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VVD wants answers on home inspections

23 July 2007 - On 13 June, alderwoman Hennah Buyne said home inspections will not be carried out solely because social assistance recipients fit a risk profile. However, on 31 May she wrote that this does happen. The VVD wants a clarification.

Amsterdam claims to have saved 25 million euro worth of benefits by inspecting social assistance recipients’ homes. However, the Central Appeals Council (CRvB) has ruled that welfare agencies may not invade the privacy of social assistance recipients’ home solely because they fit a statistical risk profile.

Since then, it has been unclear to what extent Amsterdam has changed its inspection policy. In a council meeting, Buyne confirmed that Amsterdam is no longer using risk profiles. However, the welfare agency (DWI)’s investigation plan for 2007, sent to the city council two weeks earlier, states it does use risk profiles.

Frans Beishuizen (VVD) is annoyed that the matter still has not been cleared up, despite endless discussions. “Clients of the DWI must know their rights when the agency pays them a visit”.

From informal contacts with the DWI he learned that home inspections based on risk profiles have been suspended because this approach was no longer cost-effective after a large operation had been completed. However, the agency would like to start a new round of inspections soon.

The VVD has asked written questions in order to get this information confirmed by the alderwoman.

Beishuizen is in favour of changing the law in order to make home inspections based on risk profiles legal. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) requires a legal basis for infringements on the privacy of one’s home.

However, the CRvB stated that the lack of a legal basis was not the problem - in fact, it said there already is such a basis in Dutch law. However, it ruled that the fact that someone fits a risk profile is insufficient to meet another criterion set by the ECHR, namely, that there must be a necessity to invade this person’s privacy.

See also: VVD rejects ethnic profiling; VVD (in Dutch); CRvB (in Dutch). Illustration: Hennah Buyne (photo Jean Pierre Jans)


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