Structure of government

The public authorities want to reduce the number of tiers of government. Central government, the provinces, the municipalities and the water authorities need to work in concert for citizens and businesses. But they cannot do so if their powers and responsibilities are fragmented.

As a rule, a single public task may not be carried out by more than two tiers of government. A more efficient division of tasks leads to fewer rules, fewer political office holders and fewer public servants. What is more, it saves money.

As the coalition agreement says:

  • ‘Central government, the provinces, the municipalities and the water authorities will restrict themselves to their core tasks. For the 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 people.’
  • ‘No more than two tiers of government will be concerned with the same subject in a given policy area.’

Central government is transferring some of its tasks to the municipalities, provinces and water authorities. The municipalities and provinces, for instance, are taking over tasks in areas of special concern to their residents, such as youth care and public transport. The principles of the coalition agreement have been translated into the terms of the administrative agreement between central government and the municipalities.