Issue of permits and enforcement
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate maintains and strengthens the readiness of parties subject to supervision to meet their obligations, by issuing permits/certificates, enforcement (provision of services, supervision and detection) and investigation. At the same time, it seeks to collaborate with other government partners.
Issue of permits
Anyone entering a market must comply with legal requirements. If these requirements are met, the inspectorate issues a permit(s) in a number of areas, or certificates. In this way, the legislator attaches safety requirements to market regulation principles: a company may not operate without a permit. In the area of shipping, the inspectorate often mandates (certifying) private institutions and recognised market players (classification societies) to issue permits. This applies equally to permits/certificates in the area of bus and taxi transport. Since 2010, the quality authority Kiwa NV (Kiwa Register) has been responsible for this task under mandate. However the inspectorate does maintain supervision of classification societies and Kiwa Register. The inspectorate remains, being the enforcer, directly authorised to withdraw permits and certificates.
In the area of water, the parties subject to supervision may execute specific activities such as discharging, scouring or the installation/modification of a system if they report this or in case they have a permit. As a result of the changed legislative procedures to generally applicable rules and notifications, the amount of work shifts towards enforcement activities. In the area of soil, the inspectorate examines requests for ratification for companies acting as intermediaries between the governments and companies requiring a permit (soil intermediaries).
The inspectorate enforces compliance with legislation and regulations in three ways.
1. Provision of services
The provision of services to parties subject to supervision means that the inspectorate issues explanations and information concerning legislation and regulations. It also makes it easier for the concerned parties to comply, for example by making request and information requirements digital, simplifying forms and ensuring complaints are handled effectively. Furthermore, the services provided by the inspectorate also include responding to letters from citizens and dealing with reports for example concerning fireworks, the export of waste, the soil, drinking eater and Legionella's.
The inspectorates supervision is based on the principle of 'trust unless'. The principle is founded on a compliance and risk selection system which the inspectorate will further develop in the years ahead. Object inspections, administrative controls, digital inspections and audits are the tools used. Where ‘permanent improvement’ is required, the inspectorate also supervises this aspect. In the case of good compliance, the party subject to supervision receives less supervision enforcement and covenants (horizontal supervision) can be agreed on. This at the same time realises the political assignment to reduce the burden of supervision.
In specific cases the inspectorate enforces compliance by means of criminal measures. For example special detection officials from the inspectorate can draft a formal report following a breach which they establish while executing supervisory activities. In addition, the inspectorate performs detection and enforcement under the direction of the Public Prosecution service. Of all the indications of possible breach which reach the inspectorate, a limited proportion become formal reports which the inspectorate submits to the Public Prosecutor. The division of the inspectorate which handles detection (the IOD) also processes information and performs analyses.
Accident investigations in serious cases is assigned, sometimes in whole (aviation) to the Dutch Safety Board. In such cases, the inspectorate provides expertise. The inspectorate reaches agreement with the Dutch Safety Board regarding the investigations to be carried out by the inspectorate.
More supervisory bodies and enforcement organisations are authorised within the various departments. Their levels of authority often vary as does their area of supervision. Collaboration is therefore necessary both to ensure that the parties subject to supervision which meet their obligations are not bothered unnecessarily and to encourage parties subject to supervision that are more casual about things to meet their obligations.