The Environment Act: working together … Why again and how do we do it?

The Environment Act will come into force in 2021 and governments, in particular, are busy with it. A law to get more into the world of people but that is also sufficient with official language: “integral cooperation” and “inter-administrative decision-making” are two examples of this. Difficult terms for adults, let alone children! However, it is important that you can also explain these terms to children because: If you cannot explain it simply, then you do not understand it well enough (Einstein).

Working together … why again?

The Environment Act means one law for the living environment that local problems can be solved locally. This creates space for the development of the quality of the living environment. The Environment and Planning Act has many different policy objectives, a few examples: increasing the administrative scope, achieving a coherent approach and speeding up decision-making.

The physical living environment does not belong to 1 “someone” and that makes cooperation so important: the central government, provinces, water boards, GGDs, municipalities … There are many players involved in (the quality of) the physical living environment. And they will soon have to work well together to achieve the objectives of the Environment Act. But there must also be good cooperation within the organizations: health is important for the physical living environment and has traditionally been a “social domain topic”. The social and physical domain will have to come closer together to improve or maintain the physical living environment. And more internally: there will have to be more cooperation within the domains.

We know this from somewhere …

We have previously assisted clients with (internal) cooperation issues in other major legislative changes: the decentralization of youth care. One issue that we carried out in this context was about the concept of “governance”. We have translated this into the game of working together to discuss this with the children. The question was actually to come up with the right rules and to agree so that this game of collaboration can actually be played (properly!) By the organizations.

What do children think about this?

A striking, beautiful advice that the children gave us about the rules for cooperation was the following: “Not ego-ën!”. In other words: according to the children, drawing your own plan without taking the other into account was really not possible. What struck us after this process was that the employees involved started to adopt the language of the children: “You are not allowed to be ego” with a wink and with a serious undertone said so that people approached each other’s interests and the rules of the game with ease. they were agreed.

Collaborate? First agree on rules!

Collaboration is also necessary for the successful implementation of the Environment and Planning Act. Enter into conversation with the aim of making clear agreements with each other about the working method around collaboration. This way everyone knows his or her role and can also be taken. And it provides a basis for addressing each other on collaborations that, despite the rules of the game, are not running so smoothly.

Do you want to talk to children about which rules are important for your context? Contact us now!

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