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Lessons Learned: Ex-Ante Control of Externally Autonomised Entities in the Netherlands at the National Level

PAQ, Vol. 34 No. 4, (2010)

As in many countries, autonomisation of organisations in the public sector has been common practice in the Netherlands in the last decades. A wide variety of organisational structures has been used which makes it hard to understand how autonomised organisations are controlled. In this project, emphasis is on the ex ante controls that are used by Parliament to create organisations as well as to appropriate resources to them. Attribution of responsibility and production characteristics including issues on ownership and commissioning are important aspects to be considered when organising ex ante controls for autonomised organisations. Given these characteristics, a one size fits all approach in controlling autonomised organisations is not suitable, not even within subgroups of organisations. An empirical study on cases from within one subgroup of autonomised organisations shows that there is still a strong emphasis on budgetary control only rather than on performance control. Little attention is given to specifications of services and problems of ownership and commissioning which could be used as tools for differentiation in control.

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