In 2001, the Flemish government awarded the consortium comprising the K.U.Leuven (Public Management Institute), the Universiteit Antwerpen (Management and Administration Research Group), the Universiteit Gent (Social Scientific Methodology Research Group) and the Hogeschool Gent (Commercial Science and Public Administration Department) recognition as a Policy Research Centre for Governmental Organization in Flanders. Five research projects were executed by the University of Antwerp. These projects will be briefly discussed in the following paragraphs.
1. Research Line: Multi-actor governance: Evaluative research regarding the need for socialisation and professionalisation of the local policy level (2002-2006). The purpose of this research is to map out which specific forms of cultures and structures of policy development and creation of public support actually exist in local government; to evaluate the need for and desirability of further socialisation and professionalisation of policy making at local policy level; to develop prescriptive models and convert these into instruments, with a view to improving the effectiveness and legitimacy of local policy.
2. Research Line: Multi-actor governance: Europeanisation of the flemish administrative system (2002-2006). This research has the following objectives: to examine to what extent the Flemish administrative structures, cultures and policy have been Europeanised; and to make proposals regarding the strategies that Flanders can operate in order optimally to handle the European issue and, subsequently, in order also to influence it.
3. Research Line: ICT & e-Government: E-government in an extra-administrative context (2002-2006). Within this project, emphasis is placed on ICT as an interface between citizens (and, by extension, associations and companies) and the government. This interface assumes the form of e-service provision initiatives and e-democracy (e-participation) initiatives. The research asks which groups of citizens currently participate in e-democracy and e-service provision in order, on the basis of this, to inform the policy regarding strategies for a socially inclusive e-government policy.
4. Research Line: Human Resource Management & Changemanagement: Deregulation and decentralisation as catalysts for a modern and flexible human resource management (2002-2006). This project will focus primarily on the experiences of various actors in governments in other countries with particular remuneration systems. The starting point, in each case, is a detailed overview of the remuneration system of the relevant case on the basis of a single pattern of variables. This leads to a well-founded appraisal of the foreign cases as well as to an evaluation to what extent the remuneration systems found may be regarded as comparable, positive (to be emulated) or negative (to be avoided) examples for the Flemish situation. Any pitfalls, difficulties and opportunities that a modernised remuneration policy has entailed in other countries are then examined. The aspects of deregulation and decentralisation are also considered.
5. Research Line: Human Resource Management & Changemanagement: Reforms relating to deregulation & administrative simplification (2002-2006). The specific objective of the 'regulation management and administrative simplification' project component is to provide the Flemish government, by means of scientific research and analyses, with insights relating to the managing of regulation, deregulation and re-regulation, and also relating to processes of what is known as administrative simplification.
In conclusion, there were also two B-projects conducted at the University of Antwerp. These were executed on a short-term.
1. Support analysis for the new municipal decree - qualitative part (2002): Under the authority of the Flemish minister of home affairs, the SBOV conducted a short-term research to examine the support for the major choices in the Flemish municipal decree. The analysis consists of two parts. In a survey with 1000 respondents, all mayors, secretaries, and a sample of 400 councillors were inquired. In a qualitative part, local politicians and public servants were interviewed to asses the opinions and attitudes. The research had two goals: examine whether and to what extent there is a need for change, and secondly to asses the opinions about the proposals for change.
2. Morphology of contractual employment in Flemish municipalities (2005-2006): The group of contractual employees in the local governments gradually exceeds the category of the statutory civil servants. At the moment there are not yet sophisticated data about the population of contractual employees. In order to get a careful insight in the composition of this group, the Universiteit Antwerpen develops a detailed database with relevant data about the contractual employees in the Flemish cities and municipalities (a.o. sex, age, function, type of contract, level, pay scale, benefits). The purpose of this database is to map the movements of employees. Furthermore, we can distinguish trends in the employment policies of local governments and provide for adequate policy measures.