Review of the Dutch Administrative Burden Reduction Programme

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This review finds that the Dutch regulatory reform programme is the world’s leader. Based on an innovative design—a 25% target reduction in regulatory costs, a link between regulatory reforms and the budget cycle, and the establishment of ACTAL (the Dutch Advisory Board on Administrative Burden) as an independent watchdog of the reforms—the program is well under way to reduce administrative burdens on businesses by the targeted 4 billion Euro.

Main Findings

  • Announcing a specific 25% target attracts attention and makes it easy to communicate reform. At the start of the Dutch programme, no other country had such a target. Since then, several countries have adopted the Dutch approach.
  • Locating the “coordinating” unit in the Ministry of Finance made reforms feasible because of the link to the budget and the leverage that the Finance Minister has in the cabinet.
  • There is ample room for further reductions in the regulatory costs and risks in the Netherlands. International comparisons of administrative burdens suggest that the level of administrative burdens in the Netherlands is higher than in many other countries.
  • Recommendations focus on the following areas of improvement, institutional consolidation and strengthening, broadening the regulatory reform focus and setting a new 25% target.