This report sets out the costs and benefits to government if the legal position of civil servants is made the same as that of other employees (‘harmonized’). They would then have a contract of employment rather than an established post, take legal disputes to the sub-district courts instead of the administrative courts, and have their own collective agreement.

As there is uncertainty as to various costs and benefits, three scenarios have been examined. The cost of harmonization would be one-off and amount to 53-186 million euros, mainly for education and administrative organization. The benefits would be 6.6-21.9 million euros a year, comprising savings on legal proceedings and savings due to deregulation. In the medium scenario the payback period would be about seven years; in the worst case scenario it would rise to 28 years. If the process is properly planned and managed – keeping costs under control – and the benefits turn out to be substantial, the investment would be recouped in three years’ time.

This report is based on a 2006 report by SEO and Regioplan. The costs have gone down, as current data suggests there will be less need for education. The benefits are higher, thanks to a better estimate of the gains due to switching from the administrative courts to the sub-district courts.