Plan for Change

Inspectorate of Education assesses the social safety Plan for Change as inadequate

The Inspectorate of Education considers that TU Delft’s plan to improve social safety consists ‘largely of objectives and direction’ but lacks firm actions. It also lacks critical reflection on the role of the Executive Board.

(Photo: Justyna Botor)

The Inspectorate of Education has ‘little confidence’ that the mismanagement at TU Delft can be set right by the Executive Board. That is one of the conclusions in the Inspectorate’s reaction (in Dutch) to the social safety plans of TU Delft (the Plan for Change).

In the letter dated 1 July, the Inspectorate states that the resistance of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board towards the Inspectorate report cost much valuable time and support. It writes that this created ‘the impression … that you (the Executive Board, Eds.) deny the problems at TU Delft’.

Previous action

The Inspectorate’s opinion is that the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board should have taken action much sooner. They had received the draft report a while ago, in November 2023. They could even have started when the investigation was initiated in 2022. But no action was taken, ‘while the nature and the scale of the findings did call for this’.

While the Inspectorate recognises that the Executive Board shows remorse and expresses this, given ‘articles in Delta’ and ‘signals that the Inspectorate receives’ they wonder whether this stems from intrinsic or extrinsic reasons. Apart from this, while the Executive Board does take ‘a leading role in the Plan’, it does not appear that there is any ‘real clear reflection’.

Reaction to the plan of action

The letter that the Inspectorate of Education sent to TU Delft on 1 July is a reaction to the Plan for Change that the Executive Board submitted to it on 15 May. Compiling a social safety plan of action was one of the requirements of the Inspectorate after it had determined mismanagement in its report.

There was talk about ‘looking back’ while this was not done in reality

The Inspectorate writes that it considers it ‘understandable’ that the Plan for Change is ‘at an early stage’, but it nevertheless views the document as a plan of action. TU Delft itself says that the Plan for Change is undergoing further work to become a plan of action.

The current plan scores inadequate in 14 of the 19 points. The Inspectorate believes that there are too few clear measures in it. It says that ‘no analysis was done’ and that while the plan refers to ‘looking back’, it has not actually done so.

Of the few steps that are clearly named, it is not clear to the Inspectorate who will carry them out, when and who bears responsibility. Yet, the Inspectorate thinks that the plan, if worked out and implemented better, could lead to improvement in the future.

No adequate action

But as yet, it is not clear to the Inspectorate whether ‘the real nature and scale of the problems regarding leadership’ have been taken on board. It writes that the role of supervisors in creating socially unsafe situations are not stated in the plan. It does not see any ‘adequate action’ in this area.

The aspects about which the Inspectorate is satisfied revolve around communication. The Inspectorate deems it positive that the plan will be made known widely and that the progress reports will also be shared with students and staff members.

It is also positive about the communication plans regarding information provision (such as monitoring and analyses) and information about the availability of groups such as confidential advisors. But the Inspectorate states that the plans for improvement for HR departments, such as adjusting the R&O cycle, are still not sufficiently concrete.

Good intentions

Much attention was given to meetings with staff members to give them the opportunity to share their concerns and suggestions in TU Delft’s Plan for Change. The Inspectorate now states that TU Delft has good intentions here. But it believes that the ‘underlying dynamics and problems’ are not properly addressed.

‘It only expresses suggestions and clear action is pushed forward’

The Inspectorate believes that there is a lack of clarity about how the people behind the mechanisms to safeguard social safety should handle the promised meetings and how they can gain the trust of staff members. It also writes that while the Plan for Change states that the strong hierarchical relationships contributed to the lack of social safety, it ‘goes not further than expressing a wish and concrete steps are pushed forward’.

This also goes for the recommendations to the Supervisory Board that the Inspectorate had stated in its report. One of its recommendations was to strengthen the Supervisory Board’s own independent information provision. Yet, this was not addressed in the Plan states the Inspectorate.


The Supervisory Board says that after the report was published, it ‘took a position that caused doubt in the Inspectorate about the degree to which the Supervisory Board can operate independently and critically in relation to the Executive Board’. The Inspectorate states that the Supervisory Board does not admit that there is a lack of social safety concerning the Executive Board. Therefore the Inspectorate does not have full confidence that the Supervisory Board will do anything about this.

Amongst the heavy criticism in the letter, the Inspectorate writes that it ‘would like to clearly state its appreciation’. It addresses its praise to ‘staff members and students who contributed to the Plan for Change that was submitted’ and ‘helped in caring for staff members and in doing so safeguarded/reinstated social safety’.


In its response to the Inspectorate’s letter (in Dutch, on Intranet in both Dutch and English), the Executive Board writes: ‘However critical the response of the Inspectorate of Education is, we believe in the change that we, the organisation, have brought about together’. It writes that it hears what the Inspectorate says, and sees the criticism as ‘an encouragement to continue the path we are on’.

The Executive Board calls it ‘painful and disappointing, but also understandable’

The Executive Board calls it ‘painful and disappointing, but also understandable’ that the Inspectorate is  ‘very critical’ towards the content of the plan and to the Executive Board. It says that it is working on ‘more concrete and SMART actions’, as requested by the Inspectorate. The administrators also write that they understand that they ‘have not always responded adequately or correctly to signals of social unsafety ’.

Gaining confidence

They promise improvements. ‘We will do everything in our power to regain that trust so that we can build the kind of organisation that we want to be for everyone: courageous, open and safe. We are deeply motivated to successfully anchor the change process we have started together with our community in our organisation. To this end, we are asking the Inspectorate to give us the time and space to prove that we can do this.’ In an email, a spokesperson adds that they ‘will meet the required actions within the time frame given’.

That time frame ends in February 2025. The Inspectorate of Education will then carry out a reassessment to see if TU Delft succeeded in sufficiently improving the care of its staff members. In the meantime, it calls on TU Delft to make more firm plans and to really put them into action. They also request a progress report every three months.

  • Want to know more about the Education Inspectorate’s report and everything related to it? Then check out Delta’s dossier on the matter.
Science editor Kim Bakker

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