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Annemarie Drahmann on the government’s new public administration culture

The Dutch childcare allowance affair has exposed the failings of the democratic constitutional state. Early in 2021, the government therefore pledged to establish a new public administration culture. There’s still a long way to go to achieve this.

Speaking on Dutch radio programme Argos, Annemarie Drahmann, senior lecturer in constitutional and administrative law, said that the right to access government information was never included as a basic right in our Constitution. It has therefore not become a fundamental part of our public administration culture. An important foundation in our rule of law system is that citizens are entitled to monitor the government. Greater transparency also means less corruption in government.

The grounds for exceptions provided in the Public Access to Government Information Act (WOB) are important and useful. For example, it is sometimes important that what is said in the context of internal deliberations remains confidential. Nevertheless, Drahmann believes that these exceptions must be applied restrictively. They should be the exception and not the rule.

Listen to the Argos broadcast here (in Dutch) 

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