How we operate
CPB is an organisational part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. It is one of the Netherlands’ three national policy assessment agencies.
How is the independent position of CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis embedded in statutory rules and regulations?
CPB conducts independent economic research. Our independent position is laid down in the official Protocol for the Policy Assessment Agencies (Aanwijzingen voor de Planbureaus). The protocol states that Cabinet Ministers or State Secretaries will not issue instructions regarding the research methods to be used by the policy assessment agencies, nor will they do so regarding the content of the reports published by these agencies.
In addition, the Law Concerning the Preparation of a Central Economic Plan stipulates that CPB also has an independent external advisory body: the Central Plan Committee (CPC). The CPC convenes at least twice a year and issues advice on CPB's work and working methods. The committee members are selected on the basis of various competences (science, political–administrative relationships, media, economic sectors) and are appointed by the Council of Ministers, each for a period of four years, with one possibility of renewal. CPC members.
The Sustainable Public Finances Act designates CPB as an Independent Fiscal Institute (together with the Dutch Council of State) and, by way of Parliamentary letter dated 7 April 2017, as National Productivity Board. Applicable EU regulations set requirements for the independence of these types of institutions.
How is the organisation audited and how independently is this done?
Every three to five years, CPB is subject to an external scientific review process in which an independent audit committee assesses CPB’s scientific quality and policy orientation. CPB's independent supervisory committee, the Central Plan Committee (CPC), commissions the audit and appoints the scientific audit committee. This committee consists of independent scientists, policymakers and independent experts, who work according to the official KNAW Standard Evaluation Protocol. The previous audit took place in 2016 (publication in Dutch) and the next one is planned for 2022. In 2019 (publication in Dutch), the CPC also conducted a less extensive interim assessment.
Large projects, such as the analysis of election manifestos (the publication series ‘Charted Choices’) and the Promising Policies Series (in preparation of the general elections) are evaluated by CPB itself among stakeholders, the results of which are subsequently published. The publication’s preparation process is part of such an evaluation.
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What is CPB's policy for dealing with integrity issues?
Integrity issues must be reported according to an internal procedure for handling such issues, which protects both reporter and confidential advisor.
- CPB has two confidential advisors on integrity issues and undesirable conduct to whom employees can turn. In principle, each — anonymised — integrity issue should be reported directly to the employee's own manager.
- In addition, employees who encounter integrity issues can also contact the Chair of the Central Plan Committee (CPC), which is CPB’s supervisory body.
- If the issue concerns the Secretary-General or the Minister, the confidential advisors and CPC Chair help with the reporting process to the department of whistle-blowers (Huis van Klokkenluiders).
- CPB also has its own Works Council (OR). Although the Works Council does not deal with individual cases, it does have the task of identifying matters that are not running smoothly within the organisation.
- CPB regularly conducts employee satisfaction surveys (MTOs). These MTOs also pay attention to integrity. The results and particularly the integrity aspects are discussed extensively with colleagues. Integrity also features in the formal staff interviews.
- The confidential advisors report their findings in annual reports. CPB’s management team discusses these reports with the confidential advisors. Subsequently, the reports are forwarded to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
How is CPB’s scientific integrity guaranteed?
The basis for assessing scientific integrity is the scientific code of conduct of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW, in Dutch). The Scientific Integrity Committee investigates complaints, assesses whether the scientific integrity has been violated and advises the organisation to which the complaint relates. The criteria for the admissibility of a complaint and the procedure for dealing with it are described in the Complaints Procedure for Scientific Integrity (in Dutch).
At CPB, we also have an internal confidential advisor on scientific integrity. This advisor is a highly accessible contact person for both questions and complaints about scientific integrity. The advisor can forward complaints to the CWI, if necessary. We also are affiliated with The Netherlands Board on Research Integrity (LOWI).
If you have a complaint about the scientific integrity of CPB, you can submit the complaint using this form.
What is the procedure for submitting research requests to CPB?
As CPB is an independent organisation under the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (Ministry of EZK), any research requests to CPB must be formally submitted to the Minister of EZK. Requests by the States General must be sent to CPB at the same time as they are formally sent to the Minister, without any stipulations. If a request by the States General should accidentally be sent to CPB only, CPB will inform the responsible minister without any stipulations. If the States General asks a minister other than the first responsible minister to forward a request to CPB, and this minister agrees to do so, then this minister will forward the request directly and without further stipulations to the Minister of EZK.
Once the requested research has been completed by CPB, the results will be sent to the requesting person. If it concerns a request by the States General, the result will be sent to the requesting party by the Minister of EZK. The minister then sends the report to parliament, without delay and unabridged. There is no room for, nor is there any question of any amendments being made to the report by the Minister. This does not, however, affect the possibility for the Minister to provide a public response.
The following standard procedure applies to the timing of publication of studies at the request of ministries: publication always takes place no later than 20 days after CPB considers the study to be finalised and ready for publication. In cases where ministries wish to postpone publication, they must submit a reasoned request to the CPB Director. Furthermore, if information is leaked in the media (i.e., is made public before its due date), CPB can decide to immediately proceed with publication, even in the case of confidential requests.
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