Although the WRR receives its total budget from the national government, its independence is safeguarded by an Act of Establishment. The WRR is free to determine its own work programme and the content of its publications without having to ask for permission. Before a new work programme is finalized, it will be discussed with the prime minister. The government can ask the WRR to advise on specific topics. Although the WRR is officially under no obligation to honour such requests, it usually takes them very seriously in practice. Before finalizing the work programme, the members of the WRR seek input from a broad range of relevant societal stakeholders.
Another remarkable aspect of the relationship between the government and the WRR, as specified in the Act of Establishment, is that the government is obligated to respond to the reports of the WRR within a fixed term of three months. This ensures that the government cannot simply disregard the reports of the WRR, or set the reports aside without reading them. The independence of the WRR is further guaranteed by the public nature of all of its work.