Supervising public interests

The WRR presented its new report, Supervising public interests. Towards a broader perspective on government supervision (Toezien op publieke belangen. Naar een verruimd perspectief op rijkstoezicht) to the Dutch government on 9 September 2013.

The report makes recommendations for increasing the added value of government supervision as exercised by all manner of inspectorates and market authorities. The first copy was presented to the Minister for Housing and the Central Government to Sector, Stef Blok.

Government supervision

Government supervision has become increasingly important, but has also come under increasing pressure. High but often conflicting expectations are placed on that supervision by the public, businesses, institutions and the political administration. And when things go wrong, we want more supervision, but if things are going well we want less. The emphasis has come to lie on reducing the burdens and costs of supervision, compliance with rules and the functioning of supervision as an extension of administration and policy. The WRR calls for a new perspective in government policy on supervisory issues, which takes public interests as its starting point and devotes more attention to the social benefits and effectiveness of supervision.


The presentation was attended by Bernard Wientjes, President of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), Marc Chavannes, a journalist at the NRC Handelsblad newspaper and professor of journalism at the University of Groningen, Bart Combée, Director of the Dutch Consumer Association (Consumentenbond), Pauline Meurs, professor of health administration and a member of the Dutch Safety Board, Ronnie van Diemen-Steenvoorde, Inspector-General at the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate, Chris Fonteijn, chairman of the Board of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), Ko de Ridder, president of the professional supervisors' association Vide and professor of public administration. The panel engaged in a debate, moderated by professor of public administration Hans de Bruijn.

The state of supervision

Important building blocks for the report were the sector and thematic studies published in WRR Investigation 27 The state of supervision (De staat van toezicht) on the functioning of supervision in health care, higher education, the chemical industry, the food supply, competition and the financial sector. The report also highlights other themes which are encountered by many supervisors, such as the relationship with social and other media and new forms of administration in the public domain (new public management and governance).

Based on the report Supervising public interests (Toezien op publieke belangen) (September 2013), the WRR has responded to two consultation documents published by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development): the draft documents Best Practice Principles for improving Regulatory Enforcement and Inspections and Principles for the Governance of Regulators.