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New NWO co-determination structure since July

Every employee represented at every level

Generally speaking, if changes are made to the way that an organisation is managed, changes may also be needed in the way that co-determination is organised. The appointment of a director NWO-I and a director of operations NWO-I has changed the governance within NWO to the extent that the co-determination structure also needed to be adjusted. As a result, a works council has been set up for the NWO-I office (ORB) and a group works council for the entire Institutes Organisation (GOR NWO-I). What does this mean in practice: who meets who and how are the topics assigned to the various works councils? And how will this new structure help you as an NWO-I employee?

Governance at NWO: a quick reminder

The NWO-I Foundation manages nine research institutes: AMOLF, ARCNL, ASTRON, CWI, DIFFER, Nikhef, NIOZ, NSCR and SRON. NWO-I is also the employer of the staff who work in the NWO-I office and the Administrative Unit for Research Groups at Universities (BUW). The NWO-I Foundation Board is responsible for the operation of the NWO Institutes. The NWO Executive Board, which forms a personnel union with the NWO-I Foundation Board, is responsible for the strategy and financing of the NWO Institutes. The director NWO-I is the person with ultimate responsibility for NWO-I as a whole. He or she is the formal manager of the institute directors with whom the strategic agenda is worked out within the framework laid down by the Executive Board and the Foundation Board. The director NWO-I advises the Executive Board on matters relating to the institutional portfolio and the missions of the individual institutes.

Co-determination within NWO

Local councils
One of the main premises when devising a new co-determination structure was the assignment of responsibilities at the appropriate level. Every institute has its own participation structure, so it is only logical that every institute should also have its own works council. As the NWO-I office is also a separate organisational unit with its own director and powers of authority, it was also a logical step to install a works council  to serve this organisational unit. These ‘local’ councils consult with their own directors on matters that fall under the director’s responsibility.

NWO-I Group Works Council (GOR NWO-I)
The Works Council NWO-I Office (ORB) and the works councils of the institutes jointly form the new Group Works Council (GOR NWO-I). The Administrative Unit for Research Groups at Universities (BUW) has two seats on this council, along with the members from the NWO-I office and the institutes (one member from each local council). The GOR NWO-I meets the director NWO-I to discuss matters that concern NWO-I, but which do not affect NWO as a whole. This includes matters such as the introduction of the New Financial System, for example, or the Scientific Integrity Complaints Procedure NWO-I and advice when appointing the director NWO-I. The term of office in the GOR NWO-I runs parallel with the term of office in the local works councils. So if, for example, someone’s term of office in the NIOZ works council comes to an end, membership of the GOR NWO-I will also stop. It was agreed, however,  to hold elections for the executive committee of the GOR NWO-I (chair, secretary and vice-chair) at least every two years.

NWO Central Works Council (COR NWO)
The COR NWO deals with matters that affect NWO as a whole, such as the NWO Implementing Regulations and strategy. The COR NWO consults with the Executive Board. So how will the COR NWO be organised from 2021 onwards? One of the changes is that all members of the GOR NWO-I will automatically become members of the COR NWO. In addition, three members of the OR NWO-D will have seats in the COR NWO. Their term of office in the COR NWO is linked to their term of office in the OR NWO-D. The executive committee of this council is also elected at least every two years. For more information about the COR NOW, visit the NWO-I website.

Colleagues from NWO-D, who work within the domains and the operations departments, will be represented by a single, separate works council for the domain organisation: the OR NWO-D. The OR NWO-D consults directly with the Executive Board, and talks informally with the ORB and the GOR.

How will this affect you?

How will these changes benefit you as an employee? Co-determination is close at hand: you can ask your own works council colleague for advice on subjects that affect your specific working environment, and which fall under the responsibility of your local works council. The works councils of the institutes and the NWO-I office (ORB) consult with their own management. The local institutes councils were already working in this way, but the introduction of the new structure means that if there is a good reason, a subject can now be passed to the GOR NWO-I. The subject in question can then be discussed at NWO-I wide level with the director NWO-I. The fact that all of the institutes, the NWO‑I office and the BUW are now represented in the COR NWO ensures that influence can be exerted up to the level of the Executive Board. The new tiers ensure that information is shared at the correct levels and should lead to efficient co-determination procedures by which all NWO-I employees feel properly represented.

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