Custom work

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

Marjolein Quené says in her book about customization (in the Anglo-Saxon management model):

“Custom work in services is an illusion.
In public services, we often talk about customization. The idea is that the client or client is helped entirely to measure.
Most of the time, however, this customisation consists of a product. The customer can then choose from ten variables, instead from two. However, each variable is conceived and recorded by the organization in advance.
It is rarely the case that the customer or client can really indicate what his needs are and then that they are met. If the need has not been defined by the organization before, very few organizations are able to meet the wishes or needs of the customer or client. Usually the employees are simply not allowed to do so. “

Special is in this case, the reaction of the authors of the new VVR Code in postponing one year (in June 2019):

Not feasible
When the new Code VVR is entered, a transitional period was also agreed in which wheelchairs without a hook symbol can also be transported, provided that they can be tied down safely. That period actually ends on 1 July(2019 sic),but the Platform Code VVR came to the conclusion that this original deadline is not feasible. For example, there are wheelchair users who do not have a wheelchair in time which has passed a crash test. They could not be transported or should make unnecessary use of individual transport.”

Engage in conversation
Furthermore, there are “clients who do not facilitate individual transport. With these clients we want to start the conversation to make clear the need for safe transport for wheelchair users, fellow passengers and driver. This requires more time. That is why it has been decided to extend the transitional period by one year until 1 July 2020.”

In the meantime, the transitional period has been extended to 1 January 2021 .

Little about the wheelchair occupant as a customer and client of transport. An approach from the Anglo-Saxon Management Model. We determine what the requirements are and the customer ‘value’ is subordinate to this. He barely had a voice in it either.

Typical is also the following phrase from the introduction to new Code VVR:

“This means that a wheelchair user who can only be transported in the wheelchair is responsible for ensuring that this wheelchair can be safely tied down in transport. The wheelchair user and/or companion has the responsibility for choosing a wheelchair that fits the need.”

This, as the Code VVR SFM shows, has to be a wheelchair that has passed the crash test, otherwise you can no longer join other passengers with the wheelchair taxi!

Diametrically opposed to this is the position of the Deutsche Vereinigung für Rehabilitation :

“Haftungsrisiken bei der Beförderung in öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln dürfen weder auf die Nutzerinnen und Nutzer von Rollstuhlen oder Scootern noch auf die Kfz-Fahrerinnen und Fahrer verlagert werden, denn diese haben kaum Einfluss auf die technische Ausstattung der Rollstuhl- und Personensicherung in Verkehrsmitteln.”

‘Liability risks during transport on public transport may not be transferred to users of wheelchairs or scooters, nor to motor vehicle drivers, as they have little influence on the technical equipment of the wheelchair and personal safety in transport.’

Quené talks about the power of the ‘model manager’ who determines who can be a customer in his business model and who is not:

“Potential customers or people who want to use the service may feel excluded by the raised thresholds. For customers, citizens, clients with less training, empowerment or digital skills, it is virtually impossible to deal with this power of organisations.”

To give an example. Many small-scale day-care for EMB and zEVMB children and young adults already have serious problems to get the funding of transport to and from daycare regulated. If this is done individually, it is not financially feasible and these day-care centres can close.
For more information see this report from Wij zien je wel .
Parents and carers have a lot of balls to keep in the air to keep on going in our bureaucratic society. They are not waiting for another wheelchair bump created by the introduction of new transport rules. In a gradual introduction, with the regular replacement or provision of a new wheelchair, this would not be necessary.

The customer as an independent executive power, as an equivalent player, while they are bound with all their feet to supply authorities and companies. Throwing responsibilities over the hedge, and placing the risk on the other is typical of the Anglo-Saxon management model, which is rampant in both companies and the government. Fortunately, there are gradually cracks in that model.

In the Rhineland management model, there is the search for joint solutions. The manager in an organization, according to Rijnland’s model, has an eye for the interest of the customer, the survival of the company, the employees, the safety etc. , and not just for the best interests of shareholders. Until the 1990s, many Dutch companies were organised like this on the wheelchair market. Real custom solutions were possible, where safety was really not lost sight of.

At the end of the last century, a great deal was outsourced at government and the responsibility for the provision of a good wheelchair was placed with the supplier of aids. As a customer, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find someone at municipalities, for example, and to speak to them, with a good background knowledge of the products. On the other hand, there are enough officials with knowledge of tenders.
There are large-scale acquisitions and mergers at companies, to keep going in the tender rounds, with the Anglo-Saxon management model increasingly emerging. There is more standardisation to reduce costs as much as possible. All business units must yield profits. Every actor in the chain, from management to performer has his own budget responsibility. Highly trained professionals (wheelchair consultants who also make adaptations) have left because they were forced to operate in a financially Tailorian straitjacket. This has an effect on the service to the customer and therefore the lack of real customization.
Fortunately, there is a turnaround on the way.

Companies that still have tailor-made solutions in their program and often maintain a long-term relationship with both employees and customers still exist. As well as wheelchair consultants who go for a wheelchair-really-custom-made.
Large institutions are more likely to pay more attention to the specific interests of groups of residents. So there’s hope.

The fundamental choice will be between:

  • Divide and rule – divide the work into small parts and separate responsibilities, so that no one really takes responsibility for the endresult and there is a strong hierarchy of power –
  • To realize a good end product – everyone from his own professionalism, with an eye for the interests of others and in joint consultation –
    And also: working together on safety, signalling and analysing risks.


Wij zien je wel. Onderweg van overleven naar leven. Eindrapport en aanbevelingen werkgroep Wij zien je Wel. maart 2020,
DVfR. Stellungnahme “Uneingeschränkte Mobilität für Menschen im Rollstuhl und Scooter sicherstellen.” Sept. 2019,
Quené, Marjolein. Voorbij de management maatschappij. 1st ed., Lemniscaat, 2018,
SFM. Overgangstermijn Code VVR Verlengd Tot 1 Januari 2021. mei 2020,
Krabbendam, Vincent. Overgangsregeling Code VVR met een jaar verlengd. 16 May 2019,

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