Examples of strengthened participation in decision-making include greater involvement of the representative advisory bodies in appointments, increased appreciation of participation in decision-making, more transparent rights, easing of the Facilities regulations for participation in decision-making and early involvement in policy proposals. A student assessor has also been appointed.
At the request of the representative advisory councils, their influence over appointments has been greatly expanded. The representative advisory councils now help to compile basic profiles, have a seat on candidate selection committees, and conduct meetings to gauge the level of support for newly appointed Presidents, Rectors and UvA deans.
Recommendation to strengthen participation in decision-making
Following the publication of the Democratisation and Decentralisation Committee's report, a Strong Participation in Decision-Making Task Force was established in spring 2017. This task force presented its advisory report on Tuesday, 20 February 2018.
The key points highlighted in the report were accurate representation, the need to increase the appeal of participation in decision-making and transparent rights. This report was partially based on the input of the academic community through denkmee.uva.nl as well as the input of the Central Works Council (COR) and the Central Student Council (CSR). The task force's members included former representative advisory council members and employees.
Their proposals included shorter terms of office (to enable PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers and other temporary staff to take part), earlier dissemination of policy topics (through 'green papers'), and model agreements setting out transparent rights and duties regarding participation in decision-making. The task force did not recommend increasing the rights of the representative advisory bodies.
For members of the COR, the Regulations for participation in decision-making have been eased since 1 July 2015. Among other matters, percentage of working hours that can be spent on Council-related activities by COR members has been increased. Until further notice, the easing of the Regulations applies up to the end of the COR's term of office.
The Executive Board now engages the COR and CSR in policy proposals at an earlier stage. As an example, the COR is closely involved with the Workload Task Force and members of the COR as well as the CSR have participated in round-table discussions on the adjustment of the Strategic Plan. Where necessary, information sessions are being organised for COR and CSR members to engage experts as well as policy advisers in more in-depth discussions about policy topics including the HR Agenda and privacy regulations. CSR members sit on several committees, particularly those concerned with education policy.
As from 2015, a student assessor has attended Executive Board meetings, advising the Executive Board and putting student-related topics on the agenda. The student assessor maintains close contact with the CSR, the students and the student associations. Both the CSR's and the Executive Board's initial evaluation of this position were positive. A second evaluation has been scheduled for the middle of 2018. By liaising with students within and outside the representative advisory bodies, the student assessor serves as a central point of contact between the university's administrators and the student community.
Since 1 January 2018, the position of student assessor has been held by Moataz Rageb. He is the third assessor to serve in this post and his term of office lasts until the end of the year. Rageb was appointed by a candidate selection committee which comprised members of the CSR, the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board.