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Wijkbudgetten : towards a balance between the certainty of rules and freedom around citizen initiatives

Timmerman, Yoeri (2017) Wijkbudgetten : towards a balance between the certainty of rules and freedom around citizen initiatives.

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Abstract:This research offers insights in the search for an ideal balance between the certainty of rules on the one hand and the freedom for citizens to contribute to citizenship participation. A lot of (Dutch) municipalities, such as the municipality of Enschede, have taken big steps in supporting the participation society by introducing the society-oriented approach. This entails the involvement of citizens in improving the quality of life in their district or village. Since January 1st, 2011, the municipality of Enschede introduced the concept of wijkbudgetten. Wijkbudgetten is a tool that citizens within the municipality can use to improve the quality of life in their immediate environment. Citizens can submit a proposal at a community organization which in turn decide whether to approve the proposal or not. The municipality does not interfere with regard to the decision-making. As the year's progress, it became increasingly clear that wijkbudgetten policy does not perform optimally. From the point of view of the municipality, the lack of a legal basis, the lack of structure within work processes and recurring reservations are seen as problem areas. Community organizations find that wijkbudgetten are working well in practice, despite the need for more structure. Eventually, this led to the development of new rules. The legal expansion consisted of a new subsidy regulation and additional rules. The question is, does the new legal basis deliver a positive contribution to the desired ideal balance? The key take home messages are obvious. From the perspective of the municipality, the new institutional setting ensures the desired legal certainty, which includes more structure, clarity, uniformity, and more control on wijkbudgetten policy without completely restricting the freedom of action. In addition, the municipality meets the legal requirements of the legislature and achieved their intended objectives. From the point of view of community organizations, they see an increase in administrative red tape, particularly in terms of accountability requirements and the restriction of not being allowed to reserve remaining wijkbudget remains a pity as well. In sum, big steps have been taken to improve wijkbudgetten policy for all involved actors. For the community organizations, it will be a matter of getting used to the new institutional setting and given structure as given by the municipality. From municipal perspective, the new legal basis provides legal certainty and structure. This means that from the point of view of municipal perspective the ideal balance has been achieved. From the perspective of the community organizations this is not yet the case but at least the balance has been improved. However, a perfect balance can now only exist in a fairy tale, due to the large number of thoughts and interests of the various actors involved.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 86 law, 88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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