Enlargement, Integration and Reform
Edited by Peter Leisink, Bram Stejin and Ulke Veersma
Chapter 11: Staff Participation in the Administrative Reform of the Flemish Community
Christophe Pelgrims, Trui Steen and Nick Thijs 1 INTRODUCTION Administrative reforms are introduced in a range of public services across Europe (Pollitt and Bouckaert 2004). This tendency to reform is also present in the Flemish Community, one of the regional entities in Belgium.2 In 1999 the Flemish government launched a new reform project called ‘Beter Bestuurlijk Beleid’ (‘Better Administrative Policy’). This project aims at a reorganization of the core civil service – the Ministry of the Flemish Community – the agencies or ‘Flemish Public Institutions’ and the advisory boards. In this chapter we examine the extent to which staff has been able to participate, either directly of indirectly – via trade union representation – in this reform. First we define staff and their unions as major stakeholders in public management reform. After describing the context and content of the reforms in the Flemish Community, we look at the different forms of participation which can be distinguished in the reform and examine the effect of this participation on the process and content of reform. Finally, we try to establish whether reform, in turn, had lasting effects on staff participation and social dialogue in the public sector in Flanders. STAFF AND UNIONS AS STAKEHOLDERS When analysing staff participation, the scale of the reform prove to be an important variable (Halligan 2001). Comprehensive reforms introduce a range of reforms that affect most aspects of the public sector. These reforms may consist of different specialized and sectoral reforms. Comprehensive reforms typically start from a well-developed framework for action,...
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