Rian Bobbink on how the Works Council makes a difference

Rian Bobbink
I can make a real difference in the Works Council
Rian Bobbink
Current role
Member of the Radboud University Works Council (OR)

As a member of the Radboud University Works Council (OR), Rian Bobbink contributes to issues that affect the entire university. From the identity of the organsiation to codes of conduct and educational visions, the topics debated on by Works Council are very broad. In this interview, Rian discuses his role, the issues on which the OR advises and how he ensures that, as an OR member, he has a voice and makes a difference.

Wide range of topics

One of the first questions we asked was what themes and topics are covered by the OR. “It's very broad,” explains the OR member. “For example, we recently met with the Executive Board to discuss the identity of our university. Another important theme is the introduction of a code of conduct at our university. The university's vision on education is another key agenda item that we’ll discuss soon.”

It’s important to focus your attention on the topics where you can make the biggest difference. During each meeting, Rian thinks about which topics are the most relevant and where he can make a valuable contribution. By focusing on the important issues, he can contribute more effectively to the decision-making process.

Influencing and advising

But how do you exercise your influence and can make a difference as a member of the Works Council? There are several ways to do this, explains Rian. The most direct way is to exercise your right of consent on certain issues that come before the Works Council. This means a decision cannot be made without the consent of the Works Council. In this case, the most obvious course of action is to vote on the issue at hand. However, the Works Council has the opportunity to hold extensive consultations to determine its position and can sometimes impose conditions for granting consent. This is just one way the council exerts its influence.

Another way is by raising issues in a round table meeting. While the Executive Board is not obliged to respond, this approach sometimes leads to results. A third way to exert influence is by giving unsolicited advice. The Works Council can always issue an opinion if it believes a change is needed, even on files over which it officially has no say.

Valuable contribution

One of the Works Council’s biggest achievements in the past eighteen months was developing the code of conduct. “I think we made a valuable contribution to the development of this code,” says Rian. “Everyone agreed there should be a code of conduct, but they had different opinions about the content and wording. This made the process interesting and fun. In the end, we all had the same goal and everyone understood how important it was, which allowed us to work well together to achieve the desired result. I’m very proud of this.”

Rian’s experience in the Works Council

As a university employee, you get to deal with the everyday affairs of your own faculty. But what if you wanted to know more about the ins and outs at the university level? That is exactly what motivated Rian to nominate himself for the Works Council.

The experience taught him which issues are at play and how they relate to other universities in the Netherlands. More importantly, he gained a better understanding of the dynamics between the central umbrella organisation and the faculties. He wasn’t aware of this before, but now he understands how the two layers interact and how decisions are made. This experience taught him a lot personally and expanded his outlook on the university.

Why run as a candidate?

Rian sees participation in the Works Council as a unique opportunity to participate and influence decisions that affect the entire university. It is not just about personal ambition, but also about representing the voice of your own faculty and contributing to the future of the university. It is an opportunity to develop and grow on a personal level, while contributing to a better university for all students and staff.