Cooperation between municipalities

The Joint Arrangements Act (WGR) lets municipalities, provinces and water authorities work together in public-law partnerships. On 1 January 2015 changes to the Act came into force.

Changes to the Joint Arrangements Act (WGR)

The WGR sets out 5 types of intermunicipal partnership:

Differences between partnership types

The difference between the 5 types of partnership lies in the type of structure created, and whether or not it has legal personality. Public bodies and operational management entities have legal personality. The difference between these 2 types of partnership is that operational management entities have a single-tier management board, while public bodies have a multiple-tier board structure with a general board, an executive board and a chair.
Operational management entities’ single-tier board structure limits the tasks they can be given. They can only be used for operational management tasks or simple implementation.

How partnerships work and are structured

The Joint Arrangements Act (WGR) sets out rules for how partnerships should be structured and how they should work. The changes to the Act mainly affect aspects of the planning and control cycle. They potentially increase the influence of municipal councils, provincial councils and the general boards of water authorities.

Urban regional bodies abolished

On 1 January 2015 urban regional bodies (plusregio’s) ceased to exist, and municipalities in these regions no longer have to work together in partnerships. As a result, central government is no longer funding urban regional bodies. Voluntary cooperation between municipalities is still possible, however. 
The 7 urban regional bodies were partnerships between municipalities close to major cities. Instead of cooperating through a mandatory additional tier of government, local authorities can now decide for themselves how they want to work together.

Transport policy transferred to provinces

Urban regional bodies are no longer responsible for regional transport policy. As of 1 January 2015 this responsibility has been transferred to provinces. Provinces now receive central government funding that was previously allocated to urban regional bodies.
The only exceptions are the Amsterdam transport region in North Holland and the Rotterdam/The Hague transport region in South Holland. These transport regions comprise the areas that were previously the responsibility of urban regional bodies.