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Aflevering 4, 2013 Alle samenvattingen uitklappen

    Dramatic incidents, such as the 1986 Challenger Disaster, induce the instalment of a Commission to investigate the process that lead to the incident. The Commission attempts to reconstruct the many smaller and larger steps towards the one or several decisions and actions that turned out to be vital – and sometimes fatal. Most Commissions serve a dual purpose; the want to learn lessons and avert similar incidents to occur again, but they are also part of a process to allocate responsibilities and – sometimes – to point the blame. An analysis of Commission-reports reveals two dominant patterns in the narratives Commissions produce. One is relatively simple and identifies the decision or action that caused the incidents; it shows the mistakes that were made, when and by who, The lessons is often to not make the same mistake again. The second pattern is more complicated and produces less ‘crisp’ explanations for the incident. Decisions, actions take place in ambiguous, complex and inherently uncertain contexts. Actors acts amidst such complexity, are subject to all sorts of dynamics and pressures and in the process do things that look awkward or wrong in hindsight. Mistakes happen, not because actors are not smart enough or do the wrong things, but because they are an inherent element of complex decision making. The lesson that follows from that is for organizations that make important decisions under complex conditions to organize checks and balances and look for heterogeneity in their processes. That produces a difficult dilemma, given the ambivalent role of commissions. The second line of reasoning produces much richer lessons for policy, but is very ‘soft’ in casting blame. The first line of reasoning is clearer about responsibility and blame, but oversimplifies the lessons. That draws attention to a crucial – and yet unanswered – question for researchers, practitioners and also the general public; do we see them as platforms for learning or tools for sanctioning?


Hans de Bruijn
Prof. mr. J.A. de Bruijn is hoogleraar aan de Faculteit Techniek, Beleid en Management aan de TU Delft.

Martijn van der Steen
Dr. M. van der Steen is co-decaan en adjunct-directeur van de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB) in Den Haag.
Artikel

De commissie op zoek naar de waarheid: willen weten hoe het echt zit

Een nadere beschouwing over de Visitatiecommissie wijkenaanpak

Auteurs Maurice Cramers en Mark van Twist
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This essay reports on an academic self-examination of the functioning of the Review committee on district approach. By assessing statistics, investigating problem areas, holding organized meetings with stakeholders, and having spontaneous visits, the committee tried to find out how things really are. This raised the question of whether the picture of reality that they obtained was really better in terms of being truer and more real? Accessing true reality is an understandable ambition for contributing to the quality of policy and implementation, but one that comes from a tragic (because it is ultimately unrealizable) desire. The experiences were always open to interpretation.
    After that, the committee had to find a way to convey its findings to the political and social arena where they could be discussed and exploited. At this stage, the committee’s report was a truth in itself. Finishing the report had to prompt a follow-up in the social and political arena by, in turn, reviewing how to take away from the encountered reality to a sufficient extent.
    The search for true reality yielded valuable catch on that belief in a truer reality behind the presented truth image is gone. By participating in administrative reality, those investigating seek the truth. But they do so in a context that is not looking for the truth.


Maurice Cramers
Drs. M. Cramers MSUS is beleidsadviseur bij het ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties en was secretaris van de Visitatiecommissie wijkenaanpak.

Mark van Twist
Prof. dr. M. van Twist is decaan en bestuurder van de NSOB en hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Artikel

Het commissierapport: inhoud als uitdrukking van een proces

Een nadere beschouwing van het rapport Samen werken met water van de Staatscommissie Duurzame Kustontwikkeling

Trefwoorden commission, commission report, Veerman Commission, water safety
Auteurs Martin Schulz, Jony Ferket en Martijn van der Steen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this contribution we analyze the content of the Veerman Commission’s report that in 2007/2008 advised the Dutch government on the necessity of measures to protect the coast against future rising waters and other climatological and environmental changes and challenges. We conclude that the content of the report is in itself an expression of the ongoing social and governmental debate and process that tries to create a sense of urgency since there is no real immediate crisis to facilitate changes. Thus the report is not only the result of the work of the commission (though its firm statements on the necessity of measures were clearly heard), but at the same time the reflection of an ongoing debate which also creates a new challenge for stakeholders in the water domain. The organizational recommendations of the commission to place the protection against rising waters as far away from day to day politics as possible have all been put into action, which is a noteworthy result. Still, it is the ongoing process between stakeholders that will determine the actual measures to be taken by the government water related bodies.


Martin Schulz
Dr. M. Schulz is zelfstandig onderzoeker en daarnaast verbonden aan de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB) in Den Haag en de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur (TSPB) van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Jony Ferket
J. Ferket MA is onderzoeker en leermanager bij de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB) in Den Haag.

Martijn van der Steen
Dr. M. van der Steen is codecaan en adjunct-directeur van de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB) in Den Haag.
Artikel

Lobbyen met een commissie

Over hoe de VNG met commissies agendeert en hoe dat soms mislukt

Trefwoorden Lobby, Committee
Auteurs Rien Fraanje
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Committees are connected with the political culture of the Netherlands. It is no surprise that organizations that promote certain interests aim at bringing forward their members’ interests by installing committees. Lobbying through a committee, however, is a delicate matter. What elements lead to a committee that is a successful instrument of lobby? A comparison between the committees of the Dutch Union of Municipalities (VNG) led by Jorritsma, Bovens and Van Aartsen on one hand and the committee led by Nijpels on the other shows that the denial of problems and shortcomings does not help the organization or person that asks for the advice of the committee. This person or organization benefits most if the committee points out existing displeasure with the functioning of the person or organization. Yet at the same time, the committee must present a way ahead and proposals for improvement. This gives a positive turn to the criticism and presents a perspective for improvement.


Rien Fraanje
Drs. M.J. Fraanje is bestuurskundige en als senior adviseur verbonden aan de Raad voor het openbaar bestuur. Hij was scribent van de VNG-Commissies Van Aartsen (2007) en Aarts (2008) en de Interbestuurlijke Taakgroep Gemeenten (2008, commissie-D’Hondt).

    The 2008 Dutch Parliamentary Enquiry Commission on Innovations in Education researched policy making for three innovations in Dutch secondary education. These innovations have been implemented in the 1990’s, but form a continuous cause of public concern. The commission concluded that policy making fell short on many points; government had neglected its duty to provide educational quality. The commission formulated several conditions to improve policy making. This article analyses the line of reasoning of the Commission and its effect. By looking back it tried to understand the policy results at the time of the enquiry. The highly politicized context in which the enquiry took place and the political aims of the research have probably contributed to the Commission’s choice for this approach. However, such an approach does not explain the political-administrative context of the policy process and the behaviour of the policy makers involved. In recent years, policy attention for educational quality has grown, but the conditions formulated by the Commission have not been applied due to policy dynamics and time pressure.


Ria Bronneman-Helmers
Dr. H.M. Bronneman-Helmers was sinds 1976 werkzaam bij het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau. Ze ging eind 2011 met pensioen.
Artikel

De val van Amarantis

Auteurs Hans de Bruijn
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article analyzes the inquiry into the financial problems at a large educational conglomerate, Amarantis, in the Netherlands. The article is solely based on the text of the report. From a learning point of view, assuming that inquiries should contribute to learning from the past to improve the present and future, there are three weaknesses in the approach followed by the commission. The first is that the commission looks at the principles for governing the organization to explain its fall. However, the principles adopted match very well with professional organizations and are used successfully in other professional organizations. The question why these principles were unsuccessful in the case of Amarantis has not been addressed in the report. Second, the report strongly focuses on the role of the top management of the organization and ignores the middle management, a critical layer in managing professional organisations. And third, by looking back the commission creates a bias of hindsight, ignoring the question of how the managers could have identified upcoming problems at that time.


Hans de Bruijn
Prof. mr. J.A. de Bruijn is hoogleraar aan de Faculteit Techniek, Beleid en Management aan de TU Delft.

    Interview with Winnie Sorgdrager, member of the Council of State of the Netherlands


Martijn van der Steen
Dr. M. van der Steen is co-decaan en adjunct-directeur van de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB) in Den Haag.
Artikel

Hoe beoordelen topambtenaren veranderingen?

De bijzondere positie van de Nederlandse topambtenaar

Trefwoorden senior officials, reforms, public sector, international comparison
Auteurs Steven Van de Walle, Stephan Dorsman en Tamara Homan
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article shows how top officials in ten European countries evaluate changes in the public sector based on a number of dimensions, such as quality, cost-efficiency, ethics, effectiveness and the attractiveness of the public sector as an employer. Senior public officials in the Netherlands are compared to their counterparts from 9 other European countries. The study is based on the large-scale academic COCOPS Top Executive Survey, and answers from 3,173 top public sector officials were used.
    Results show that senior public officials in the Netherlands are very positive about changes in cost-efficiency and service quality in the public sector. Yet they are concerned about the attractiveness of the public sector as an employer and public trust in government. At the same time, senior public officials in the Netherlands appear to be among the most positive all nationalities about recent changes in how the public sector operates. Only with regard to changes in the attractiveness of the public sector as an employer are senior Dutch public officials considerably less optimistic.


Steven Van de Walle
Prof. dr. S. Van de Walle is verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Stephan Dorsman
S.J. Dorsman MSc. is verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Tamara Homan
T. Homan is verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Artikel

Waarom burgers coproducent willen zijn

Een theoretisch model om de motivaties van coproducerende burgers te verklaren

Trefwoorden Co-production, citizens, motivation
Auteurs Carola van Eijk en Trui Steen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In co-production processes, citizens and professionals both contribute to the provision of public services and try to enhance the quality of the services they produce. Although government offers several opportunities for co-production, not all citizens decide to actually take part. Current insights in citizens’ individual motivations offered by the co-production literature are limited. In this article, we integrate insights from different streams of literature to build a theoretical model that explains citizens’ motivations to co-produce. We test the model using empirical data of Dutch neighborhood watches.


Carola van Eijk
C.J.A. van Eijk MSc. (research) werkt als promovenda bij het Instituut Bestuurskunde, Universiteit Leiden.

Trui Steen
Dr. T.P.S. Steen is universitair hoofddocent bij het Instituut Bestuurskunde, Universiteit Leiden en bij KU Leuven Instituut voor de Overheid.

Rik Peeters
Boekbespreking

‘Governing Governance’: zware kost in een Jip-en-Janneke-jasje

Trefwoorden governance, network society, innovation
Auteurs Jeroen van der Heijden
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The manifest Governing Governance: A Liberal-Democratic View on Governance by Relationships, Bureaucracies and Markets in the 21st Century aims to please a wide range of audiences. Yet in trying to do so it does not seem to please any. The manifest may be applauded for its clear and concise discussion of the complicated concept of governance. Yet, it falls short in being a truly engaging text as it is somewhat outdated, it lacks interaction with the wider world beyond the Netherlands (and Belgium), and it is too optimistic in terms of what may be achieved through collaborative or new governance and deliberative democracy. All this may very well explain why the manifest has, as of yet, not received a great deal of attention.


Jeroen van der Heijden
Dr. ir. J.J. van der Heijden is als research fellow verbonden aan the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), Australian National University, en als universitair docent aan de Faculteit der Rechten, Universiteit van Amsterdam.
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