Budget cuts at Statistics Netherlands: state of play

Statistics Netherlands has realised substantial savings in recent years. Under the first Rutte cabinet (Rutte I), the Ministry of Economic affairs reduced Statistics Netherlands’ budget by €37.3 million in the period 2011-2015. Subsequent cuts under the Spring Agreement will increase this reduction in funding to € 41.7 million by 2018. This is the equivalent of around one quarter of the organisation’s original budget in 2011.

Statistics Netherlands was able to realise by far most of the reduction by implement ing more efficient methods and work processes: it has been able to produce the same results with fewer resources. Processes have been and are being scrutinised - and where necessary redesigned. To do this, the organisation has implemented Lean Six Sigma and Lean Operational Management on a wide scale and where possible has started using scrum management methods. In addition, some reductions have been made in the statistical programme to meet the targets set by Rutte I and the Spring Agreement.

On top of these budget reductions, cutbacks announced by the second Rutte cabinet (Rutte II) will also affect Statistics Netherlands. As a result of the previous reduction measures, only a small part of the new cuts under Rutte II will be able to be realised through further efficiency measures. As EU legal obligations offer no room for savings, and because the available funding will not cover the existing work programme, the inevitable conclusion has been a pruning in the non-mandatory statistical programme.

Because of the wide significance for public debate and policy-making of these non-mandatory statistics, Statistics Netherlands has been looking for alternative sources of financing for statistics not covered by the budget from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. It has approached a wide range of government ministries, asking them which statistics in their policy area they would be prepared to fund so that they could continue to be produced after 1 January 2017. The ministries have now informed us for which statistics they would be willing to pay, and as a result of these financial contributions 90% of the non-mandatory programme that cannot be financed under the regular budget will be retained. Ultimately, the funding cuts mean that Statistics Netherlands will discontinue 10% of non-mandatory statistics from 1 January 2017. This overview shows which statistics will be continued, and which will be discontinued.
Statistics for which no funding is available will be phased out in the course of 2016. If in the meantime an external party expresses a need for these statistics to be continued and makes funding available, Statistics Netherlands will keep this option open.

This is an update of an article published on July 14, 2016.