Distrust 'choking' quality of Dutch public services

1st December 2004, Comments 0 comments

1 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government's mania for organisation and supervision is choking the quality of public services such as healthcare, education and public housing, the Scientific Council for Government Policy WRR said on Wednesday.

1 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government's mania for organisation and supervision is choking the quality of public services such as healthcare, education and public housing, the Scientific Council for Government Policy WRR said on Wednesday.

The WRR (an independent thinktank providing analysis and advice on various social issues of a long-term nature) also said regulation and control was irresponsibly costing too much money and was not leading to better healthcare or service provision. Public services were being diverted from doing what they are designed to do, such as providing education and healthcare.

It said the government has to place greater trust in professionals and managers, asserting that the current emphasis was too heavily placed on control and assessment. This was leading in turn to squandering, average performances and a stifling amount of supervision.

The government was urged to implement a system that gave room and challenged institutions to self-educate and innovate. Good results should be rewarded and used as an example, while poor performances should be sanctioned. This would then enforce performance improvements.

The Dutch Cabinet has made deregulation one of its main priorities in the current term of government, but in practice little change has been achieved, the WRR said in its Wednesday-published advice to the coalition Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 government.

"Control is an objective in itself, but the quality of the provision of services has not or has scarcely been served," the report said. The WRR added that the current suspicious approach is leading to "strategic sponger behaviour" of professionals and "institutionalised distrust".
 
Despite the creation of new supervisory authorities charged with ensuring that funding in education, public housing and healthcare is spent well, the WRR said "stubborn" problems remain.

In particular, hospitals and education institutes cannot meet demands because too much time and money is spent on meeting regulations laid down by the government in The Hague.

The WRR said the government had in the past concentrated too heavily on the idea that supervision would lead to better services. In reality, this did not pan out.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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