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The government has many different tasks. These tasks are assigned by law to an administrative body. Some of these legal tasks are performed automatically with algorithms. Think of imposing fines for speeding, reclaiming allowances or granting state pension or child benefit. As with a more visible performance of tasks such as raising dikes, it is important to know how these processes work and which choices have been made. Because the automated implementation of laws is also public action and must be legitimate.

Experts have now developed De LegitiMaat on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. This is a review instrument to provide insight into and assess (or have assessed) the automated implementation of laws by the government in a standardized manner. De LegitiMaat is based on three perspectives: legal, development and account perspective.

So it's about algorithms, but also about the context in which they are used. Algorithms are often thought of as Machine Learning (ML). The LegitiMaat mainly focuses on knowledge-based algorithms with which the law is implemented and citizens receive an individual decision (in the sense of the General Administrative Law Act).

The reach of De LegitiMaat

The LegitiMaat concerns the entire process from law to individual decision and afterwards, the response of the recipients (phone calls, complaints, objections) and the chain effects. It is socially very relevant that this process becomes more transparent. In this way we increase transparency. The LegitiMaat can be used to assess whether the laws, the general principles of good governance and the prohibition of discrimination have been complied with.

Parts of the LegitiMaat

The LegitiMaat contains an analysis of the usual steps taken at government organisations. This is the process diagram.

A Document List has been made based on the process diagram. These are the documents required for the investigation.

Then questionnaires are based on the process diagram. These can be answered by the government organization itself.

Based on the information and answers obtained, a visitation team can get to work.

With De LegitiMaat we have brought practice, technology and law one step closer together.

The most recently published version can be found here. For the working version, please refer to MinBZK's GitHub Page.

Knowing more?

We also worked as openly as possible. You can find out how De LegitiMaat came about in these slides. Documents and literature can be found on Pleio

For information in English about The LegitiMate, look here: A cool experiment in NL: The LegitiMate. Working method to judge the use of algorithms in ADM from 3 perspectives. – Automated administrative decisions and the law