The InterAction Collection

SF supporting a systems change in local government

The Barneveld local council Case Study

Jan 17, 2024

Paut Kromkamp & els-de-beurden

Introduced by Géry Derbier

Once upon a time in the Netherlands, the Dutch government promulgated a new welfare and social services law… This law begins the fascinating story of a huge paradigm shift at the scale of an organisation caring for a population of 60000+ people.

Transitioning from a “What’s wrong with you?” to a “How would you like to participate in your reality?” perspective was a daunting task for Els van Beurden and the social workers she managed at the time. “We need to talk to people, this is scary!” “How on earth to implement this very new and difficult change?” Enter consultant Paut Krompkamp Struik. Together, Els and Paut cleverly created a magic sauce with a few carefully selected ingredients, inviting clients to Kitchen Table conversations with refined Solution Focus questions (the 3-column form they use is now one of my favourite tools).

And the story goes on, months after months, years after years. Els and Paul refine their recipe: lighter training sessions, coaching on the job, intervision (a.k.a the cherished SF reflecting team), etc… And the whole organisation shifts with tangible benefits for all the stakeholders.

Attending the Paut and Els session and reviewing it has been a pleasurable and somewhat soothing experience for me as it give some answers to the constantly recurring question: “Could it be that simple?” Reflecting on this, I recall a remark from Ludwig Wittgenstein (my favourite philosopher, as you can imagine): “Music seems to many a primitive art, because of the small number of sounds and rhythms it contains. But it is only its surface that is simple, while what makes up its body, what makes possible the interpretation of its manifest content, possesses all the infinite complexity that we find suggested outwardly in the other arts, and which Music passes over in silence. In a certain sense, it is the most refined of all the arts.”

So, sit back, relax and enjoy the delicious music that Els and Paut play together in this case study.

Listen on Soundcloud

Paut Kromkamp
Paut Kromkamp
SFiO Chapter head
SFiO Contributor

My specialty is asking meaningful questions. In training, coaching, Intervision and organisational development.

Els de Beurden
Els de Beurden
InterAction Contributor

Els is currently the team leader of the policy advisory team of the social services department of Gemeente Barneveld, a local council in The Netherlands.