Public Management

Part 2: Management wanted!

February 20, 2014

The Dutch social security system is one of the best in the world, but the system is under pressure as a result of the economic crisis and the budgetary deficits. The State attaches value to the enforcement of the laws and regulations in the social domain with a view to ensuring the effective and legitimate deployment of public funds. In order to support municipalities in this respect, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) has set up nine regional knowledge centers for enforcement (RCFs) that together form a national network. The Ministry of SZW has transferred the administrative management of the RCFs to the Regional Fraud Combating Platforms (RPFs) which are made up of representatives of the regional municipalities and their enforcement partners, such as the Tax authorities, the police, the body implementing employee insurance schemes (UWV), the Social Insurance Bank (SVB) and the SZW Inspectorate.

Image: © Nationale Beeldbank

Ad van Mierlo is manager of one of the nine regional knowledge centers in the Netherlands. He suspected a relatively limited involvement of the municipal administrators in enforcement within the domain of social security and feared that the RPFs lacked sufficient administrative efficiency. Reason enough to subject the administrative efficiency of the RPFs to further examination.

Literature offered no models for the administrative powers of horizontal co-operations such as the RPFs/RCFS. From various angles in the literature, Van Mierlo comprised his own model that he used as an instrument for measuring the administrative efficiency of the RPFs. His fear that the administrative efficiency of the RPFs did not suffice proved justified. The limited involvement of the municipal administrators was one of several causes. The research results were not positive but they did offer Van Mierlo starting points for strengthening the administrative efficiency of the RPFs; the necessary strengthening, according to Van Mierlo. After all, the complexity of society today requires organizations that operate professionally and work together flexibly, but above all efficient management!

In the first two parts of this series on issues of managers in the public sector, Van Mierlo and Marjolein De Leeuw-Reulen revealed the importance of involvement and shared ownership as a condition for shared responsibility for the management of co-operations. In part 3, 'No trust, no added value', Radenka Vukovic examines the meaning of trust in the effective co-operation between organizations.

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