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Dr Paulien de Winter receives Gratama Foundation grant

17 April 2023
Dr Paulien de Winter

Paulien de Winter has been awarded a grant from the Gratama Foundation for her research on strengthening the human dimension in the enforcement of the Fraud Act in practice. De Winter, assistant professor of Empirical Legal Research at our Faculty, will release a podcast in addition to an accessible research report in the form of a book and will organize a national symposium.

Difficulties and scope of the Fraud Act

The enforcement of social security in the Netherlands has become increasingly repressive. There are numerous obligations for benefit recipients, supervision is strict, and sanctions are severe. Since the ‘Tightening of Enforcement and Sanctions Policy Social Affairs and Employment’ legislation (better known as the ‘Fraud Act’) came into effect, this method of enforcement has been under discussion. Ever since the Dutch Childcare Benefits Scandal, the human dimension in enforcement has become more important.

Policymakers are busy working on this, as the Social Security Enforcement bill (February 2023) shows. De Winter: ‘Yet we hardly hear the voice of those implementing the bill, in this case the social security fraud investigators. Whereas an implementation practice that focuses on the human dimension in enforcement of the Fraud Act is only possible if those implementing it are involved'.

In her research, De Winter looks in particular at social security fraud investigators’ views on the difficulties and scope of the Fraud Act. In doing so, she poses the question: According to social security fraud investigators, how can the human dimension be strengthened in the enforcement practice of the Fraud Act?

Research phases and final products

De Winter will answer her research question using three research phases: a group discussion with social security fraud investigators, a questionnaire distributed among all social security fraud investigators and in-depth interviews with some of them.

After going through the three research phases, De Winter will write an accessible research report in the form of a book. A podcast will also be produced, in which social security fraud investigators and experts will engage in conversation. The research will be concluded with a national symposium where the research findings will be shared and discussed with practitioners, policymakers and experts. The entire research is supported by the Faculty of Law and the Department of Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Public Administration.

Gratama Grant

In cooperation with the Groninger University Fund Foundation, the Gratama Foundation offers the opportunity to financially support small-scale academic projects set up and carried out by the University of Groningen. Every year, all UG faculties are given the opportunity to apply for a grant from the foundation. The grant amount to be awarded is between €5,000 and €25,000.


This article was published by the Faculty of Law.

Last modified:02 January 2024 12.32 p.m.
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