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Netherlands

Training civil servants on public participation (NL0025)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Netherlands 2016-2018 National Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

Support Institution(s): Ministry of BZK and the civil society

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Infrastructure & Transport, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Netherlands Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

If there is to be good and effective dialogue, it is essential that the government is open to civil society initiatives. It must actively involve citizens in the development and implementation of policy, and must work alongside the social partners. After all, the government is part of today’s networking society. It is no longer ‘in charge’ but a partner in the performance of the public tasks. The government is expected to ‘work and learn alongside the people’. The civil society partners have called for greater investment in the public sector staff, and specifically in the development of the skills they need to interact effectively with today’s network society. It is a question of further professionalisation.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment has already done much to promote public consultation and participation. It continues to pursue the ambitions set out in the former action plan and is devoting considerable attention to developing the skills of staff and managers. All activities focus on the attitudes and behaviour needed to perform effectively within today’s network society. The Ministry of I&M serves as an inspiring role model for other government departments in that it is demonstrating a highly effective form of interaction and cooperation.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Develop the skills of public sector staff

Commitment Text:

Title: The public officer as professional within the civil society

The government is expected to ‘work and learn alongside the people’. The civil society partners have called for greater investment in the public sector staff, and specifically in the development of the skills they need to interact effectively with today’s network society. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment continues to pursue the ambitions set out in the former action plan and is devoting considerable attention to developing the skills of staff and managers. All activities focus on the attitudes and behavior needed to perform effectively within today’s network society.

Milestones:

1. Professionalisation course 'The Art of Connecting': in 2018, all policy staff within the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment will have attended a professionalisation course

2. Work processes: By the end of 2017, all work processes will have been adapted.

3. Approach Strengthening Professional Skills: in 2017 the Approach Strengthening Professional Skills will start.

4. Communities of Practice: staff who have followed the professionalisation course 'The Art of Connecting', will come together in a peer review setting and, based on actual case studies, exchange experiences of acting in the different roles.

5. Management professionalisation: by the end of 2017, all managers within Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment will have received training in interaction with their networking staff.

6. Providing input for formulating ambitions for the public sector as a whole.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

Supporting institution(s): The Ministry of Interior and Kingdom relations, the civil society

Start date: 1 January 2016 End date: 30 June 2018

Editorial Note: This is a truncated version of the milestone text. For the full commitment text, please see The Netherlands National Action Plan (https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Netherlands_NAP-Appendix_2016-2018_EN_revised-with-changes.pdf)

Context and Objectives

The action plan states that the government must actively involve citizens and work alongside social partners in the development and implementation of policy. XX[Note97: National action plan, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/netherlands-2016-2018-national-action-plan.%5DXX This is not always the case in policymaking. The civil society partners have called for greater investment in public sector staff, and specifically in the development of the skills they need to interact effectively with today’s networked society. The main objective of this commitment is professionalizing public officers to interact with civil society. The six milestones outline the specific course, activities, community of practice and general training of staff. This commitment’s overall specificity is low, because the commitment text does not clearly identify what type of training will be included in the professionalization courses listed, nor does it explain how these courses will open up dialogue between government and civil society.

Although vaguely formulated, this commitment is relevant to civic participation since it aims to improve the skills and management of government staff that could enable participation. The commitment's scope is limited, since it covers the training of staff within the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. A more transformative commitment would clearly describe the goal of stated training sessions and cover staff in all relevant public sectors that work with civil society.

Completion

According to the government self-assessment report XX[Note98: Midterm self- assessment report, opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Netherlands_Mid-term_Self-Assessment-Report_2016-2018_EN.pdf.]XX, six out of 11 tranches (groups) of civil servants participated in the course 'The Art of Connecting' (milestone 1) by June 2017. Though the project manager said that an attendance list was made, there are no clear numbers or percentages to verify the completion as stated by the government. The self-assessment report states that in the second half of 2017, the work process (milestone 2) in some 10-15 policy files will be adapted. There is no information on the progress on the third milestone. In 2016 and 2017, two Communities of Practice (milestone 4) were held. The report on milestones five is unclear. As for milestone six, an 'Energetic Civil Servant' workshop was held during the ‘How Open! Festival’ on 12 December 2016. XX[Note99: How Open Festival workshop, open-overheid.nl/programma-hoe-open-festival/#rdv-calendar.]XX The project leader told the IRM researcher that there are no (publicly available) records on any of the milestones.

Next Steps

If taken forward into the next action plan, the government needs to reformulate the commitment to clearly communicate the topics and goals of the training sessions and describe how these activities would enable greater civic participation. Additionally, as one CSO pointed out in the focus group, the commitment should also address the risk that informal and confidential decision making may lead to less public accountability.


Netherlands's Commitments

  1. local digital democracy

    NL0028, 2018, E-Government

  2. dilemma logic

    NL0029, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Join EITI

    NL0030, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  4. Open Algorithms

    NL0031, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. open local decision-making

    NL0032, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. ‘Open by Design’ pilots

    NL0033, 2018, E-Government

  7. Open contracting

    NL0034, 2018, Open Contracting and Procurement

  8. Open Parliament

    NL0035, 2018, Audits and Controls

  9. Open government standard and dashboard

    NL0036, 2018, E-Government

  10. Pioneering Network for an Open Government for Municipalities

    NL0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Transparent political party finance

    NL0038, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  12. National Open Data Agenda

    NL0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Stuiveling Open Data Award

    NL0020, 2016, Open Data

  14. Groningen Open Data Re-use

    NL0021, 2016, Infrastructure & Transport

  15. Releasing ministerial research reports

    NL0022, 2016, Health

  16. Detailed open spending data

    NL0023, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  17. Open local authority decision-making

    NL0024, 2016, Open Data

  18. Training civil servants on public participation

    NL0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Easier freedom of information requests

    NL0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Open Government Expertise Centre (LEOO)

    NL0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Further develop and promote disclosure and use of Open Data

    NL0001, 2013, E-Government

  22. Increase financial transparency through Open Budget and experiments with Open Spending and Budget Monitoring

    NL0002, 2013, E-Government

  23. Open House of Representatives

    NL0003, 2013, E-Government

  24. Instruments for integrity

    NL0004, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  25. Revamp the legislative calendar

    NL0005, 2013, E-Government

  26. More online consultation

    NL0006, 2013, E-Government

  27. More transparency in decision-making through Volgdewet.nl legislation-tracking website

    NL0007, 2013, E-Government

  28. Informal approach to freedom of information requests

    NL0008, 2013, Right to Information

  29. From Rules to Freedom

    NL0009, 2013, Public Participation

  30. Change attitudes and procedures through Smarter Working and ‘Public Servant 2.0’

    NL0010, 2013, Capacity Building

  31. Water Coalition

    NL0011, 2013, Public Participation

  32. Develop and implement participation policy at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    NL0012, 2013, Public Participation

  33. Make government information accessible and easy to find

    NL0013, 2013, Capacity Building

  34. Make citizens better informed and more empowered: public inspection and correction of information

    NL0014, 2013, E-Government

  35. Open announcements and notifications

    NL0015, 2013, E-Government

  36. Public services and the user perspective

    NL0016, 2013, E-Government

  37. Designate categories of government information for active access

    NL0017, 2013, Capacity Building

  38. Rethink information management and active access: four ‘open by design’ pilot projects

    NL0018, 2013, E-Government