PSC-colloquium: Compromising neoliberal inspection policy at the frontline

A case study of the Dutch Health and Safety Inspectorate

Datum en tijd:
18 februari 2020 12:00 - 13:00 uur

Universiteit van Amsterdam

Roeterseilandcampus – building A, Ruimte Research Seminar Room A3.01

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166

1018 WV Amsterdam

PSC-colloquium on February 18, 2020 with Karin van Wingerde, assistant professor criminology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Organised by Paul Scholten Centre (PSC) of Jurisprudence, University of Amsterdam Law School.

Delegating responsibilities, tightening sanctions and implementing risk-based inspection prevail as policies implemented by inspectorates in response to the political pressure of having to do more with fewer resources and being more accountable.

This paper analyses how inspectors from the Dutch Health and Safety Inspectorate cope with this combination of measures that is characterized as a neoliberal inspection policy. It shows that professionalism and the strategic use of output measures prevent inspectors from being more selective and accountable in practice. Supervisors do not oppose these informal practices that compromise the main goals underlying the neoliberal inspection policy. These findings thereby question the tenability of the assumption underlying neoliberal inspection policy that inspectorates can take on more responsibilities and account for their activities in more transparent ways without additional resources and a political context in which government intervention is considered indispensable for occupational health and safety.

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