Specialists and experts consult within the OMT. Based on the latest scientific information and their own professional expertise, they offer advice on how to control the outbreak of an infectious disease.
The guiding principle is that all those participating are in the OMT in a personal capacity. This is because it is important for them to be able to discuss freely with each other, without feeling inhibited by their backers. The task of the OMT is to arrive at the best possible advice at that moment.
The OMT advisory report is sent to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) after review in the Administrative Coordination Consultation (BAO). The BAO assesses the OMT advisory report on administrative and political feasibility and formulates policy for infectious disease control measures.
Who is part of the OMT?
The director of the RIVM Centre for Infectious Disease Control chairs the OMT. The head of the RIVM National Coordination Centre for Communicable Disease Control (LCI) is secretary of the OMT. The OMT has a number of permanent members, who take part in the OMT because they work at an organisation or association that plays an important role in infectious disease control in the Netherlands. This includes representatives from the Dutch College of General Practitioners (NHG), the Dutch Society of Medical Microbiology (NVMM), and the National Consultation on Infectious Disease Control (LOI).
Other OMT participants are invited because of their specific knowledge or experience. In the context of COVID-19, the OMT also includes members from the Dutch Association for Intensive Care (NVIC), the Dutch Association of Elderly Care Physicians (Verenso) and the Dutch Paediatrics Society (NVK), as well as representatives from various RIVM centres.
An overview of the participants in the Outbreak Management Teams convened for COVID-19 is available (only in Dutch).
Disclosing interests of OMT members
The OMT members give independent advice. In order to be transparent and avoid conflicts of interest, each member completes a declaration of interests before taking part in an OMT. Based on the ‘Code of conduct to prevent undue influence as a result of conflicts of interest’, they provide information on employment positions, ancillary positions, personal financial interests, and research funding. After review and signature, the declaration is made public on the RIVM website.
A civil servant in the national government is bound by rules of conduct in which, by taking an oath or making a promise, he or she swears or promises to comply with these rules; civil servants are also required to adhere to the standards of integrity. This does not apply to people who are not civil servants. Therefore, anyone who is a member of the OMT and is not officially sworn in as a civil servant is required to sign a declaration of interests in order to be part of the OMT.
Note: A civil servant in the national government is bound by rules of conduct in which, by taking an oath or making a promise, he or she swears or promises to comply with these rules. Civil servants are also required to adhere to the standards of integrity.
Compensation for OMT members
Members of the OMT, with the exception of civil servants, receive attendance fees, on the basis of a decree by the Dutch Government. This amount has been set at €300.68 per meeting for OMT members.
OMT advisory reports
Since January 2020, the OMT chair has convened an OMT on multiple occasions to advise on the COVID-19 situation. For more details, see the OMT COVID-19 advisory reports (only in Dutch).