles in the technology, and of ensuring legitimacy during application.


Dr. Oskar J. Gstrein
Dr. O.J. Gstrein is universitair docent Governance & Innovation aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Campus Fryslân, Data Research Centre.

Prof. dr. Andrej Zwitter
Prof. dr. A.J. Zwitter is hoogleraar Governance & Innovation aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Campus Fryslân, Data Research Centre.
Vrij artikel

Verantwoorden met gevoel

Taalkundige analyse van de impact van verantwoordingsrapporten in het openbaar bestuur

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2020
Auteurs Prof. dr. Thomas Schillemans en Marija Aleksovska Msc
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This paper analyzes the impact of linguistic characteristics of accountability reports on public sector organizations. It does so by analysing hundreds of accountability reports by four public sector bodies using the linguistic tool LIWC. The research question is: what linguistic characteristics of accountability reports are related to a bigger impact on the evaluated organization? The impact of three strategic choices is assessed. First of all, the impact of strategic positioning. Authors of texts can maintain a position of power in the choice of language (high clout) and speak top down to the recipient or they can take a more egalitarian, face to face, position. Secondly, authors can choose to use many complex linguistic phrasings, with causal reasoning for instance, or they can opt for simpler texts. Finally, the text can be littered with emotional, positive and negative, wordings or can be set in a neutral tone. Our analyses suggest that more emotional accountability reports are consistently related to a better reception and seem to have more impact. This has important consequences both theoretically and practically, which are discussed in the paper.


Prof. dr. Thomas Schillemans
Prof. dr. T. Schillemans is hoogleraar Bestuur en beleid aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap. Daarnaast is hij als co-decaan verbonden aan de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur.

Marija Aleksovska Msc
M. Aleksovska, Msc is promovenda aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.
Kroniek

Bestuurders: onderbelicht, maar onder het vergrootglas

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden boards, board capacity, good governance, public sector, inspection
Auteurs Dr. Marieke van Genugten en Dr. Marlies Honingh
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The number of boards in the public domain has risen sharply in recent decades and so has the number of reports containing guidelines for effective and good governance. The question, however, is what this flow of advice is based on and what we actually know about board capacity. In this paper, we discuss theoretical expectations on boards, recent developments in governance based inspection, and empirical research on this topic. All in all, it appears that relatively little empirical research is conducted into boards in the public domain. And the research that is available is as yet not very optimistic. Based on these observations, we conclude that it is necessary to re-examine the policy assumptions with regard to board capacity in the public domain.


Dr. Marieke van Genugten
Dr. M.L. van Genugten is universitair docent bij de sectie Bestuurskunde van de Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit.

Dr. Marlies Honingh
Dr. M.E. Honingh is universitair hoofddocent bij de sectie Bestuurskunde van de Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit.
Vrij artikel

20 jaar Verantwoordingsdag: Inzicht voor Kamercommissies

Hoe inhoudsanalyse inzicht geeft in prestatiegegevensgebruik door Kamerleden

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden performance information, accountability, Parliament, annual reports, Performance-based Budgeting
Auteurs Dr. Sjoerd Keulen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The 20th Accountability Day of the Netherlands House of Representatives is a fitting occasion to investigate whether Dutch Members of Parliament use performance information (PI). Performance information used by managers and politicians is a basic assumption for managing and guiding Performance-based Budgeting. Ironically, based on a literature review on performance use, we know that politicians and especially parliamentarians do not use performance information for decision making or scrutiny. This is specifically so when PI reports are long. Using the framework of accountability of Bovens (2007) and using content analysis of the questions, motions and debates of the Standing Committees on the annual reports, this article shows that MPs use performance information in all phases (informing, debating, sanctions). Contradicting earlier research on parliamentarians, we found that they use annual reports and reports of the Court of Audit as their main sources in the debates. This article shows that the use of PI in parliament is steadily rising. The growing importance of performance information for accountability is further illustrated by the strengthening of the accountability forum.


Dr. Sjoerd Keulen
Dr. S.J. Keulen is onderzoeker bij de Algemene Rekenkamer en universitair docent Bestuurskunde aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
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