September 1, 2005
Centre for Administrative Innovation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
This document provides information about administrative reform in The Netherlands and is part of a series published by the Centre for Administrative Innovation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region. Public services must meet specific characteristic of being widely accessible, underpinned by legal certainty and based on equality before the law. ICT can make a major contribution to meeting these conditions. It is also possible, to a greater extent than in the past, to meet the adage that every citizen is expected to know the law. The rapid developments in ICT mean that government is able to function more efficient, effective and 'customer-friendly'. The Netherlands is classed in the leading group known as the 'information elite', but egovernment is not only a question of boasting technology. In recent years the Dutch government has made good progress in its structuring and steering role as an 'arbitrator', regulating and promoting the booming developments in information and communication technology. At the same time it also demonstrated a great commitment to use new technologies in its own active role of performer and provider of functions, with its the strong conviction to use taxpayers' money as efficiently and effectively as possible. "A vibrant society with a healthy economy demands a strong government, which plays its role using the most advanced 'tools' available. Only then can government, faced with dwindling resources, continue to meet its performer and provider functions." In a recent UNDP e-Government benchmark among European countries the Netherlands ranked the third position after Norway and United Kingdom, highlighting the government efforts to spread ICT use in order to improve service provision and allow the effective citizens participation. According to another benchmarkingthe country scored above average among the reference on service provision to the citizen and e-Democracy. The Netherlands is one of the leaders here, alongside countries like Singapore, Finland, Sweden and Canada. Where the specific services surveyed are concerned, the Netherlands stands out clearly with respect to income tax. With 70% of returns submitted electronically, the Netherlands was a leader.
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