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Costs and Benefits to Government of Amendments to Government Information (Public Access) Act


Publication Number: 2013-60
Authors: C. Koopmans, J. Prins
Commissioned by: Netherlands Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Published by: SEO Economic Research

GroenLinks (the Green party) and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations have each put forward a proposal to amend the Netherlands Freedom of Information Act (Wob). The GroenLinks proposal includes appointing an Information Commissioner, bringing more organizations under the Act and actively making government information public. The Ministry’s proposal would among other things make it possible for applications under the Act to be rejected in cases of abuse. A ‘third alternative’ incorporating some parts of the GroenLinks proposal was also examined.

The GroenLinks changes examined would create costs to government of around 50-100 million euros a year, mainly because the new Act would cover care and education in their entirety. It could however make for savings, for example if government were to be more economical in its expenditure as a result of greater transparency. Important parts of the Ministry’s proposal would result in savings of 0-20 million euros a year, but they could also give rise to additional costs. The ‘third alternative’ would create costs of 5-10 million euros a year but might also make for greater economy on the part of government.


Category: 2013, Carl Koopmans