Smaller and more effective
Central government aims to organise its work process more efficiently so that it can respond better and faster to changes in society.
These plans are presented in the Central Government Reform Programme. The basic principles of this quality change are:
- clearer political and administrative relationships throughout the civil service;
- transparent political decision-making, policymaking, policy implementation and oversight.
Decentralisation of government tasks
Central government is transferring some of its tasks to municipalities, provinces and water authorities. This will give municipalities and provinces more say in issues that directly affect their residents, like youth care and public transport, and permit a smaller central government.
Fewer tasks for central government
Municipalities, provinces and water authorities will take over the implementation of some central government tasks. This decentralisation process is specified in the Administrative Agreement (in Dutch). This will allow municipalities, provinces and water authorities to implement tasks that are closer to them and that they are good at. They will receive funds totalling 8.5 billion euros to perform these new tasks. This decentralisation process is expected to reduce central government spending by two billion euros.
Small, effective government
The provisions in the Administrative Agreement are based on arrangements laid down in the current coalition agreement. The coalition agreement sets out the aim of achieving a small, effective government that does only what is necessary.
This is described as follows in the coalition agreement:
- The central government, provinces, municipalities and water authorities will restrict themselves to their core tasks. For provinces, these lie in the areas of spatial planning, the economy and the natural environment.
- The tasks of government will be performed at a level that is as close as possible to the citizen.
- No more than two tiers of government will be concerned with the same subject.
The government wants the tasks of the various authorities to be more clearly defined, and fewer public servants to work on the same issue.
Autonomous administrative authorities
Autonomous administrative bodies are part of central government, but do not come under a ministry. If a minister asks one of these authorities to implement a policy, its tasks are laid down in law. These organisations include the Electoral Council, the Dutch central bank (De Nederlandsche Bank), the Road Transport Agency (RDW) and the Land Registry.
Although they are autonomous, a minister always has authority over these organisations and is accountable to parliament for their performance.