In a time that the Dutch government including regulatory bodies have lost sight of the human dimension (think of the ‘Toeslagenaffaire’), innovative regulatory approaches are urgently needed to ensure that especially vulnerable people are seen and taken seriously. But how can we change a primarily top-down type of regulation with predetermined fixed standards? A paradigm shift is needed in which users are the touchstone, not regulators. Anne Margriet Pot, Roland Bal, Hester van de Bovenkamp en Iris Wallenburg have been awarded a subsidy of 1,2 million Euro from the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) programme ‘Innovation of Supervision’ to develop an innovative regulatory approach.
The social position and legitimacy of regulators can no longer be taken for granted. Moreover, the increased networked character of public service provision creates complex regulatory environments, raising the question of which service providers can be held responsible for service quality. At the same time, regulators are increasingly held accountable for failing service provision. The complexity of the work of regulators is further enhanced due to the increasing emphasis on person‐centredness as a quality requirement for public service provision. This requires a more flexible form of quality control because users differ in their needs and preferences which can also change over time.
The general aim of this project is to develop reflexive arrangements for regulation, based on the use of narrative methods to enhance accountability and dialogue. This takes place in co‐production with all stakeholders, including vulnerable groups, to innovate and enhance connections between them, service providers and regulators. The project specifically focuses on: A. persons with dementia living at home and their family carers (incl. friends or neighbours); B. low‐educated people who are unemployed, and; C. children with mental disorders and behavioural problems, and their parents/carers.
We use a mixed‐method and action‐oriented research design based on the concepts of reflexive regulation and coproduction, which fits the process‐based approach of regulation. Interventions using narrative instruments are conducted with providers in the service network, users, researchers and other stakeholders, to study how these instruments can help improve person‐centred integrated service provision to vulnerable people. Based on these interventions, reflexive arrangements for regulation are developed to enhance regulatory responsiveness to vulnerable groups, recognizing the networked character of service provision in overlapping regulatory domains. The arrangements are translated into a regulatory toolkit to disseminate and sustain the lessons learned and to foster further development on reflexive regulation in practice and theory with a focus on narrative methods.