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P. (Paulien) de Winter

Assistant Professor
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Strengthening the human touch in social security enforcement (2023-2024)
Social security enforcement in the Netherlands has become increasingly repressive in previous years. Obligations for benefit recipients are numerous, supervision is strict and sanctions are severe. Since the introduction of the Act tightening enforcement and sanctions policy SZW legislation, better known as the Fraud Act, this method of enforcement has been under discussion. There is a strong call from politicians for the 'human touch'b. Policymakers are also busy working on this, as the amendment to the law shows. However, we hardly hear the voice of the implementers, in this case the social investigators. This is striking because an implementation practice in which the human measure is central to the enforcement of the Fraud Act is only possible if implementers are involved. This study is an exploration of the difficulties and opportunities experienced by social investigators in enforcing the Fraud Act. The central question of this study is: How, according to social investigators, can the human touch be strengthened in the enforcement practice of the Fraud Act? I answer this question by means of action research consisting of three phases: a group discussion with social investigators, a questionnaire distributed among all social investigators and a number of in-depth interviews with social investigators. Besides painting a general picture of social investigation, I discuss social investigators' views on the difficulties and possibilities with the human touch in enforcing the Fraud Act. I also discuss with social investigators what they think about the proposed legislative amendment (Social Security Enforcement, February 2023). The research is funded by a Gratama grant.

Reflective regulation (2022-2026)
A new form of regulation. In the Netherlands there are several inspectorates that supervise the quality and safety of care and support services (e.g. JGJ, iSZW and IGJ). Usually these organizations look at one aspect of service provision, for example the quality and safety of care, or the quality of housing. However, some groups in society have to deal with different services. For example, consider people with dementia who live at home. Here, care is obviously important, but also the home and possible adaptations that need to be made to it. And if a partner has to give up work to provide care, financial issues also come into play. In this project, we want to explore how supervisors can respond to the diversity of services people face. We do this by focusing on their stories, and engaging with relevant organizations on how services can be improved. We also investigate how regulators can contribute by letting go of existing frameworks. The ultimate goal of the project is to organize a new form of rewgulation that, taking into account the complex reality, meets the needs of specific groups of people who find themselves in a vulnerable position. The research is funded by NWO. 

In Groniningen, we focus on the target group of people who are looking for work for a long time. Marilie Odding will conduct this research. The research will focus on how people who are looking for work for a long time experience the support of public services, such as the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). In the research, we will focus on the stories of people who have been looking for work for a long time. We examine how their stories and experiences can improve the quality of public services. In addition, we look at how these experiences can be used in the supervision of social services in order to make the user perspective central in supervision as well. We are carrying out the research in close cooperation with social partners, including Supervision Social Domain (TSD), Reading and Writing Foundation (LES), Divosa (association of municipal directors and managers), Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), but especially with service providers and people who are looking for work for a long time.

Dispute resolution in the social domain (2019-2022)
In collaboration with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Bert Marseille, Heinrich Winter, Marc Wever and Paulien de Winter are conducting research into the question of which best practices can contribute to accessible, early and fair dispute resolution between citizens and administrative bodies and to a targeted and effective use of professional legal aid in that process. The research will be conducted at municipalities, where it will be examined what they do to prevent disputes with citizens as much as possible or to resolve them satisfactorily and how successful that policy is, in order to formulate 'best practices' on that basis that we will then test at a number of municipalities. This is a project for the period 2020-2022 that is being carried out on behalf of the Legal Aid Board.

Evaluation ZSM method North Netherlands (2021-2022)
Since 2011, the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) and the police, in cooperation with their chain partners (probation organizations (3RO), Victim Support Netherlands (SHN), the Child Protection Agency (RvdK) and Stichting Halt, have been working together to accelerate the processing of criminal cases relating to common crime  against arrested and (subsequently) summoned suspects. The aim of the ZSM procedure is to deal quickly and appropriately with common crime (crimes committed by adult and juvenile suspects). The study aims to provide an outside view of the ZSM method used in the Northern Netherlands. The objective of the study is to provide suggestions that may lead to improvement of the working method. This concerns the further development of the working method in order to arrive at a meaningful settlement, the achievement of optimal coordination in view of the staff shortages in the organizations involved and the possibilities of working independent of time and place. All of this must take place within the applicable criminal law and constitutional framework. The central research question is: How can the ZSM process be (re)organized to better realize the objective of handling VVC cases as quickly, carefully and meaningfully as possible? The aim of the study is to provide concrete tools that can contribute to (1) shortening the processing time of ZSM cases, (2) limiting the increase in work stocks and (3) creating preconditions so that the ambition to handle cases meaningfully can be better realized. The study was commissioned by the District Public Prosecutor of North Netherlands. The research was executed by Heinrich Winter, Bert Marseille, Marc Wever and Paulien de Winter and with the help of student assistants Claudia Dijkstra and Sanne van der Kamp.

Analysis of ombudsprudence - standards of decency (2021)
'Propriety' is the standard by which the National Ombudsman tests the actions of the government. Reports by the National Ombudsman result in a qualification of the governmental action about which a complaint has been filed. The conclusion may be that the government action is proper or improper. In the first case the complaint is unfounded, in the second case it is well-founded. Reports by the National Ombudsman always state why the government action is proper or improper and therefore whether the complaint is justified or not. In the past decades, a large number of criteria have been developed on the basis of which it is decided whether the action about which a complaint has been made is proper or not. These criteria have been adjusted and extended over the years. The various criteria together form the standards of propriety against which the National Ombudsman assesses government action. These standards reflect the normative view taken by the Ombudsman of the relationship between citizens and government. Changes in the criteria used reflect changes in views about the requirements that a government must meet if its actions are to be qualified as proper. The study was conducted by Paulien de Winter and Bert Marseille on behalf of the National Ombudsman. They were supported by student assistants Joachim Bekkering, Anne Bennenbroek and Christa Mulder.

Evaluation of amendments to the Netherlands Nationality Act in the interest of national security (2019-2020)
Since March 1, 2017, Section 14(4) of the Netherlands Nationality Act empowers the Minister of Justice and Security to revoke the Dutch citizenship of expatriates who have voluntarily joined a terrorist organization that poses a threat to national security. This power is assigned to the State Secretary of Justice and Security. The amendment to the RWN is the result of the Action Plan for an Integrated Approach to Jihadism, which is part of the government's counterterrorism policy. The purpose of the legislative amendment is to protect national security. This is achieved by revoking the Dutch citizenship of this category of travellers. By withdrawing Dutch citizenship, combined with a pronouncement of undesirability, it is ensure that people who travel to the Netherlands illegally do not return there. This will make the actual return more difficult. During the debates on the amendment of the law in the Senate, the then Minister of Security and Justice promised that Article 14 would be amended. Security and Justice promised that article 14 paragraph 4 of the Netherlands Nationality Act would be evaluated three years after its entry into force in order to determine whether the provision will be maintained after the expiration date (1 March 2022), whether or not in an amended form. The study was conducted - by order of the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre - by Viola Bex-Reimert, Bert Marseille, Marc Wever, Heinrich Winter and Paulien de Winter.

Smart Enforcement in Practice (2019-2020)
Paulien de Winter and Marc Hertogh have started developing an analysis tool for determining the individual profile of clients, as a follow-up to the publication Smart Enforcement. 'Smart enforcement' is a new perspective on enforcement in social security. The starting point of 'smart enforcement' is that the individual profile of the citizen is taken into account as much as possible when setting up the enforcement relationship. Based on action research, an electronic analysis tool has been developed to help employees determine the profile of benefit recipients. In a small-scale pilot study. The instrument was tested at one implementing agency. The first experiences of beneficiaries and employees with the analysis tool are positive. The research was carried out with financial support from Instituut Gak.

Research abuse risks WW and develop assessment framework (2019)
As of October 2018, several letters have been sent by the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment to the House of Representatives on the subject of benefit fraud WW and there are reports of the consultations with the House of Representatives. On October 11, 2018, there was a debate with the Minister of Social Affairs in the House of Representatives on this issue. In the debate, all political parties emphasized that WW benefit fraud is unacceptable. Another recurring point in the House was the question to what extent the UWV is capable of properly fulfilling its enforcement task. In addition to justifying the policy pursued, the Minister explained the measures agreed between the UWV and SZW to improve the fight against fraud. Some of these measures are more intensive checks on addresses,
registration of intermediaries and an external investigation into the risks of fraud in the implementation of the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW) and the development of an assessment framework. The study consists of two parts: clarifying the risks and developing an assessment framework. The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and carried out by Gijs Vonk and Paulien de Winter in collaboration with KPMG.

Between the lines (2014-2019)
A strict approach to benefit fraud has been high on the political agenda for years. Fraud with taxpayers' money offends everyone and detection and fines pay off handsomely. But what happens within the implementing bodies? How do employees deal with the rules and with benefit recipients? This study looked at the implementation of social security legislation by employees of municipalities (social services) and the UVW. The research offers a look behind the door of the consulting rooms. There are large differences in the way social services and UWV Werkbedrijven enforce social security legislation. Employees differ in how they apply the rules and how they react to violations. The study was conducted by Paulien de Winter. 

Enforcement from the bottom up - Smart enforcement (2014-2018)
Compliance with the rules in the field of social security is important for an economically powerful and social country, with work and social security for everyone. But how do you make sure that everyone complies with the rules? In this research we look at different enforcement instruments, analyze the effects of these instruments, and develop a model for 'effective enforcement' based on these data. Unlike most research to date, in this study we do not assess the various enforcement instruments 'from the top down', but rather 'from the bottom up'. The research revolves around the following central question: How do citizens' expectations and perceptions of the implementing agencies within the social security system influence the instruments that enforcers choose; what does this mean for the level of compliance; and - in this light - what might a model for 'effective enforcement' look like? To explore these issues, we are conducting interviews with enforcers and citizens in focus groups, conducting a nationally representative survey of citizens, and conducting five comprehensive case studies at all of the implementing agencies involved. This means that the researchers look at important files, "walk along" with a number of enforcers, and talk to both enforcers and citizens. Finally, we present our findings to practitioners and other experts. This research is conducted by Marc Hertogh, Heinrich Winter, Heleen Weyers, Willem Bantema and Paulien de Winter. 

Last modified:06 June 2023 10.23 a.m.