Cutbacks, an increasingly competitive battle in the social domain and a decentralization from the government and provincial authorities to the municipalities has forced the welfare services to follow a different strategy over the past few years. Such a ‘New Welfare Style’ is nowadays demand-driven. In other words, it is the participating citizen at neighbourhood level who will take the initiative to welfare work instead of the government. In order to keep the costs under control, welfare services are contracted out to a number of organisations and has turned into a setting-up of projects.
Furthermore, the various auxiliary bodies and organisations work closer together in each project to ensure the continuing relevance of welfare provision.
This drastic transition movement in welfare is not always positive. In real terms it means that flows of subsidies to welfare organisations sometimes stop without any warning, which causes a lot of uncertainty regarding continuity and staff management. Concerning the desired multidisciplinary approach, points of tension may occur from a legal point of view. The so-called ‘neighbourhood teams’ organised around families or elderly people are not in fact considered legal persons, which may cause, for example, privacy problems. Are the various teams permitted to share a client’s dossier without warning? Also managing the employees hired per project, officially employed by various organisations, is no easy job. In addition municipalities formulate stern safety requirements and expect a strict account of the granted flows of subsidies.
Another question our firm often deals with results from the requirements of the so-called ‘good governance’ model which has become dominant in welfare for some time now. Since the downfall of Meavita, where supervisors got rich doing nothing, more stringent guidelines have been drawn up for supervision and joint management. The Dutch Executives’ Pay Standards Act [Wet Normering Topinkomens] (which is not univocal at all) seeks to regulate the salaries of senior administrators.
De Koning Vergouwen is by now fully familiar with the welfare sector. In addition to the questions above we advise public welfare suppliers becoming private companies, take-over purchases and mergers, collective labour agreement policy, participation structures, as well as restructuring. Also, we are a trusted and reliable partner by virtue of our knowledge of subsidy regulations and welfare procurement law. We hold highly regarded courses on such legally complex issues. It is no accident that we collaborate through a master agreement with the employers’ organization in welfare, the Dutch employers’ organization of the welfare, youth care and childcare sectors [MOgroep: Maatschappelijk Ondernemers Groep]. This means that the members of this organisation will be referred to our firm.