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Parliamentarians overburden teachers and police with rules

Council of State cautions lawmakers

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – An annual report by the Council of State says that teachers, doctors, nurses and police officers are too heavily regulated by rules, production targets and accountability standards. The report also states that government should have more confidence in the professionalism of these groups and allow them more leeway to use their judgment.

Council of State vice-president Herman Tjeenk Willink presented his annual report, which notes that the professionalism of many administrators such as teachers and police officers has come under pressure due to the "market thinking" within the public government. Tjeenk Willink, who previously served as a conservative liberal parliamentarian (VVD), laments this trend since it undermines and damages the credibility of these administrators.

Tjeenk Willink’s concept of 'market thinking' refers to all kinds of protocols that control the actions of police, physicians and teachers. For example, for virtually every type of action, guidelines have been put into place to achieve standards and efficiency levels, including the number of traffic fines police officer must write and how often a resident is bathed in a seniors’ care facility.

According to Tjeenk Willink public governance is suffering from outdated trends that were established over the past number of decades. He holds policymakers responsible for such unworkable protocols, stating they lack practical experience. The Council of State official, which ranks second to Queen Beatrix, who is the titular chair, is calling for a political review, which should consider the question of who is responsible for what in the relationship between the government, the market and the public.

The Council of State is the government's highest advisory body that reviews all proposed legislation before it is debated in the Second Chamber. Additionally, the Council also functions as the highest administrative court. Its dual function has been lamented for years by the Council of Europe.