Public Management

Concerned about the speed of the transformation of the social security system

November 10, 2014 | 2 min read

The transformation of the social security system is too slow in the making, municipalities are losing themselves in sub-debates, says Pieterjan van Delden. There is a need for a guideline in order not to lose sight of the ultimate goal of the reorganization of the social security system. Which is why Van Delden wrote the book 'Steunend Stelsel'.

Why did you write this book?

“I am concerned. The social domain in our country is being drastically restructured, as a result of which the social support of vulnerable groups and youth welfare work are the responsibility of the municipalities from now on. Of course, municipalities work individually on their own municipal memorandums or sub-debates, but a collective guideline or umbrella vision of how municipalities are to tackle the transition and transformation in the social domain is lacking. In this book, I explore the road that the social domain may follow in the years to come. The line of reasoning is meant as a guideline for working towards the practical goals of the transformation.”

Is the transformation of the social domain even necessary?

“The system of aid and care has outgrown its strength. The current system offers increasingly less help to people, and immobilizes citizens. A frequently heard complaint is also that the system is becoming too expensive. The entire system has become overloaded and top-heavy. It is indeed necessary to simplify the system.”

Getting lost in sub-issues

Aren't municipalities working on the transition?

“A lot has happened in the recent past. The municipalities are working hard on the transition. The down side is the fact that they are losing themselves in all sorts of sub-issues. For example, they are presently working hard on the purchasing process. Many meetings are taking place with providers. This is essential, of course, because arrangements must be made before January 2015. However, the purchasing is being done based on the present situation, as that is how the future services are again to be organized. But is that how we should go about things in the future? After all, we are not aspiring after a transition of the existing range of care to the municipalities, but rather a transformation of the system. Scarcely any thought is given to the future development of the transformation of the care and welfare domain.”

Do the parties even have the time to busy themselves with the long term?

“Not now. Municipalities got off to a late start with the transformation. Many municipalities hardly had any staff capacity to spare at the beginning of 2014. In many cases, they did not get started until it was almost summer, which was too late of course. Which is why civil servants and providers are now too busy with the purchasing process.”

Can things still work out?

“Waiting lists can be expected to come about at the beginning of 2015. And there may be incidents that generate a lot of attention in the media. These will require emergency solutions. I think that 2015 will prove to be a transitional year that is characterized by incidents. It will require much improvisation. 
Going back to how things were, is not an option. I expect things will settle down in the course of 2015. And the purchasing for 2016 will not be a rush job. I think there will be room in 2015 to consider the long term.”

Pieterjan van Delden is organization advisor at Andersson Elffers Felix (AEF). He is affiliated with TIAS and obtained his doctorate in 2009 on the subject of Cooperation in the public services sector. In 2014, Van Delden published the book 'Steunend Stelsel'.

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