Policy-making in Flanders (Belgium) is traditionally characterized by a high density of advisory bodies, firmly integrated into the policy-making process. In a consensus-based political system with neo-corporatist traits such as Flanders, it is not surprising that the advisory system makes strong use of experience-based expertise provided by societal stakeholders. Recently, responding to concerns over growing advice competition, the Flemish government has reshaped its strategic advisory system. We analyse the defining aspects of this new advisory system, and explore members’ satisfaction about the advisory process and the use of advice by policy-makers. Our analysis is based on a 2009 survey with the members of the new strategic advisory councils (response 72,4%). The results show that reorganising the advisory system has not led to uniformisation regarding council size, budget or membership constitution. And although satisfaction with the advisory process is generally high, the influence of the advice is perceived as low, which poses a challenge to neo-corporatist policy-making in Flanders.
Special Issue: Externalization and Politicization in Policy Advice Systems: Comparative Studies in Policy Formulation