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Proposed publication policy for Dutch regulators foresees proactive disclosure of inspection data

On 6 June 2016, the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports, Edith Schippers, informed the Parliament of proposed amendments to the Healthcare Act and the Youth Act, which will provide regulators with a new legal basis to proactively disclose inspection data. The proposed amendments (publication policy) will apply to the Health Care Inspectorate (Inspectie voor de Gezondheidszorg), the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit), the Youth Care Inspectorate (Inspectie Jeugdzorg) and the Safety and Justice Inspectorate (Inspectie Veiligheid en Justitie).

To date, inspection data can be made public under the Government Information Public Access Act, which requires the balancing of interests on a case-by-case basis. Such individual balancing of interests will, however, no longer be required under the publication policy, which establishes more proactive and foreseeable disclosure. The objective of the publication policy is to promote transparency and to increase compliance of the sectors involved. According to the Minister, by publicly disclosing inspection data, companies, care professionals and institutions will be motivated to improve, which will promote the protection of public health.

The publication policy provides for an exhaustive list of information that is eligible for publication. A general administrative order will determine which information must be made public by the specific regulators. Sanction decisions will in any event form part of the information that has to be made public. In the absence of an individual assessment, the publication policy will contain certain restrictions on the publication of inspection data, for instance in cases where personal data, trade secrets and (business/medical) confidential data is concerned.

A prior version of this post was originally published by the same authors in Practical Law – Life Sciences, June 2016 Issue (Thomson Reuters).

This post was originally co-authored by Elsie Troll.