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News from the COR NWO (Inside NWO-I September 2021)

The new co-determination structure at NWO and NWO-I took effect on 7 July.
You can read here which exact form this structure takes and how the interests of NWO and NWO-I employees will be represented. At its meeting on 7 September, the COR NWO discussed a number of current topics with the Executive Board representative , such as the further development of NWO-I, strategic development, hybrid working and the advisory committee on a director for NWO-I.
The COR NWO also took the initiative to draw up a procedure manual for crisis situations, following the hack at the beginning of this year.

Current topics

The COR NWO discusses the general course of events with the representative twice a year. The representative announces decisions which are being prepared, for which the COR can provide input (articles 25 and 27 of the Dutch Works Councils Act). Agreements are also made about when and how the works council will be involved in the decision making. Prior to the first consultative meeting of both the COR NWO and the GOR NWO-I on 7 September, the Executive Board representative shared an up-to-date list of current topics with us. Below is a partial list. If you would like to read the full report of the meeting, please register to be added to the mailing list via COR@nwo.nl

  • Further development of NWO-I | NWO-I has had a budget deficit for a number of years. The budget for 2022 aims to clear this deficit. Part of the solution lies in the further development of NWO-I. The NWO-I office needs to be made fit for purpose and changes may be implemented throughout the entire Institutes Organisation. This is an important topic for the COR NWO and, since July, also for the GOR NWO-I, and one in which we want to be involved at an early stage. We have already received the memo with the terms of reference and we will also pose critical questions about the next step.
  • Strategic development | At the behest of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), NWO was evaluated by an external committee in 2020. The evaluation report contained a considerable number of recommendations. Despite the fact that the Ministry has not yet responded formally, NWO will make a start on these recommendations. For example, it will begin to draft the new NWO strategy after the summer period. NWO chair Marcel Levi has promised to include the COR NWO from the beginning.
  • Hybrid working | A lot of work is currently being done to develop policy on hybrid working at NWO. There is no doubt that NWO employees must be given scope for hybrid working where possible. Because the work of the Institutes Organisation and the Domain Organisation differs, it has been decided not to introduce a uniform policy, but to look at what each organisational unit needs. Co-determination processes are actively involved. For example, the COR NWO was able to provide input for a conceptual design of NWO-I policy and a member of the NWO-D Works Council is a member of the 'hybrid working at NWO-D workgroup.
  • Advisory Committee on the director of NWO-I | Following the departure of Miriam Luizink as the director of NWO-I in the middle of this year, the question arose whether the appointment of a director of NWO-I had led to the desired result – a more effective and decisive organisation. The COR NWO has now advised the representative to set up an independent advisory committee before a new NWO-I director is recruited. The committee will be tasked with evaluating and issuing advice on the current governance of NWO-I and, in particular, on the managerial representation of the institutes at Executive Board level. The representative also recognises the need to reflect on the current governance of NWO-I, as well as on aspects relating to culture and behavior. This process has been started and the COR NWO has been properly involved in the follow-up stages.

Draft initiative for procedure manual for crisis situations

If a works council (and this also applies to a group works council and a central works council) believes a theme to be important, it does not need to wait until the representative comes up with a plan and asks for advice or approval. The council has the right to initiate matters. The COR NWO recently made use of this right in consultation with all the local NWO works councils. The hack at NWO-D highlighted the fact that neither the NWO Institutes Organisation nor the NWO Domain Organisation has a procedure manual for this type of crisis situation. The COR NWO has gathered input from the local works councils and drawn up extensive advice for the representative. This advice was discussed in the consultative meeting of 7 September. The representative is now obliged to put a well-argued response in writing. To be continued.

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