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Former President of the Netherlands Court of Audit, Saskia J. Stuiveling, dies aged 71

It is with great sadness that the Netherlands Court of Audit announces the death of S.J. (Saskia) Stuiveling (b. 1945) on 20 April 2017 at the age of 71. Saskia Stuiveling was a member of the Netherlands Court of Audit from 1984 to 2015 and its President for the last 16 years.

Saskia Stuiveling was preceded by her reputation when she was appointed to the Court of Audit’s Board in 1984. Her work for the parliamentary inquiry into the Rijn-Schelde-Verolme group, her membership of the Senate for the Dutch Labour Party and her position as State Secretary for the Interior had already earned her an impressive record in public administration.
Ms Stuiveling was known for her terrific energy and expertise. As a member of the Board she often worked behind the scenes on audits and laid the foundations for later successes that improved public administration. She contributed personally to the modernisation of the Court of Audit.
Ms Stuiveling became the Court’s first female President in 2000. She was admired within the organisation for her perfectionism and her eye for detail, a source of inspiration to many of her colleagues, and sometimes of desperation to others. She had the creative knack of identifying relationships and developing conceptual approaches long before others had thought about them. On more than one occasion, she initiated the public debate and was greatly appreciated for doing so. 

From her very first day in office, Ms Stuiveling was concerned with the performance of the government and its responsibility for weaker members of society. She set the Court of Audit’s course to audit the performance of the public sector in the fields of education, care and security. Under her leadership, the Court gained a wealth of expertise in these fields.

Ms Stuiveling had a finely developed nose for social and political relations and frequently took the initiative to undertake new activities. Her work within the international audit community was exceptional. She was at the birth of many innovative activities that widened the reach of supreme audit institutions and brought them closer to the man and woman in the street. She also strengthened the ties between audit institutions. In 1992, she established the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing and in 2002 the EUROSAI Working Group with a focus on IT governance. Following the Tsunami in 2004, she took the initiative to increase the transparency of aid flows. Her IntoSAINT self-assessment initiative put the integrity of public administration and the role of audit institutions on the map.
As President of the European regional network, she inspired EUROSAI to be more innovative and creative. She pioneered cooperation with audit institutions in the Arab region. The enormous respect she enjoyed internationally and her personal charm enabled her to move mountains.
These are not the only characteristics that made working with Saskia such a privilege. She could ease the tension with a witty comment or anecdote. In more private settings, she would often surprise people with the personal attention she paid them.

Stuiveling Open Data Award

On Ms Stuiveling’s retirement as President of the Court of Audit in 2015, the prime minister, Mark Rutte, announced the institution of the 'Stuiveling Open Data Award', an annual award first conferred in 2016 for public initiatives that promote, clarify or encourage the use of open data.
Ms Stuiveling was interested in everything related to the modern information society. She was sometimes referred to as ‘The Hague’s digitisation prophet’. She warned against the risk of the government missing the digital boat. If so many sources of information were available to the public, she reasoned, it was even more important for the government to be transparent and open up all the information available to it. Ms Stuiveling likened the digital revolution to the invention of the printing press.

Distinctions

  • Eisenhower Exchange Fellow (1986)
  • Commander in the Bernardo O'Higgens Order of Merit (Chile, 1991)
  • Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion (1991)
  • Grand Officer in the Order of Leopold II (Belgium, 2001)
  • Bintang Jasa Utama, the highest award conferred for extraordinary service to Indonesia for her decisive role in the Tsunami and Disaster Relief Advisory Group (2009).
  • Commander in the Order of Oranje Nassau (2009).
  • Hagelmayer Award for many years’ support for the State Audit Office of Hungary (2013).

Positions

  • independent management consultant
  • Central management officer for documentation, registration and personnel management, VNG (Association of Netherlands Municipalities), until 1975
  • policy adviser to the mayor of Rotterdam, André Van der Louw, from 1975 to 1981
  • member of the Senate of the States General, from 10 June 1981 to 10 September 1981
  • State Secretary for the Interior (responsible for financial affairs, local authorities, urban issues, decentralisation and preparations for municipal reform), from 11 September 1981 to 28 May 1982
  • coordinator of the preliminary investigations for the Rijn-Schelde-Verolme parliamentary inquiry committee, from 1983 to 1984
  • member of the Netherlands Court of Audit, from 29 October 1984 to 30 April 1999 (appointed by Royal Decree of 28 September 1984)
  • President of the Netherlands Court of Audit, from 1 May 1999 to 31 May 2015 (appointed by Royal Decree of 19 April 1999)
 
Saskia Stuiveling

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