rotterdam 1 march

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Published on January 12, 2008

Author: Bruno


Administrative simplification in the Netherlands - Main findings by the OECD and World Bank Group:  Administrative simplification in the Netherlands - Main findings by the OECD and World Bank Group “Challenges of cutting red tape” Rotterdam, 1 March 2007 Josef Konvitz Review by the OECD and the World Bank Group:  Review by the OECD and the World Bank Group At the request of former Minister of Finance, Gerrit Zalm, the two organisations have performed reviews of administrative simplification in the Netherlands World Bank Group presented its final report in February 2007 OECD will report to its Working Party on Regulatory Management and Reform in May 2007 Administrative Simplification and Broader Regulatory Reform:  Administrative Simplification and Broader Regulatory Reform 1997: The OECD Report on Regulatory Reform Reduction of administrative burdens in NL - what did we find?:  Reduction of administrative burdens in NL - what did we find? The Netherlands has taken the place as world leader in reducing administrate burdens Remarkable results – the 25% reduction will be achieved in the course of 2007 Main features of the ‘Dutch Model’ – explanations of success: Development and use of a method for measurement Establishment of quantitative target (time bound) Strong coordinating unit at centre of government (IPAL) Independent review body (Actal) Link to the budget cycle -> reporting obligations Strong political support Measurement and quantitative target:  Measurement and quantitative target The SCM method gives a possibility to trace the origin of administrative burdens to individual regulations Makes it possible to target simplification efforts for greater impact Makes it possible to monitor developments The quantitative and time bound target creates a sense of urgency The reduction target has been split between ministries and has been divided into annual targets Institutional setup and political support:  Institutional setup and political support Strong co-ordination at centre of government (IPAL) ensures awareness on responsibilities of individual ministries and agencies Independent “watchdog” (Actal) increases accountability and highlights insufficient progress towards goals Linking to the budget cycle increases the awareness of individual ministers on the AB problem Support at the centre of government and across political parties – the programme has not been politicised Where are the challenges?:  Where are the challenges? Narrow focus: Administrative burdens are not the only or the most important consequence of regulation The benefit side of regulation is not included in the analysis The programme aims for improved cost effectiveness but might not ensure optimal regulation or even regulation with net benefits Lack of acknowledgement of results: A problem of communication Co-ordination with related programmes and with lower levels of government Political neutrality limits reach of initiatives Political neutrality:  Political neutrality Administrative simplification… “…is a regulatory quality tool to review and simplify administrative regulations. Administrative regulations are paperwork and formalities through which governments collect information and intervene in individual economic decisions. They are different from economic regulations, which intervene directly in market decisions, or from social regulations, which protect public interests.” (OECD, Cutting Red Tape, 2006) …Corresponds well with the Dutch principle of political neutrality: Following the Slechte Committee (1999), only costs of supplying information to make law enforcement possible are the object of the simplification effort (information obligations as opposed to content obligations) …But imposes severe limitations on initiatives… Narrow focus: The administrative burden is not everything:  Narrow focus: The administrative burden is not everything Tools: one-stop shops, reduced reporting frequencies, benchmarking exemptions, unified data bases… Other compliance costs Responsible regulation:  Responsible regulation Capital Administrative Burdens: public, private Indirect Regulatory Capacity for integrated approach Future directions:  Future directions Possibilities for deepening and widening in order to better achieve government priorities but what are these priorities? Back to basics: Regulatory quality and responsible regulation Improved co-ordination between sub-programmes Decrease overlap and duplication Improve co-ordination between ministries and between central government and lower levels of government Increase possibilities of synergies Deepening:  Deepening Further AB reductions are in political demand Further ICT-initiatives (E-Government) Simplification at the EU level Simplification at local level Would seem also to require a move from information obligations to content obligations Political neutrality can no longer be guaranteed Focus on cost side and search for improved cost-effectiveness Diminishing return of investment: The last percent of protection is very costly Considerations of balance between different societal goals – link to the greenfield approach (scrap-and-build) Widening:  Widening Inclusion of other effects of regulation, such as Compliance costs for companies Enforcement cost for authorities Cost of regulation inside government Effect of regulation on the functioning of markets, innovation etc. Inclusion of the benefit side in analysis Development towards a CBA-approach (cost/benefit analysis) Analysis of different alternatives for regulation with different benefits (qualitative assessment) Political economy – or never change a winning team:  Political economy – or never change a winning team When the programme is broadened and widened: There is momentum – use it! The 6 success factors should be maintained Short term planning and high accountability should be maintained (targets to be reached within one Cabinet term) Cultural change should be continued and embedded But Co-ordination could and should be strengthened Targeting should be improved (address larger problems first)

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