National Contact Point, the Netherlands

OECD NCP

Overview

The Netherlands National Contact Point (“NCP”) was formalized by government decree in 2007, which was extended in 2011 and revised in 2014. The main tasks of the NCP are to raise awareness of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises ("the Guidelines") with business, trade unions, and non-governmental organizations, and to contribute to the resolution of issues that arise from alleged non-observance of the Guidelines in specific instances.

The NCP comprises of four independent members from various fields and four advisory members from different government ministries. The NCP’s core values are:

  •  Visibility: providing information to increase awareness of the Guidelines and increase their effective implementation;
  • Accessibility: the NCP can be contacted easily and is open to discussion with all parties and stakeholders;
  • Transparency:  about procedures and encouraging mediation. The NCP is not transparent about the content of a mediation, as confidentiality may contribute to the success of the procedure;
  • Accountability: the NCP actively promotes the OECD Guidelines and openly communicates about its activities to external stakeholders. 

The NCP secretariat is based at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Who can access it? 

Anyone who is a stakeholder (an individual, NGO, Trade Union, or company) to an alleged breach of the OECD Guidelines by a multinational enterprise can submit a notification of this alleged breach at the NCP as a specific instance.

How does it work?

A specific instance can be made regarding an alleged breach of the OECD Guidelines by a multinational. A specific instance should be submitted to the NCP in the country where the alleged breach of the OECD Guidelines has occurred. If there is no NCP located in that country, the specific instance can be submitted in the country of the headquarters of the multinational enterprise involved. The NCP recommends a notification to the Dutch NCP be submitted in the English or Dutch.

Prior to formally submitting a specific instance with the NCP, any involved party can contact the NCP for advice on how to proceed and what to prepare. It might also give the NCP an opportunity to bring the parties together to avoid a formal notification.

Parties can submit a specific instance by post, by email, or by using this form. It is important that the description of the complaint is as complete as possible. The following information should be included:

  • information about the notifier(s) (complainant);
  • information about the organization responsible for the alleged breach of the OECD Guidelines;
  • content of the specific instance: what is the alleged breach of the Guidelines, and what parts of the Guidelines does it relate to?;
  • if relevant, information on parallel procedures, such as court proceedings.

if a party submits a specific instance, the NCP will follow the following procedure:

1. Acknowledgement of receipt

The NCP will send an acknowledgement of receipt within seven working days after receipt by the NCP Secretariat. In this confirmation of receipt to the notifying party and the business involved, the NCP does not address the content of the specific instance itself.

2. Initial assessment

The initial assessment is conducted within three months after receipt of the specific instance, wherever possible. During this assessment, the NCP will determine whether further consideration by the NCP is warranted. The following aspects will be taken into account:

  • Whether the Dutch NCP is the appropriate entity to handle the complaint.
  • The identity of the party concerned and its interest in the case.
  • Whether the issue is material and substantiated.
  • Whether there seems to be a link between the multinational enterprise’s activities and the issue raised in the specific instance.
  • The relevance of applicable law and procedures, including court rulings.
  • How similar issues have been, or are being, tread in other domestic or international proceedings.
  • Whether consideration of this specific problem would contribute to the purpose and effectiveness of the Guidelines.

If the NCP can decide not to take the issue into further consideration. If the NCP decides to take the issue further, it will have separate, confidential meetings with both parties to hear both sides to an issue. After the meetings with both parties, the NCP can conclude not to take the issue into further consideration.

Following the initial assessment, the NCP will notify all parties in writing of its conclusion, and will motivate its decision whether or not to offer its good offices to resolve the at hand.

The parties are given two weeks to respond to a provisional version of the initial assessment, which will then be finalized and published on the Dutch NCP website. The original issue received and the response of the company will not be published as part of the initial assessment.

3. Take the issue under further consideration and/or facilitate dialogue between parties

Within six months of completing the initial assessment, the NCP will select two of its members to assign to the case. They will establish Terms of Reference with the parties to be used for the rest of the procedure. In certain cases and with the agreement of the parties involved, the NCP may choose to appoint a third party to assist with conciliation or mediation.

This step concludes when an agreement has been reached that is supported by all parties, or when the NCP has concluded that the issue is not likely to be resolved in a reasonable timeframe. In both cases the NCP prepares its final statement or report.

4. Draft Final NCP Statement

Within three months of the mediation, the NCP will issue a public statement on the results of the procedure. Confidential information made available to the NCP or mediator during the mediation will not be used for the final NCP statement.

If the parties have reached an agreement, the NCP will refer to this agreement in its final statement. Unless one of the parties object, the agreement will be appended to the final statement.

If the parties failed to reach an agreement, the NCP will qualify the proceedings in its final statement and make recommendations concerning the implementation of the Guidelines. Parties are given two weeks in which to respond to a provisional version of the final statement, which will then be finalized. The final version of the NCP statement is then published on the Dutch NCP website: www.oecdguidelines.nl.

Outcome 

A possible outcome from the procedure, if mediation is successful, could be actions agreed upon by all relevant parties to enable the compliance by the company with the Guidelines. If the mediation is not successful, a possible outcome would be the NCP’s unilateral statement with their views on the facts, the interpretation of the relevant Guidelines and the course of the procedure, as well as their recommended solutions. The NCPs final statement is nonbinding.

Monitoring and Enforcement

Following the completion of a procedure for a specific instance, the NCP requests all parties to provide the NCP with information on any progress regarding implementation of the agreements and/or recommendations. As standard practice, the NCP will publish a brief evaluation of the implementation of the agreements and/or recommendations on the website one year after the publication of the final statement.

References 

Website of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises – Netherlands National Contact Point (English Version)

Website of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises – Netherlands National Contact Point (Dutch Version)

Filing a specific instance (procedure)

Last edited: 
July, 2015

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