THE NETHERLANDS | The government is becoming invisible to citizens, but remains responsible

The National Ombudsman of the Netherlands notes that the government is disappearing from view for more and more citizens. The government is increasingly transferring services to other agencies, sometimes even private organizations. This gives the citizen a government that he no longer recognizes. The Ombudsman is already seeing citizens getting lost and getting stuck with these types of constructions and only expects more challenges in the future.

Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen:

"The government cannot say, now I am no longer responsible for this person who is dependent on a wheelchair from the social services, or the person who feels the burden of debt weighed heavily on his shoulders. That is simply not possible. They remain the citizens of the government! And if they get stuck, the government must ensure that they are helped. That is their responsibility. "

That is why the Ombudsman acts where the public interest and public services are at stake. It is always the government that needs to act. And the Ombudsman will continue to address problems from citizens to them. Citizens are entitled to proper treatment, even if the government withdraws.

Future meetings and concluding congress

National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen closes a year of exploration on 31 October with the conference "Who will participate? Citizens and government in 2030? " In the past year he spoke with scientists, civil servants, professionals and citizens about how the relationship between the citizen and the government will change over the next ten years and how to deal with this. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was one of his discussion partners during the congress. And Peter Tyndall led two workshops on cooperation between ombudsman organisations. With 450 participants, the conference was a success.

Three points of attention for the government

The National Ombudsman has selected three points of interest for the government from his outlook for the past year to ensure that everyone can continue to participate in 2030:

  1. simplify accessibility to the public services.
  2. Be honest and transparent about what the government does and does not do;
  3. Citizens also have the right to personal contact in the future.


Source: National Ombudsman, Netherlands 

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