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Finance minister sees need for each ministry’s annual policy review

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – Dutch Finance minister Wouter Bos who doubles as the country’s Labour Party leader, wants more scrutiny of government policy, not just the budget numbers. The annual budget day in the Netherlands, called Prinsjesdag, needs to be supplemented with a Verantwoordingsdag (for each department), a review of the effectiveness of policy and program delivery. Chair Stuiveling of the Rekenkamer, the Auditors Chamber, cautions that this in reality may be a difficult undertaking. The crucial question for her is: does government policy achieve its objective. In their annual reports, the auditors have concluded that 99 percent of the spending is done according to the rules. She identified some mind-boggling exceptions, but that does not mean that most objectives were unrealized. More openness also requires more bureaucracy to measure effectiveness, hence the focus on policy.