Schaalvergroting en bestuurskracht : Een beleidsanalytische benadering van de herstrukturering van de lokale besturen
- Frank Delmartino
The restructuration of municipalities which has been decided by the Belgian government, is not only a purely technical operatzon but rather, and in the first place, a social problem. The shape and duty-profile of a local authority should not, indeed, be attuned only to fast changing expectations as far as services are concerned, but to consultation and participation as well.
Public administration research cannot keep aloof from this debate, but is considerably hampered by the institutional confusion and the insufficient explicitation of the aims of the present reform. A starting-point
can, however, be found in the mergers of municipalities that were realized in 1964 and in 1970/1971. In 67 of these municipalities an inquiry was held concerning the consequences of the merger, and moreover, in two
test-cases (Oudenaarde and Brugge) this inquiry grew to a full-scale systematic policy analysis.
This research shows that, as a rule, the former municipalities are reasonably represented in the new entity's council, but it also reveals that few efforts are made to give this representation a broader impact along formal or informal participation-channels. Integration of employees has not caused insurmountable problems. However, in large sized municipalities, resulting from mergers, one could notice a drastic increase in municipal personnel, not only with regard to new duties and objectives but to traditional administrative and police duties as well. Such a phenomenon points to the far-reaching changes which a substantial scale-increase provokes in a municipality's structure and policy profile. A large municipality resulting from mergers is no langer a simple sum of component parts, but a completely new entity, wishing to catch up as fast as possible with comparable municipalities that passed through a progressive growth process. Therefore, scale-increase is not only a means of economizing or an intra-administrative matter, but rather a way of creating chances for further development or wealth and well-being.
How to Cite:
Delmartino, F., (1975) “Schaalvergroting en bestuurskracht : Een beleidsanalytische benadering van de herstrukturering van de lokale besturen”, Res Publica 17(3), p.395-412. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/rp.v17i3.19537