Annemarie Drahmann: Need for government transparency
The government’s intention to be more transparent following the childcare benefits scandal is long overdue according to Annemarie Drahmann, Associate Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law. One of the problems behind the benefits scandal was the lack of openness of the authorities. The government has therefore announced a ‘radical’ switch to more transparency.
Transparency is necessary to legitimise the government, says Drahmann. ‘In recent years there have been calls to reform the social contract: under what conditions are we prepared to transfer certain freedoms and powers to government authorities? A transparent, or at least a more transparent, government is necessary, so that all citizens – journalists in particular – can monitor how that power is exercised by government authorities. Compelling interests may prevent such transparency, but these should be the exception to the rule.’
‘The question is, how do we prevent this happening again? More transparency will certainly help. Parliament can then perform its monitoring task better. Transparency in legal proceedings will ensure that administrative courts can perform their review task better. And also transparency in the (anonymised) opinions on policy of civil servants will lead to more awareness about the accountability of individual officials for good governance’, according to Drahmann in Dutch newspaper NRC.