Ministry name changes cost Dutch gov't millions: report
Changing the names of Ministries and redistributing tasks between the different government departments is costing the Rutte III government an estimated 31.7 million euros, the Volkskrant reports based on a report by the Central Audit Service, which forms part of the Ministry of Finance.
When the Rutte III government took office in 2017, a number of the Ministries were given new names, some departments got new tasks, and other Ministries had tasks removed from their responsibility. For example, the Ministry of Economic Affairs became the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment became the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality was re-established. And the Ministry of Security and Justice had its name changed to the Ministry of Justice and Security.
According to the Central Audit Service report, the lion share of the costs - around 26.3 million euros - went into the re-establishment of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. This Ministry existed until 2010. Between 2010 and 2017 its tasks were assigned to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The Ministry of Justice and Security underwent a name change, but kept the same duties. Switching the words "Security" and "Justice" in the Ministry's name cost over 2 million euros, according to figures requested by the Volkskrant. The operation associated with the name change is expected to be completed in May. "It requires precision and time", a Ministry spokesperson said to the newspaper, also stressing that officials are implementing the change in a "sober way".
The report also noted that there was no central management for the name changes and redistribution of duties in 2017 and 2018. There were no clear guidelines and little cooperation between departments. The researchers also stressed that the amount of 31.7 million euros can still change, as not all costs were registered by the Ministries and part of the amounts are only estimations.
According to the newspaper, this report by the Central Audit Service dates from October 2018, but has remained largely unnoticed until now.