A main motive for policy decentralization is the belief that municipalities are better able to customize public policy to local circumstances, and to realize made-to-measure service provision. In this respect, the introduction of the Social Support Act (Wmo) is an interesting example. With the lack of ‘vertical’ accountability obligations to the national government, the Wmo is governmentally innovative. Whether the decentralization results in customized forms of social support is a fascinating one because a detailed reading of the Wmo and its implementation displays possible incentives as well as barriers to made-to-measure service provision. The empirical exploration in this article uses data from the 2007-2009 evaluation of the Wmo conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP). The evaluation shows that municipalities involve diverse stakeholders in formulating Wmo policy, and that their involvement seems to lead to customized service provision. At the same time, municipalities follow nationwide models, and information provided by the central government seems to have a major impact on local social care policy. The article concludes with an outlook on future directions in local debates on social care and the recommendation to give time for major decentralization trajectories such as the Wmo.
|Journal||Beleid en Maatschappij|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|