The Netherlands has developed a relatively extensive and strong system of advisory bodies. A specific phenomenon in the Dutch setting involves the so-called ‘planning bureaus’, a specific form of advisory body that not so much actually plans policies but provides policy-relevant knowledge on developments in society, nature or the economy. In this chapter a reconstruction is made of the origin and development of this system, in order to understand why advisory boards and planning offices evolved as such a powerful factor in the Netherlands and to be able to position the Dutch case in a comparative perspective. Subsequently, attention is paid to the origin and proceedings of four key advisory boards: the Central Planning bureau (CPB), the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), the Social and Cultural Planning bureau (SCP) and the Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).
Eight: Policy analysis and performance audit at the ‘highest level’: looking for evidence and responsiveness