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THE 2015
Summaries are intended to facilitate the understanding
and use of the report produced by the Cour des
comptes. Solely the original report is legally binding on the
Cour des comptes. The responses of administrations and
other bodies concerned are included in the report.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Made public for the first time in 1832, the annual report of the Cour des
Comptes is an important means of communicating the work of the Court and of
the regional and territorial courts of accounts, and the lessons to be learned
from it.
The 2015 annual public report
contains two parts :
part I
, which comprises two volumes devoted firstly to public policies and
finances and secondly to public administration, outlines the o
bservations and
drawn from a selection of audits and surveys carried out in
2014 by the Court and the regional and territorial courts of accounts ;
part II
presents the organisation and the tasks of the financial jurisdictions as
well as the results of their actions and particularly the
subsequent actions
taken by the administrations, local authorities and other organisations audited
following the observations and recommendations made in previous years.
The annual report produced by the
Cour de Discipline Budgétaire et Financière
(French ‘Budget and Finance Disciplinary Court’) is attached as an appendix to
these two parts of the report.
The present instalment comprises the summaries of the 19 reports that make
up Part I, "Observations".
These 19 texts are grouped by topic :
- first part :
public finances
(1) ;
- second part :
public policies
(8) ;
- third part :
public management
SSummaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
First part – Public Finances
The overall situation of the public finances (at the end of January 2015)
Second part – Public Policies
Chapter I – Water and energy
The water agencies and water policy : coherence to be recovered
. . . .17
Towards an opened electricity market to competition : an unfinished
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Chapter II - Transport
Intercités trains : time to end the indecision
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Urban transport services : finding a new balance
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
Chapter III - Regional development and urban planning
The future of the ski resorts in the Pyrenees: a necessary turnaround and
inevitable choices
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
Public operators in local development in the Île-de-France: a future to be
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
Chapter IV - Higher education and sport
The student services network: essential modernisation
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Public policy against doping in sport: giving a new impetus
. . . . . . . . . . .46
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Third part – Public Management
Chapter I – Administrative organisation
Treasuries to the French embassies: an unjustified survival
. . . . . . . . . . . .53
The reform of the judicial map: a reorganisation to be continued
. . . . . .55
Chapter II – Management of projects
The National Payroll program : a costly failure
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
The MuCEM: a lengthy process and an uncertain future
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Chapter III – Modes of administration
Local authorities' public-private partnerships : managing the risks to be
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
The direct management of water and sanitation services: progress to be
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72
French management of European structural funds: improve, simplify and
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Chapter IV – Management of human resources
The additional remuneration of civil servants overseas: over-hauling a new
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
The regional public-service management centres of the Rhône-Alpes and
Puy-de-Dôme : tasks to be refocused in a broader regional context
. . . .84
The free assignment of shares in CDC Entreprises, a subsidiary of the
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations : the abuses of a public employee
shareholder arrangement
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
First part
Public Finances
The overall situation of the public finances
(at the end of January 2015)
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The overall situation of the public
(at the end of January 2015)
In 2014, a deficit that is not narro-
wing and projections revised late
The analysis of the Court is based on
the projected public administrations
account for 2014 and the 2015
Finance Act, which forecasts a deficit
of 4.4 % of GDP for 2014 (i.e. €94 bil-
The public deficit is set to increase by
0.3 points of GDP in 2014 compared
to 2013 (4.1% of GDP), whereas it had
reaching a maximum in 2009 (7.2 %
of GDP).
According to the projections of the
European Commission in November
2014, besides Croatia, France would
be the only country in the European
Union with a public deficit greater
than 3.0 % of GDP in 2013 and which
would increase in 2014. It would thus
Eurozone and European Union coun-
This increase in the public deficit in
2014 comes at a time when the amen-
ding Finance Act of 8 August 2014
forecast a reduction by 0.5 points of
GDP. The gap of 0.8 of a point bet-
ween the projection and reality
results mainly from the downward
revision of the projected growth of
GDP, for 0.3 of a point, and downward
revisions of projections for inflation
and the elasticity of compulsory
contributions, for 0.15 points each.
The public administrations account for 2014 will only be published by INSEE at the end of
March 2015.
2) The application of new national accounting standards and the inclusion of new information
have led INSEE to revise the 2013 public deficit from 4.3
The December 2012 Public Finance Programming
- 3.0
- 2.2
Initial Finance Act for 2014
- 4.1
- 3.6
April 2014 Stability Programme
- 4.3
- 3.8
August 2014 Amending Finance Act
- 4.3
- 3.8
December 2014 Amending Finance Act
- 4.1
- 4.4
Source : Cour des comptes
The successive forecasts for the public deficit for 2013-2014 (% of GDP)
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The overall situation of the public finances
(at the end of January 2015)
In 2015, a limited deficit reduction
objective that is not certain to be
For 2015, the Finance Bill initially fore-
cast a public deficit of 4.3% of GDP.
After discussions with the European
Commission, the Government made a
correction of €3.6 billion, decided
urgently and essentially relating to an
increase in tax revenue, to bring the
projected deficit to 4.1% of GDP (i.e.
€89 billion.
The public deficit would therefore
diminish by 0.3 points of GDP compa-
red to 2014, whereas the April 2014
Stability Programme forecast a drop
of 0.8 points. This gap of 0.5 of a point
mainly results from the effect on
public revenue of the downward revi-
sion of the growth projection, infla-
tion and the elasticity of compulsory
contributions, which is only partially
compensated by new tax measures
and a revision of the quantification of
Government chose to make almost no
modifications to its objective of the
growth of public expenditure by value
and to stick with the savings program
that it announced in April.
Although the objective of a deficit
reduction in 2015 is limited, its achie-
vement is uncertain as the revenue
projections are based on uncertain
assumptions and the objective of a
variation in expenditure by value may
prove difficult to reach.
Regarding revenue, although the drop
in the price of oil since September has
confirmed the growth forecast in
volume of GDP (1.0 %), it weakens the
inflation forecast (0.9 %) and, conse-
quently, the projected variation in
income from tax and social-security
Regarding expenditure, the credits of
certain budgetary task groups initia-
ted by the Finance Act could prove
insufficient. The drop in State expen-
diture within the scope of the norm by
is obtained by transferring
expenses to other public administra-
national health insurance expenditure
objective will be more difficult than in
previous years.
The savings announced (€21 billion)
correspond to a growth in public
expenditure that is below trend, mea-
ning at unchanged policies, the esti-
mation of which is inevitably hypothe-
tical. This amount has not been modi-
fied since the Stability Programme of
last April, even though the downward
revision of the inflation forecast
should have led to a €2 billion reduc-
tion in the estimate of savings resul-
3) This scope covers expenses of the general budget, excluding interest and contributions to
the financing of pensions, charges against revenue for the benefit of the European Union and
local authorities, and a share of the taxes assigned to state operators.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The overall situation of the public finances
(at the end of January 2015)
ting from the freezing of the point
value of the civil servant index and the
postponement of the revaluation of
The quantification of savings caused
by the drop in State financial aid to
local authorities and operators is
based on the optimistic assumption
that they immediately and fully pass
on this drop in the form of a reduction
of their own expenditure. Lastly, the
savings expected in the field of social
expenditure remain imprecise and
If these risks identified by the Court
materialise, leading to a public deficit
greater than 4.1% of GDP in 2015, it
will be even more difficult to return to
below the threshold of 3.0 % of GDP
in 2017. The public debt could
approach 100 % of GDP by this time
and the structural balance of the
public accounts would be pushed
back to beyond 2019.
The sustainable rebalancing of our
public finances is based on strengthe-
ning the growth potential of the
French economy, currently estimated
at just 1.0 % per year. To this end,
alongside other measures, a reduction
in the contributions paid by compa-
nies has been programmed to restore
their competitiveness. Nevertheless,
in order to be sustainable from a bud-
getary point of view, these reductions
control of public expenditure.
This change is possible, given the level
of public expenditure in France com-
pared to that in other countries. It
must be based on savings that are
clearly identified, shared by all public
administrations and sustainable. It
involves, beyond the uniform mea-
sures of expense reduction implemen-
ted by the Government, making expli-
cit choices to ensure a more efficient
organisation of public action, a redefi-
nition of the tasks of each of the
public administrations and greater
efficiency in economic and social
Second part
Public Policies
Chapter I
Water and energy
1 - The water agencies and water policy : coherence to be
2 - The opening of the electricity market to competition: an
unfinished job
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The water agencies and water
policy : coherence to be recovered
The water agencies are the main
financier of water policy in France:
during the 9th program, between
2007 and 2012, they thus granted
€14.9 billion in aid (€12.9 billion in
subsidies and €2 billion in advances)
in order to support projects intended
to protect water resources. To finance
the aid they grant, the agencies col-
lect taxes, called usage charges, from
water users (individuals, companies,
farmers, fishermen, etc.).
Governance to be improved
While the State bears the responsibi-
lity for water policy, the procedures
for allocating aid paid by the agencies,
and the rate of most of the usage
charges that they receive, are defined
by bodies (catchment area commit-
tee, board of directors) in which the
State is a minority stakeholder and in
which professional users (farmers and
industrialists) are over-represented.
This lack of representation sometimes
leads to the predominance of cate-
gory-related interests in the catch-
ment areas. Indeed, concerning the
usage charges, their rates, which are
not subject to national minimum
rates, are set at a level that is abnor-
mally low in certain catchment areas.
Regarding aid, decisions on allocation
lack transparency and the prevention
of conflicts of interest, whether
concerning members of boards of
directors or agency staff, is insuffi-
A "polluter pays" principle to be res-
Although the Environmental Code
specifies that the usage charges recei-
ved by water agencies should comply
with the principles of prevention and
reparation of harm caused to the
environment, 87 % of usage charges
received by the agencies are paid by
domestic and similar users, 7 % by
industry and 6 % by farmers. Since the
entry into force of the French Law on
Water and Aquatic Environments
(LEMA), the creation of the usage
charge for diffuse pollution has repre-
sented progress, admittedly limited,
while other usage charges have
moved away from the polluter pays
principle. The same is true of a num-
ber of usage charges paid by farmers
(particularly the usage charge paid by
livestock farmers and the usage
charge for abstraction of water) and
industrialists (usage charge for pollu-
tion of non-domestic origin), thus
weakening the incentive to pollute
Moreover, the agencies still under-use
the resources provided by the LEMA
charges; some retain practices that
are too favourable to those that pay
them. The rules for settlement and
collection are not always complied
with and there are still few controls in
certain agencies.
A return to selectively in the alloca-
tion of aid
The aid granted by agencies remains
insufficiently selective. The abun-
dance of tax resources has not provi-
ded agencies and the supervisory
ministry with an incentive to be more
selective by concentrating on priority
projects identified in the regional ope-
rational action plans (PAOT). Agencies
too often support regulatory stan-
dards compliance without taking into
account the financial capacities of the
contracting authorities and without
making aid subject to a timetable for
standards compliance. The advances
granted to industrialists are not
always associated with sufficient gua-
rantees to cover the risks of non-reim-
bursement. Regarding communica-
tion and international cooperation
aid, it is of limited benefit and uses
resources that should be devoted to
tasks of a higher priority.
Efficiency and evaluation to be deve-
The procedures for allocating aid are
sometimes debatable. The appraisal
of applications for aid is insufficiently
formalised and is too rarely based on
prior economic analyses and compa-
rative analyses of the costs of pro-
jects. The rules for allocating aid
approved by the boards of directors of
agencies are not always complied
Lastly, subsequent checks on the use
of aid and evaluation of its effects are
insufficiently developed. Agencies
have a modest monitoring activity,
which is rarely formalised in a genuine
inspection plan. Although certain
agencies have, since the end of the 9th
programme, begun a process of eva-
luating intervention arrangements,
this process remains embryonic in the
The water agencies and water policy :
coherence to be recovered
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The water agencies and water policy :
coherence to be recovered
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Source: IGN BDALTI®, IGN BDCARTO®, A.E.A.P., Water Agency Artois-Picardie france2.mxd -
cbecquet - 01/07/2011
The six water agencies in metropolitan France are national administrative public
institutions created in 1964 and placed under the supervision of the Ministry of
the Environment. The area of competence of each agency extends over one (Loire-
Bretagne, Artois-Picardie, Adour-Garonne, Seine-Normandie) or two (Rhin-Meuse
and Rhône-Méditerranée-Corse) catchment areas.
The six water agencies
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
These observations lead the Court to
issue the following recommenda-
tions :
establish a system to prevent
conflicts of interest for members of
the governance bodies of the agen-
cies and for their staff ;
make decisions on aid alloca-
tion public, together with the list of
its beneficiaries ;
set minimum rates for usage
charges and increase the taxation of
agricultural pollution ;
increase the selectivity of aid
operational action plans (PAOT) ;
provide the agencies with com-
mon tools and methods for analysing
applications for aid ;
increase and prioritise monito-
ring in matters of usage charges and
aid, and more systematically evaluate
intervention arrangements.
The water agencies and water policy :
coherence to be recovered
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Towards an opened electricity
market to competition : an unfi-
nished journey
Electricity market includes produc-
tion, transportation and distribution,
as well as supply of electricity. Former
monopoly by EDF has characterised
French organisation since 1946. It has
been challenged with the opening to
competition, driven since 1996 by the
European Union. The aim is to create a
common, internal market able to
contribute to security of supply, eco-
nomic competitiveness and sustaina-
ble development
Procrastination from Government to
open the electricity market
In France, opening to competition has
been a long process, still incomplete
characterised by legislative instability,
with 10 successive laws in 18 years.
These conditions have not eased
effective competition, nor given sta-
keholders and customers sufficient
Consequently, impact on individuals
and small companies, representing
86.3 % of the number of customers,
remains marginal. Mid-2014, only
6.7 % of their consumption was deli-
vered through market offers. On the
contrary, main industrial consumers,
representing only 41,000 sites but
41 % of national consumption, have
widely opted for market offers, which
cover 58.5 % of their consumption.
Benefits of opening still barely per-
ceptible to consumers
Consumers are poorly and badly infor-
med of the possibilities offered by
competition: only 53 % of French peo-
ple are aware that it is possible to
change of supplier. Limited perfor-
ombudsman and lack of public aware-
ness about its existence contribute to
this result.
Moreover, the electricity bill is not par-
ticularly sensitive to the opening to
competition: in spite of a sharp drop in
gross market price of electricity, the
average bill for final consumers has
increased by more than 3 % every
year since 2012, mainly due to the
increase in the tax contribution to the
public service charges for electricity
(CSPE) and due to a necessary catch-
up in regulated prices, reaching a level
closer to real costs of production.
Lastly, the proximity between the his-
torical supplier EDF and its distribu-
tion subsidiary ERDF maintains a
confusion that is harmful to an effi-
cient competition.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Developments nevertheless allow
progress to be expected :
- the way regulated prices are establi-
shed is currently undergoing reform in
order to reflect effective production
costs and strengthen the sectoral
regulator (the energy regulation com-
mission – CRE)
. This reform should
encourage unbiased competition with
alternative suppliers ;
- the roll-out of smartmeters (Linky
project run by ERDF) should allow
alternative suppliers to diversify their
offers, introducing new services allo-
wing for a more efficient competition.
Mixed benefits for the functioning of
the market
With the opening to competition, the
concerns ensuring supply to custo-
mers or ensuring a constant balance
in the electrical system, market
mechanisms can be used. These
mechanisms are efficient for ensuring
instantaneous balance between sup-
ply and demand.
On the wholesale markets, the use of
market mechanisms in France is dis-
rupted by two phenomena.
On the one hand the production
remains concentrated with EDF, still
representing 75 % of installed produc-
tion capacities in France and obliged
purchaser of renewable electricity
that benefit from a feed-in tariff. On
the other hand a transitory mecha-
nism for regulated access to historical
nuclear electricity (ARENH), has been
set up to facilitate the opening to
competition and to compensate for
the concentration of production. But
its implementation has made alterna-
tive suppliers dependent on the regu-
lated system.
Regulatory developments in the field
of renewable energies and opening
hydroelectric concessions to competi-
tion are two priority areas to improve
competition in the production sector.
The review of the ARENH system,
both concerning its practical proce-
dures for implementation and the
architecture of the mechanism that
will succeed, is also a major issue for
improving the overall efficiency of the
French electricity market.
Regulation that needs to be boosted
Regulation of the energy sector is dri-
Competition Authority and the CRE,
both under the control of the Council
of State, which acts as last resort
regulator, particularly through nume-
rous decisions regarding regulated
Towards an opened electricity market to
competition : an unfinished journey
4) Since the publication of the ordinance of 30 October 2014 on regulated prices for the sale of
electricity, the provision in the NOME Act, consisting of constructing the price by piling up
costs, has been effective. The implementation of provisions relative to the CRE will not occur
until 31 December 2015.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
owards an opened electricity market to
competition : an unfinished journey
The Competition Authority has not
yet flagged the energy sector as one
of its priorities, devoting only modest
resources to it. It has nevertheless
already taken a position on strategic
aspects of the opening to competition
prices). It regularly intervenes, at the
request of alternative suppliers, with
regard to accusations of abuse of
dominant position by EDF or local dis-
tribution companies.
Nevertheless, consultation of the
Competition Authority is not manda-
tory in the course of preparing bills
relating to the electricity sector. In
such cases, it would be better for the
Authority to self-refer, as it can do.
Likewise, improved collaboration bet-
ween the CRE and the Authority is
necessary, as the approaches of both
regulators are complementary: more
proactive for the Authority and more
technical and consensual for the CRE.
Since its creation in 2002, the compe-
tence of the CRE has regularly been
extended and it has acquired genuine
technical legitimacy, in spite of the
four modifications of the rules for the
composition of its collegial direction,
which should now be stabilised.
Through a large number of coopera-
tion and consultation bodies, the CRE
favours the search for consensus with
stakeholders, sometimes inducing
long and complex processes. Also it
hasn’t yet used its penalty powers
given y the legislator, in contrast to
most of its European counterparts,
even though it regularly finds shortco-
mings amongst regulated companies.
The Court observes that France is
going backwards in the opening of the
Community directives, for limited
results. The historical operator EDF
remains largely dominant and entire
sectors of production (nuclear and
hydroelectricity) aren’t opened or do
not operate in a way related to the
market (renewable energies). In a
European energy market that is desta-
bilised by excess capacity, the emer-
gence of renewable energies and
divergent national policies, alternative
suppliers are finding it difficult to find
their place.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Towards an opened electricity market to
competition : an unfinished journey
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
stabilise the legal framework
by effectively implementing latest
regulations from the 2010 law entit-
led new organisation of the electri-
city market (particularly the reform
of regulated prices) according to the
planned timetable, in order to give all
market stakeholders the necessary
visibility ;
improve the legitimacy of the
CRE by stabilising the composition of
its collegial direction, consolidating
its prerogatives for proposal, consul-
tation and decision, and encouraging
it to fully use its powers to impose
penalties ;
refocus and boost public infor-
mation to consumers on opening to
competition ;
improve the
regulated activities (distribution) and
activities opened to competition and
significantly increase the manage-
ment independence of ERDF in rela-
tion to the historical operator ;
complete the initiatives that
have already begun and which aim to
remove obstacles to opening the pro-
duction sector to competition by
renewing hydroelectric concessions
and changing the support schemes
to renewable energies ;
immediately begin discussion
on the future of the ARENH mecha-
nism ;
make sure that new arrange-
ments currently being rolled out do
not distort competition (capacity
markets and communicating smart-
meters) and, in the case of the Linky
project, allow all suppliers to develop
targeted commercial offers accor-
ding to consumption profiles.
Chapter II
1 - Intercités trains: time to end the indecision
2 - Urban transport services: finding anew balance
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Intercités trains: time to end the
Intercités trains, a residual and hete-
rogeneous category
(inter-city) trains, or
"regional equilibrium trains" (TET)
depending on their administrative
name, serve 35 passenger train lines,
mainly using Corail equipment. At the
end of 2010, the State became the
organising authority in application of
a three-year operation agreement
signed with SNCF.
Fitting in between the high-speed
trains (TGV) and the regional express
trains (TER), the Intercités trains
group together lines with very diffe-
rent economic profiles: medium and
long-distance connections between
trains, linear routes of the "home-
work" type servicing the greater Paris
basin, and transverse inter-regional
lines. Finally, they suffer from an ove-
rall low level of passenger use and
complex cross-linking with TER lines.
A lack of strategy
Over the last thirty years, these trains
have been in deficit overall, the result
of management without much ambi-
tion. The network of Intercités trains
has been constantly decreasing, as
passenger use has fallen steadily.
Until 2010, SNCF ensured balance
through internal cross-subsidisation,
until its lines were put under contrac-
tual agreements, which introduced
the principle of a subsidy. In accor-
dance with the SNCF strategy, the
policy of closing loss-making lines was
sometimes tempered by the occasio-
nally strong reactions of the elected
representatives concerned.
In spite of some efforts at commercial
stimulation, these trains suffer from
an outmoded image and a mediocre
quality of service, mainly due to the
age of their rolling stock.
An agreement that has settled
A 2010 agreement between the State
and SNCF was intended to make the
Intercités trains viable through the
payment of a balancing subsidy.
However, this came to an end at the
end of 2014 without having really
achieved the objectives set. Although
it allowed the State to come to an
understanding of a particularly com-
plex case, it did not lead to any signifi-
cant progress or the definition of a
strategy for these trains. In 2013, the
ageing of the rolling stock required
urgent decisions concerning its rene-
wal, although this subject was expli-
citly excluded from the initial agree-
Intercités trains: time to end the indecision
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The financing of the operating deficit
of these trains has not been resolved.
Excluding a small road contribution,
via a fraction of the regional develop-
ment tax paid by the motorway com-
panies, the subsidy provided by the
agreement is composed of income
from two taxes paid by SNCF alone.
Ultimately, this amounts to SNCF
paying itself the contribution for
public service charges. SNCF is there-
fore bearing the cost of an increasing
deficit, while its income high-speed
traffic is declining.
This situation weakens the position of
the State, which has no real financial
leverage with regard to the company,
even though, as the organising autho-
rity, it pays the not insignificant cost of
the usage charges for access to the
network of
It is even more worrying that the rene-
wal of the rolling stock was not able to
begin until 2013, under pressure of
urgency, and many uncertainties
Ageing rolling stock: a huge invest-
There have been many years of under-
investment in rolling stock for the
trains. The 2010 operating
agreement excluded any acquisition
of new equipment.
Moreover, this rolling stock is of diffe-
rent types and old: an average of
nearly 35 years old. Some diesel loco-
motives are more than 40 years old
and must be replaced by 2016.
As of 2018, all of the carriages assi-
gned to night trains will have to be
renovated and the Corail carriages will
reach the end of their lives in 2022.
In spite of the measures announced
by the State in 2013, the shortage of
public funding raises major questions
on the resources that can be devoted
to renewing equipment for Intercités
Ending the indecision to preserve the
Intercités network
Against a backdrop made difficult by
the low financial margin for manoeu-
vre, making the Intercités network via-
ble assumes :
• reducing the operating deficit: this
involves productivity measures by
SNCF and the reduction of certain
services, particularly those with low
passenger traffic and which are conti-
nuously loss-making ;
• a redefinition of the economic
scope: this means offering the pros-
pect of increased profitability by refo-
medium- and long-distance connec-
tions, associated with new quality of
service ;
• clarification on financing: two
options may be envisaged: the main-
tenance of the contractual agreement
covering these lines, which assumes
generating new resources: or abando-
ning the
which would give SNCF back the free-
dom to manage the Intercités net-
Intercités trains: time to end the indecision
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The Court issues the following
in order to prevent the decline
of the Intercités trains and define the
conditions for their viability, include
them in a national plan for passenger
transport services, specifying the
connections with other forms of rail
transport and granting them stable
and sustainable funding.
Source : Ministry of Ecology, sustainable development and energy
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Urban transport services :
finding a new balance
The 287 urban passenger transport
networks (excluding the Île-de-France
region) are a major policy issue in
terms or employment ( more than a
million people), spending (€9 billion in
2012, including €2.5 billion in invest-
ment), customers (27 million) , jour-
neys (800 million km travelled per
year), and passengers (+ 25 % bet-
ween 2000 to 2010).
This activity is now under severe
financial restrictions, that require the
definition of a new service equili-
Severe financial restrictions
The report highlights the financial
constraints facing the public service,
the operating costs of which are gro-
wing rapidly due to the extension of
urban transport to the suburban
areas, the lack of competition in this
sector and the cost of personnel. In
addition, the income derived from the
transport tax and the contribution of
the organising authorities stand little
chance of increasing and State fun-
ding for the Grenelle Environment
Forum investmentsis not secured.
Reaching a new equilibrium
Re-establishing sustainable financial
equilibrium in urban transport net-
works requires streamlining mea-
sures, enhanced productivity and gro-
wing sales income.
Streamlining transport services
In the city centres, this involves simpli-
fying lines and densifying networks,
while avoiding duplicating lines and
adjusting timetables to passenger
traffic. In the suburban areas, this can
go as far as replacing low-traffic lines
by less expensive alternatives: on-
demand transport, park-and-ride ser-
vices, cycle paths, self-service cars or
bikes, car sharing, etc. Increased
cooperation among authorities in
charge of urban transport, and the
use of new tools, such as electronic
ticketing, have played a key role in fos-
tering these initiatives.
Besides, the choice of a means of
transport mode must be related to
the demand side, otherwise facing the
risk of significant excess costs and low
profitability. This awareness explains
the popularity of buses with high
levels of service (50 % of investments
programmed as part of a second call
for projects carried out under the
Grenelle Environment Forum), versus
trams and especially the Metro.
Fillint the productivity gaps
control will come from controlling the
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Urban transport services : finding a new
payroll, which amounts to 54 % of
operating costs. However, expressed
in kilometres per staff member, the
productivity of personnel dropped by
2.5 %
Working time should therefore be bet-
ter organised depending on the acti-
vity, absenteeism should be reduced
and salary increases above inflation
should be linked to productivity gains.
Likewise, standardising equipment
(rolling stock or on-board) will contri-
bute to cost control, through both
purchased quantity and maintenance
Ultimately, the productivity of the net-
works depends on optimising produc-
tion factors measured by the opera-
ting speed. For the same number of
travellers, faster operating speed
results in fewer vehicles, lower driving
hours and reduced fuel consumption,
allowing operating costs to be spread
more efficiently.
Increasing income from sales
Both frequency and pricing need to be
adapted to increase income from
For users, the attractiveness of public
transport depends mainly on punc-
tuality and frequency. Yet these two
parameters are dependent upon the
fluidity of traffic and consequently an
allocation of roads more in favour of
public transport, thanks to the use of
reserved lanes. This assumes the
implementation of a parking policy
that would discourage the use of cars
in town centres.
At the same time, as variations in pas-
senger traffic are more sensitive to
service quality than to price, the prices
for "all clients" should be at least
indexed on inflation. Likewise, while
today more than half of journeys are
made with tickets subject to commer-
cial or social reductions, and 13 % are
free of charge, the reductions granted
could be correlated to levels of
income rather than to the individual
status (elderly people, unemployed,
Lastly, the fight against fraud should
be intensified to reduce income loss,
the average rate of which has been
assessed at 5 % to 20 % of sales
The sustainable re-establishment of a
balanced urban passenger transport
service is subject to the quick imple-
mentation of measures moving in
three directions :
- incentives to use public transport,
which involves both a quantitative
and qualitative improvement of sup-
ply and actions aiming to rebalance
the benefi/disadvantage ratio bet-
ween cars, public transport and "alter-
native" modes ;
- the control of expenditure for opera-
tion and investment, with improve-
ment of personnel productivity, sha-
ring the costs of acquiring and main-
taining equipment and optimising the
allocation of production factors ;
- an increase in the users’ financing of
the service, which should mainly
result from improved the attractive-
ness of public transport through more
effect), price increases (price effect)
and enhanced fight against fraud.
The Cour des Comptes recommends
that the organising authorities and
urban transport operators :
acquire tools for analysing the
performance of their networks to
improve business efficiency (urban
transport organisation authority –
scale up investments to the
needs of the areas served (AOTU) ;
open discussions with staff
representatives to better adjust wor-
king time to activity and make pro-
ductivity gains (operators) ;
share investment and mainte-
nance costs while favouring innova-
tion and technical progress, particu-
larly with regard to electronic ticke-
ting (AOTU and operators) ;
transfer to the AOTU's authori-
sing officer (AOTU) all powers regar-
ding to parking and related enforce-
ment powers ;
implement pricing policy to
financing of the public transport ser-
(AOTU) ;
more systematically include
clauses in contracts signed between
the AOTU and the operators, setting
targets to the number of control
conducted and to the rate of fraud
reduction (AOTU and operators).
Urban transport services : finding a new
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Chapter III
Regional development and urban planning
1 - The future of the ski resorts in the Pyrenees :
a necessary turnaround and inevitable choices
2 - Public operators in local development in the
Île-de-France: a future to be consolidated
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The future of the ski resorts in
the Pyrenees : a necessary tur-
naround and inevitable choices
The Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-
Pyrénées regional courts of accounts
have inspected some twenty entities
managing ski resorts in the Pyrenees.
A mature market in a restricted envi-
Skiing in the Pyrenees is a sector
experiencing an underlying crisis. It is
characterised in particular by a high
number of resorts of modest size and
an essentially local clientele. It is a
mature market: attendance at resorts
(in number of skier-days) is falling and
prospects for growth are low.
The ski resorts have already recently
been confronted with a number of dif-
ficult seasons. Climate changes, mar-
ked by increasingly unpredictable
snow, temperature rises and wind phe-
Environmental issues now make town-
planning projects and extension of
the skiable area more complicated.
Economic and financial balance to be
Although they are contrasting, and
independently of the modes of mana-
gement used, the budgetary and
financial situations of the organisa-
tions managing the Pyrenees ski
resorts are under pressure overall and
require the contribution of local
authorities and the regular interven-
tion of financial jurisdictions. The
management difficulties encountered
(operating losses, poor or non-exis-
tent self-financing ability, high levels
of debt), to which accounting shortco-
mings are added, are of a structural
When the managing organisations
cannot bring balance to the operation,
the local authorities to which they
belong may have to either pay a direct
subsidy or not invoice for all of the ser-
vices they provide to the resort. This
funding is not without consequences
for the level of local taxation. In spite
of this support from local authorities,
resorts regularly find it impossible to
finance basic investments, which in
the medium term risks harming their
competitiveness in a highly competi-
tive market.
Given the more global nature of the
issues involved, the question of the
economic balance of ski resorts is not
solely related to the financial equili-
brium of the organisation operating
the ski resort.
The future of the ski resorts in the Pyrenees : a
necessary turnaround and inevitable choices
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The Cour des Comptes issues the fol-
lowing recommendations :
To the State :
ask the prefects to take into
account the "basis for future deve-
lopment" character of winter sports
resorts in inter-municipality coopera-
tion plans.
To the regions and departments :
contribute to preparing a regio-
nal project with all stakeholders ;
choose the investment pro-
jects according to the regional
project and customer requirements.
To the managing local authorities :
ensure that the operation is in
balance or, failing this, consider stop-
ping the activity in the case of struc-
tural difficulties that are too great ;
develop pooling between the
different operators, particularly in
the area of procurement and com-
mercial policy.
Essential strategic choices
The business generated by ski resorts
has economic benefits (tax revenue,
services, etc.) and creates jobs in
mountainous zones, which can justify
public intervention. However, this can-
not be done without conditions in a
context of controlled public spending.
This argues in favour of a recovery
involving choices, includingconside-
ring the closure of a resort when
Several difficulties to be taken into
consideration have been identified:
low altitude, lack of ability to forecast
opening, insufficient dimensions or
average ski pass prices that are too
The conditions for recovery include
appropriate dimensioning of invest-
ments and the professionalisation of
management. Sharing resources bet-
ween resorts and defining a common
commercial policy would probably
also contribute to helping resorts be
competitive. Lastly, the definition of a
regional project based on clarified
sharing of competencies and funding
appears necessary.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Public operators in local deve-
lopment in the Île-de-France :
a future to be consolidated
Implementing a local housing policy,
building collective facilities, hosting
and supporting the expansion of eco-
nomic activities and fighting against
substandard housing: urban develop-
ment operations contribute to the
development of the Île-de-France
region. Municipalities and their public
institutions for inter-municipal coope-
ration (EPCI) play a major role, but
urban planning and construction
policy also rely on specialised organi-
In the region, urban development is
the main activity of 64 local public
enterprises (semi-public companies,
local public development companies
and local public companies). They
constitute a particularly dense net-
work of operators. There are 39 deve-
lopment enterprises within the scope
of the future Greater Paris metropolis,
representing one for every three
Increasing the critical size of opera-
Availability of a large number of ope-
rators on the one hand and financing
through sales of developed land on
the other hand: the regional interven-
tion model has long been based on
these two principles, which are now
called into question. In the inner
suburbs especially, development ope-
rations now aim, above all, to increase
They require ever more advanced
urban engineering and the disposal
cost of land for urban renewal opera-
tions is much higher than for exten-
sive development operations. Only
significant public funding can bring
them into balance
In Île-de-France as a whole, the gro-
wing size of operations and the exten-
sion of duration increase risks, notably
the financial ones. The merger of local
public operators in the region now is a
requirement in order to increase their
expertise. Such a process would also
contribute to
consolidating their
equity capital at a time when local
public finances face challenges to
balance their accounts.
Improving the assumption of finan-
cial risks
At the operational level, the worse-
ning of the economic environment
has resulted in a reduction in the crea-
tion of joint development zones
(ZAC). Subject to drastic financial res-
trictions, local authorities tend to
contracted, with their guarantees, by
development operators. They must
Public operators in local development in the
Île-de-France : a future to be consolidated
ummaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
sometimes even delay the disburse-
ment of their financial contributions
to operations.
Under such circumstances, most local
public development enterprises diver-
sified their activities in order to adapt.
They have undertaken construction or
property management operations,
taking the risk of being less competi-
tive than the existing companies. In
addition, they have been looking for
solutions to reduce the cost of car-
rying land – the use of public land-
management institutions (EPF) to
constitute land reserves, pre-marke-
ting land charges, sharing income –
but these solutions cannot be consi-
dered for operations of very uncertain
or very low profitability.
Improving the prevention of legal
The stagnation of urban development
in the Île-de-France and its corollary in
terms of the construction of new hou-
sing units also results from the insta-
bility of the legal framework. Planning
regulations, both local and national,
are constantly changing while those
of European Union have, over the last
few years, imposed an onerous proce-
dure for advertising and open compe-
tition when awarding development
To avoid this, some local authorities
have been using the concept of local
public companies since 2010. In this
type of company, however, develop-
ment professionals (such as the
Caisse des dépôts et consignations)
are no longer present and solely the
local-authority shareholders bear the
financial risks.
Building on the process initiated by
the creation of the Greater Paris
On January 1, 2016, the institutional
framework under which the public
development operators operate in the
Île-de-France will experience a major
reshuffling. However, the creation of
the Greater Paris metropolis must not
Prefiguration Mission must ensure
that the actual slowdown in develop-
ment projects does not deteriorate
further during the transition phase.
To break the deadlock, it is important
that risks and restrictions of all kinds
are shared, limited and anticipated. In
order to better spread their assump-
tion and accentuate the merger of
operators, the Court therefore puts
forward several recommendations. .
First they aim at overcoming the deve-
lopment crisis in the Île-de-France
region by solving the cost of land issue
and alleviating the excessive uncer-
tainties to which local public enter-
prises are exposed.
Public operators in local development in the
Île-de-France : a future to be consolidated
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
To share the assumption of risk and
allow operators to reach a critical size
so as to be able to deal with investors
at a regional scale, to smooth their
level of activity and consolidate the
professionalism of their teams :
concentration of local public enter-
prises in the inner and outer suburbs
in order for them to reach a critical
size ;
increase the process of sharing
procedures among local public enter-
To better assess and limit risks and, in
particular, remediate the cost of land
issue :
give the regional land monito-
ring centre the task of monitoring
land prices in the Île-de-France ;
generalise the practices of pre-
marketing, income sharing and the
creation of land-carrying subsidia-
To better anticipate the financial and
legal risks in local public enterprises :
improve the knowledge of ope-
rations and risk analysis: creation of
approval committees responsible for
monitoring changes to the portfolio
of operations; presentation of an in-
depth risk analysis to the board of
directors before any decision on ope-
rations financed for own account;
accounts for local public enterprises
allowing the accounts to be read per
activity (development, assistance to
contracting authority, etc.).
Chapter IV
Higher education and sport
1 - The student services network : essential
2 - Public policy against doping in sport: giving a new impetus
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The student services network :
essential modernisation
Government action in favour of stu-
dent life is mainly driven by the natio-
(CNOUS) and the 28 regional centres
for student services (CROUS), natio-
nal public institutions placed under
the supervision of the Ministry of
Higher Education. The difficulties
encountered by the network, in spite
of the increasing financial commit-
ment of the State, have led the Court
to carry out an enquiry with the
CNOUS and all of the CROUS.
Historical State operators in matters
of student life
The CROUS grew out of the student
mutual-aid movements which develo-
ped following the First World War.
They intervene in the assignment of
scholarships, manage restaurants and
university residences and carry out
actions in the field of social aid and
€1.33 billion
€478.30 million subsidy from the
State, they also have substantial own
resources and employ 11,936 mem-
bers of staff.
The structure of the network is not
devoid of ambiguities: the CROUS
come under the Ministry of Higher
Education, but they are managed by
CNOUS, which plays the role of net-
work head in dealing with indepen-
dent institutions not under its supervi-
sion. Other players have also entered
the field of student life, starting with
the universities and local authorities.
The numerous organisations and
arrangements do not allow an overall
strategy for student life to be establi-
Scholarships based on social crite-
ria : checks on regular attendance to
be improved
The obligation of regular attendance,
which is the counterpart of scholar-
ships, is written into the decree of
16 April 1951 on the payment of scho-
larships for higher education. The
CROUS are identified by students as
their reference contacts, but they are
just one of numerous players in this
procedure, which mainly involves
higher education institutions. The
definition of "regular attendance" is
variable, with particularly uneven in
universities. Numerous universities
only check attendance at examina-
tions and the very definition of "atten-
dance at examinations" fluctuates.
This situation introduces unequal
treatment for those who have recei-
ved scholarships. Several avenues for
reform are now possible : make sure
that all universities check attenda nce
at classes, tutorials and practical
work, or reform the definition of
"regular attendance check" by limi-
The student services network : essential
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
ting it to attendance at examinations
or replacing it by a minimum check on
An insufficient and poorly distribu-
ted supply of student accommoda-
contains 162,547 places. Since the
1960s, there has been a gradual mis-
match between the supply of housing
offered by the CROUS and the change
in the student population, which has
grown eightfold
. To remedy the
shortage of housing units and the
dilapidated state of certain resi-
dences, a government plan presented
in 2004 set two objectives for the
CROUS: build 5,000 new housing
units per year and renovate 7,000
places per year over ten years. In
2012, a new government plan set an
objective of creating 8,000 places per
year, representing 40,000 student
housing units over five years, for all of
the approved operators.
The development of the estate has
not followed the rate announced.
Between 2004 and 2013, 26,400
places were created, representing an
annual average of 2,640 places, even
though construction and renovation
of housing units has accelerated since
There are also very great regional ine-
qualities between the local education
authorities where the supply of hou-
sing is sufficient, and those suffering
great shortages such as Paris, Créteil,
Lyon and Lille. Successive investment
plans have not corrected these ine-
qualities: in 2013, the Paris CROUS
had a supply of housing close to that
of the Rouen CROUS, which receives
one sixth as many students.
Lastly, the CROUS are finding it diffi-
cult to balance the management of
their residences. The university year
has been shortened and the CROUS
are coping with a drop in occupation
rates on certain sites. Over the last
few years, work placement and study
abroad courses have been developing,
and students are increasingly mobile
during the year. In addition, each ins-
pection by the Court has identified
several residences that are deeply in
deficit, particularly in average-sized
University catering: an increasing
University catering is the main cause
of the financial difficulties encounte-
red by the CROUS as student atten-
dance has been regularly dropping:
the number of student meal-equiva-
lents went from 52.9 million in 2008-
2009 to 45.9 million in 2013-2014.
This is primarily due to a growing pre-
ference for fast food, as well as the
modification of university course
hours. With the establishment of the
"degree – master's degree – doctorate"
system and studies taking place over
5) In 1960, France had 310,000 students. In 2013, it had 2.4 million, 12 % of whom were inter-
national students.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
half-yearly periods, the CROUS make
70 % of their turnover between
employing full-time staff.
To stimulate attendance, the CROUS
are seeking to diversify their services
and find new customers by develo-
ping cafeterias, automatic distribution
and catering activities, which bring
them into the field of private competi-
tion. In spite of the efforts made to
win back student customers, certain
traditional restaurants remain oversi-
zed and not all can be reconfigured.
Faced with an increasingly cyclical
employment of manual workers is too
inflexible, which is leading the CROUS
to develop insecure jobs. The number
of staff on temporary contracts
Equivalent in 2008 to 1,482 FTE in
A necessary reorganisation
The unequal access to CROUS accom-
modation for the most underprivile-
ged students has worsened and the
framework for university catering
appears obsolete. The requirements
of students and the university envi-
ronment have changed, while the
organisation and modes of manage-
ment of the network have remained
unchanged. Over the long term, only
better involvement of the higher edu-
cation institutions and their associa-
tions can lead to the preparation of an
overall design for services provided to
students in the same region. The defi-
cit in catering and the unstable
balance of accommodation neverthe-
less require structural reforms in the
short term.
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
implementation of the regular atten-
dance check for scholarship stu-
dents ;
cconcentrate the construction
of new university residences in areas
where they are lacking ;
review contractual relations-
hips with social landlords to ensure
that the estate is maintained ;
close the accommodation and
catering facilities where attendance
is too low ;
make the framework for mana-
ging manual workers more flexible ;
merge the CROUS in the Île-
The student services network : essential
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Public policy against doping in
sport : giving a new impetus
France has been historically very
active in fighting doping in sport.
Since 1965, six successive laws have
created a body of rules in the sporting
control, penalties and repression of
drug trafficking, and coordinate the
respective roles of the State (Ministry
of Sport, Ministry of the Interior and
Ministry of Finance), the French Anti-
doping Agency (AFLD) – an indepen-
dent public authority –, and the sports
organisations ing movement (French
national Olympic and sporting com-
mittee – CNOSF, and sporting federa-
tions). This public policy is carried out
within an international framework
(the International Drug Code and the
Doping in Sport) which is becoming
increasingly demanding. With a cost
of more than €14 million for the State,
including the €6 million devoted to
statutory medical supervision, the
anti-doping policy in the strict sense
includes control actions (€7 million)
(€1.27 million).
Adjusting the control policy
The fight against doping is primarily
aimed at elite sport, and specially two
targets: firstly 20,700 elite athletes
(or former athletes); and secondly, a
group known as the "target group",
constituted each year by the Agency
from several hundred athletes chosen
from within the first group.
France, it is also aimed at 17 million
members of sports clubs, and more
The Agency must endeavour to adapt
its control strategy to each of these
three targets for efficiency and cost
reasons. As such, the recent of "biolo-
gical profile" control of athletes in the
target group and of information col-
lection should contribute to a better
control rather than more control.
Involving the network of inter-regio-
nal anti-doping advisers, and faster
streamlining the network of samplers,
would also consolidate the control
policy of the AFLD.
Developing commercial policy
Unlike other agencies, the AFLD has
its own analysis laboratory, located at
Châtenay-Malabry, which enjoys an
appropriate level of operational inde-
pendence. It has adequate trained
staff to cope with activity, particularly
blood tests.
The Agency should develop its ser-
vices offering for international federa-
tions, which request few analyses
from its laboratory, in order to
increase its resources which are cur-
Public policy against doping in sport :
giving a new impetus
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
rently limited to €1 million. To this
end, the Agency must strive to better
define the pricing of its services and
help both departments, control and
analysis, to better anticipate their res-
pective workloads.
Dynamising the research
Since 2009, the Ministry focus was on
sport-health research and the
Agency took the lead in research on
the fight against doping, supporting
research projects selected by its scien-
tific steering committee fon the basis
of calls for projects
conducts research activities notably
for its accreditation by the World Anti-
Doping Agency, presents modest
scientific results compared to some
European laboratories; it must make
progress in its research, particularly
by strengthening its internal exper-
tise, defining a long-term programme
and setting up partnerships with the
most qualified public research teams.
Re-launching a currently neglected
prevention policy
The policy on the prevention of
doping is the responsibility of the
Ministry of Sport with the support of
the sporting movement. Yet a recent
survey carried out in sports shows
that there is a real degree of tolerance
or acceptance of doping among the
majority of them. The Ministry of
Sport should therefore adjust the
Furthermore, the very low activity
registered by the two main tools for
prevention put in place following the
cases of doping in the 1998 Tour de
France, the freephone number and
the medical units (AMPD), raises the
question as to whether they should be
For its part, the sporting world should
be more involved and committed as a
partner: although French federations
are in contact with athletes, they are
very unequally involved and some
even consider that they are not
concerned. The anti-doping compo-
nent of the agreements on objectives
which bind the federations and the
State should be tsubject to an annual
review in order to, eventually, revised
the resources granted by the State to
the federations (overall €87.5 million
of subsidies and 1,680 technical
sports advisers in 2013).
The Ministry of Sport is also invited to
implement, in liaison with the Ministry
of Health and the Ministry of National
Education, an overall approach to
sport for all which encompasses the
drug issue.
Intensifying the fight against drug
Within an international framework,
the fight against trafficking in doping
products is the responsibility of the
Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of
the Interior. Measuring effectiveness
is a complex task as doping products
are mainly detected in the broader
fight against the illicit sale of medi-
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
Concerning the French Anti-doping
Agency :
control strategies, based on more
accurate criteria according to the
audience ;
increase the research actions
research organisations or universi-
ties ;
develop the Agency's own
resources, particularly through more
sustained commercial action by the
laboratory, supported by improved
analysis of costs and prices.
Concerning the ministries :
improve inter-ministerial coor-
dination in matters of doping preven-
tion by identifying joint objectives
among the ministries concerned ;
include preventive actions in
agreements on objectives with the
federations, evaluate them and apply
penalties in case of shortcomings if
required ;
effectively organise the new
regional commissions for fighting
trafficking in doping methods or
substances in to improve the infor-
mation relayed to the Agency.
Despite partnerships between the
AFLD and the administrations of
these two ministries, cooperation is
not particularly active. As such, the
proper functioning of the regional
commissions for the fight against traf-
ficking in doping methods or subs-
tances is essential to collecting and
exploiting information.
Public policy against doping in sport :
giving a new impetus
Third part
Public Management
Chapter I
Administrative organisation
1 - Treasuries to the French embassies : an unjustified
2 - The reform of the judicial map : a reorganisation
to be continued
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Treasuries to the French
embassies : an unjustified sur-
The Ministry of Finance and Public
Accounts has a network of 16 treasu-
ries abroad, primarily located in Africa,
several European capitals, the United
States and China. Alongside this net-
work, most of the State's expenditure
abroad is covered by 193 cash books,
placed directly with the embassies
Unsupported justifications for main-
taining treasuries with the French
The Ministry justifies this duality by
the handling of specific transactions
such as the payment of operating
expenses for permanent military
bases in Africa or payments for arma-
ments contracts with the United
States, amounting to a total of
€275 million
expenses of the same nature take
other circuits which operate from
The second justification relates to the
administration and payment of pen-
sions for those under pension regimes
for French citizens residing abroad
(€125 million in 2013). But although
eight treasuries in Africa are responsi-
ble for managing and paying pensions
for foreign veterans who have served
in the French army ("revalued" pen-
sions), in eleven other countries, this
task is performed by the diplomatic
cash books or foreign administrations.
The existence of alternative payment
circuits, either on-site via the diploma-
tic cash books or from France via the
general overseas treasury, removes
the justification for maintaining a par-
ticularly costly specific accounting
A network with particularly high ope-
rating costs
The cost of operation of this network
amounts to €23 million for 16 esta-
blishments, representing an average
cost per establishment 2.2 times grea-
ter than the already high cost of the
economic services of the Directorate
General of the Treasury. This excess
cost mainly results from the very high
proportion of expatriate staff (80 % of
a total workforce of 208). 78 % of
these carry out actual expenditure
tasks or intermediate supervision,
whereas these functions are mainly
ensured by officials under local law in
other State services abroad.
Furthermore, the management of this
network demonstrates an inappro-
priate human resources policy based
on the selection of staff solely by
seniority, notably providing officials of
the Directorate General of Public
Finance with career outlets abroad.
The Court issues the following
recommendation :
close all of the treasuries to the
French embassies in the near future.
Treasuries to the French embassies : an unjus-
tified survival
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The reform of the judicial map:
a reorganisation to be conti-
The reform of the judicial map has
been proposed on numerous occa-
sions, but was always postponed.
Undertaken in 2007, it enabled the eli-
mination of nearly one court in four
(863 on 1 January 2011, compared to
1,190 in 2007): it is the most impor-
tant administrative reform since 1958.
The criteria used by the "judicial map
project", placed under the responsibi-
lity of the Secretary General of the
Ministry of Justice, were essentially
based on levels of activity : 1,550 civil
cases (excluding emergency appeals
to a judge) and/or 2,500 criminal
cases that may be tried in a district
court ; 615 civil cases for a sub-district
court. The reform was prepared to a
very short deadline, giving the impres-
sion of a lack of consultation and
giving rise to numerous debates, with
the notable exception of the commer-
cial courts and employment tribunals,
which were reorganised consensually.
However, it is no longer called into
question today.
The personnel of the Ministry of
Justice have also benefited from a
significant support plan of nearly
€15 million, equitably divided.
Controlled budgetary expenditure
The cost of implementing the reform
of the judicial map remained within
the limits set : initially evaluated at
€457 million, it amounts to €413 mil-
lion, including €329 million for the
property component, €27 million for
operating expenses related to the
reorganisation, €15 million for social
support expenses and €5 million for
lawyers practising at bars which were
eliminated. The property component
was also financed at a constant bud-
get level using ordinary credits from
the Ministry.
The implementation of the reform led
to 452 property transactions dili-
gently implemented by the Ministry of
Justice, enabling 65 of them to begin
as of 2008 and leading to a quicker
than usual improvement in the quality
of the property estate, and without
much waste. Although this was not
the aim of the reform, the rationalisa-
tion of floor space has also led to ope-
rating savings of €9 million at an
annual rate.
Likewise, although the reform of the
judicial map was not primarily inten-
ded to reduce staffing levels in the
judicial services, savings have never-
theless been made in administration,
which have enabled a more consistent
The reform of the judicial map : a reorgani-
sation to be continued
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
distribution of magistrates and chief
clerks, particularly in the district
courts, and reduced the isolation of
certain magistrates in small courts.
The gradual improvement of the
functioning of the courts
The grouped district courts have grea-
ter productivity than the others. But
the reform has not curtailed the gene-
ral deterioration of deadlines obser-
ved in all of the district courts, which
results in particular from the increase
in activity produced by the reform in
legal guardianship of adults and dis-
putes concerning excessive indebted-
The reform has strengthened the col-
of the
remains to be made in the commercial
courts and employment tribunals to
increase the rate of the individual acti-
vity of judges.
The reform has been criticised for
creating "judicial deserts", leading to
the exclusion of the most vulnerable
groups. This assertion is unsupported:
the areas with the least facilities also
correspond to the least populated
areas, the drops in activity recorded
are greater in jurisdictions which have
not been affected by the reform, and
legal aid in favour of individuals on
low incomes subject to trial has conti-
nued to grow at a sustained rate.
However, the concepts designed to
replace the eliminated courts ("new
generation" law centres and single-
point of contact court registries) have
not proven effective.
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
review the map of courts of
appeal, at least bringing it into line
with the map of administrative
regions or with the inter-regional
map already used by the other net-
works of the Ministry of Justice and
by the judicial services for budgetary
and accounts administration ;
further reform the map of
commercial courts in areas with
several courts where at least one is
not of the critical size ;
adapt the functioning of the
new-generation law centres to the
reform objectives assigned to these
Chapter II
Management of projects
1 - The National Payroll program : a costly failure
2 - The MuCEM : a lengthy process and an uncertain future
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The National Payroll program :
a costly failure
On 4 March 2014, the government
decided to renounce the National
Payroll program, one of the most
ambitious and costly IT projects
(€346 million) undertaken by the
French administration in recent times.
The National Payroll program was
aimed to redesign the payroll circuit
for States civil servants so that their
remuneration would be automatically
established using a new computer sys-
tem, "SI-Paye", directly fed with input
data from the human resources infor-
mation systems (HRIS) that the minis-
tries were planning to implement. By
completely computerizing the thou-
sands of payroll rules used by civil ser-
vice payroll managers, le National
Payroll program was expected to
improve the service provided to civil
increase the reliability of the payroll
processes, provide a better control of
staff expenses and reduce the state
workforce by 3,800 jobs
Designed as of 2005 and launched in
May 2007, the National Payroll pro-
gram encountered difficulties that
became increasingly obvious over
time. In 2010, the detailed design
(blueprint) of the SI-Paye system was
delayed. Subsequently, the Ministry of
National Education, the Ministry of
Ministry of the Interior announced
that they would no longer be pilot
ministries for connecting their HRIS to
the SI-Paye. Between 2012 and 2013,
the Ministry of Agriculture, the last
pilot involved in the process, failed to
connect its own HRIS to the SI-Paye.
In July 2013, the Prime Minister orde-
red the Interministerial Director for
Systems (DISIC) to redesign the
National Payroll program. Due to eco-
nomic, budgetary, timetable and tech-
nical reasons, the DISIC recommen-
ded that the implementation of the
SI-Paye system should be cancelled
and that the existing applications,
named “PAY” and “ETR”, should be
retained, in spite of their outdated
The failure of the National Payroll pro-
gram is firstly due to its excessively
ambitious design, and secondly to its
quences are serious.
An excessively ambitious design
The designers of the National Payroll
program pursued too many objectives
and set excessively high requirements.
Replacing the entire existing payroll
chain carried risks: complex transition
operations from one system to ano-
ther, project management, coordina-
tion with ministerial project teams in
charge of HRIS and synchronization of
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
the master data structuring the dia-
logue between all information sys-
tems. The technical architecture cho-
sen had not proven feasible given the
specifics of the payroll of civil ser-
vants, the number of HRIS in question
concerning the maintenance of the
system as a whole. The program sche-
dule lacked intermediate completion
milestones and its implementation
timetable was clearly too optimistic.
The organisational and technical risks
of the design of the National Payroll
program were significantly underesti-
mated, notably due to a lack of signifi-
cant experience by the person in
charge of its preliminary design, a lack
concerning the simplification of pay-
roll rules and a lack of external techni-
cal auditing.
Defective governance
From the outset, the program was
jointly assigned to a specific depart-
ment the National Payroll Agency –
Opérateur national de paie (ONP) –
and to the ministerial HRIS project
managers. As these project managers
were not pursuing a common objec-
tive, they did not coordinate with one
another, leading to delays and the
subsequent failure in connecting of
the ministerial HRIS to the SI-Paye
even though the final validation of SI-
Paye, i.e. the final check of its correct
operation, was carried out.
In spite of assistance provided to its
National Payroll Agency encountered
numerous difficulties for example in
recruitment, job turnover and metho-
The ministerial project teams in
charge of HRIS were also weak, parti-
cularly in terms of organisation, data
management, and financing.
The National Payroll Agency's strate-
gic committee did not play a steering
and coordination role in relation to
the various project management
teams involved. It did not slow down
the rate at which the technical specifi-
cations published by the National
Payroll Agency were updated. It did
not manage properly the ministerial
project teams’ planning nor the risks
related to connecting HRIS systems to
the “SI-Paye” system.
The National Payroll Agency was atta-
ched to the General Directorate for
Public Administration and the Civil
Service (DGAFP) and the Public
finances general directorate (DGFiP).
These directorates barely influenced
the activity of the agency due to the
culture of autonomy demonstrated by
its management, but also due to the
ambiguity of their positions. While
supporting the program, the DGAFP
did not review its priorities according
to its requirements. The support recei-
ved from the DGFiP was insufficient,
under circumstances in which the Tax
General Directorate (DGI) and General
(DGCP) merged, monopolizing most
of the attention of theirs managers.
As they were not very attentive, the
Budget Directorate (DB) and the
various budget managers involved did
not fulfil their oversight role. In parti-
The National Payroll program : a costly failure
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The National Payroll program : a costly
cular, the monitoring of ministerial
expenses relating to the National
Payroll program was insufficient.
In spite of the various warnings sent,
the government reacted too late.
A costly failure with serious conse-
Between 2008 and 2013, €346 million
were spent during the course of the
National Payroll program. A large part
of the expenses financed the acquisi-
tion of software which is now useless
as the French State will not activate it,
following the decision made in March
2014. The progress seen at the public
administration level (finalising master
data systems, creating validation
tools) and at the organisational level
(reform of organisations and reduc-
tions in staffing levels) do not com-
pensate for the resources consumed.
The failure of the National Payroll pro-
gram generates risks for the future.
The completion of several ministerial
HRIS projects remains uncertain. The
“PAY” and “ETR” applications, which
the SI-Paye system was intended to
replace, will have to be overwritten to
extend their lifespans and ensure that
they can be upgraded. In the years to
come, the payroll circuit for State civil
servants will have to evolve to take
into new standards for social security
reporting - déclaration sociale nomi-
native (DSN) -, to strengthen internal
control and to prepare for the dema-
terialization of the payroll circuit.
Given that the SI-Paye will not be
implemented, existing irregular pay-
roll practices may continue. Due to a
lack of tools for monitoring and
controlling the payroll and staff
expenses, the State’s budgetary tra-
jectory keeps being subject to risks.
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
overwrite the “PAY” application
to ensure its viability by preserving
all of its functionalities, then prepare
for the inclusion of new standards for
social-security reporting (DSN), the
shutdown of the “ETR” application
and the dematerialization of payroll
processes (DGFiP) ;
Directorate for Public Administration
and the Civil Service (DGAFP) and
the Budget Directorate (DB) are pro-
vided with a tool for monitoring and
simulating the State staff expenses
create and implement tools
and procedures for automatically
detecting, then systematically elimi-
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The MuCEM : a lengthy pro-
cess and an uncertain future
A chaotic decision-making process
Launched in May 2000, the construc-
tion of the MuCEM has been many
times called into question during its
lengthy preparatory process (2000-
2013). Although the architecture
competition was launched in 2003,
the work –which project owner was
the operator for heritage and culture-
related property projects (OPPIC) –
only began at the Port de la Joliette in
2009, the project being at a standstill
until Marseilles was designated as
European Capital of Culture in 2008.
In addition to political procrastinating,
the completion of the museum has
been hindered by the challenge of
matching of a collection that was
essentially French, focused on prein-
dustrial France, with a new scientific
and cultural project focused on the
A questionable preliminary work
The management of this project also
governance set up for its preliminary
work. In 2005, when the MNATP was
closed to the public, the agency with
national authority (SCN) responsible
for managing this establishment was
assigned the responsibility of creating
the MuCEM. Faced with serious short-
comings in this agency, the Ministry of
Culture had to create a prefiguring
One of the latest landmarks initiated
by the
Civilisations (MuCEM) was inaugura-
ted on 7 June 2013 as part of the
Culture" operation. Resulting from the
relocation of collections from the
National Museum of Popular Arts and
Traditions (MNATP), a Parisian institu-
tion suffering from lack of public inte-
rest, this project is the only example of
a transfer, outside Paris, of an entire
national collection.
Source : Cour des comptes
The MuCEM : a lengthy process
and an uncertain future
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
association in September 2009. The
personnel of this association (58 staff
members in 2013) were combined
with the several hundred SCN officials
who were largely under-employed in a
museum which had no exhibitions nor
visitors, until they could be rede-
ployed, at the beginning of 2011 only.
A complex and costly operation
A 40,000 m² complex of three buil-
dings on two separate sites – the "J4"
building assigned to the architect
Rudy Ricciotti and the Fort Saint-Jean
at the Port de la Joliette and the
Resource Conservation Centre (CCR)
housing the museum reserves in the
Belle-de-mai area – the MuCEM is a
complex operation for which the
Communication concluded a 25 year
which entrusted a private partner
with the financing, construction,
maintenance and management of the
t in return for a rent.
The total public funding allocated to
€350 million.
For the calculation, the Court aggre-
(€233.37 million)
, SCN operating
expenses and the prefiguring associa-
tion (€58.24 million), processing and
transfer to Marseilles of the million
items from the MNATP (€22.80 mil-
lion) and management -maintenance
of the CCR according to the PPP
signed by the State (€35.60 mil-
While an integral part of the MuCEM's
project, the future of the MNATP's
Paris building, has not been anticipa-
ted by the Ministry of Culture. Almost
dilapidated, its refurbishment will also
require significant investments, parti-
cularly due to the presence of asbes-
tos on the premises.
6) As part of this PPP, the State has undertaken to pay an annual rent for which the combined
amount over 25 years (until 2037) will cover the total cost of the PPP (€92.2 million), which
breaks down as follows : the investment cost (€29.9 million) and the financial carry (€21.86 mil-
lion); the estimated operation-maintenance cost (€35.6 million) and the provision for debit
(€4.7 million).
7) This amount includes all of the costs relative to the property transaction for the MuCEM: the
costs of studies and work carried out in the Fort Saint-Jean and in the Ricciotti building
(€169.01 million); the cost of the required relocation of the department of sub-aquatic and sub-
marine archaeological research (DRASSM) from Fort Saint-Jean, necessary to the installation
of the MuCEM (€6.2 million); the purchase of the land for the CCR (€1.7 million) and the com-
bined amount over 25 years of the rent for the PPP serving to cover the initial investment and
the financial carry for the CCR (€56.46 million).
8) This amount corresponds to the projected amount of operation-maintenance rent that will
be paid by the State over 25 years. The operation-maintenance rent is revised annually accor-
ding to assumptions on price changes.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Outstanding issues
Although the MuCEM has enjoyed a
real public success since its opening
(3.4 million visitors from June 2013 to
September 2014), the economic equi-
librium and the museum content of
the institution remain questionable.
The maintenance and managing costs
of the museum have not been pro-
perly forecasted: beyond the under
estimated cost of the technical inno-
vations of the Ricciotti building (main-
tenance of the ultra-high-perfor-
pumps installed in the moat below sea
level), some elements have proved to
be fragile and unprepared to te large
museum attendance (wooden ter-
races). The imprecision of operating
costs, combined with the modest
prospects for own resources (26 % of
total resources in 2014) raise ques-
tions about the financial sustainability
of the institution's budget.
The MuCEM must also meet a dual
challenge with regard to its museum
content: firstly, defining an attractive
programme in spite of a restricted
budget (less than 20 % of the Museum
operating costs are assigned to the
programme) and the wide and persis-
tent gap between its scientific project
and its collections (out of the 250,000
3D objects maintained, 20 % only do
not originate from France, and 8 %
Mediterranean); secondly, continuing
to exhibit and circulate the MNATP's
collections so as it was not in vain
that this vast collection of items has
been moved from Paris to Marseilles.
The MuCEM : a lengthy process
and an uncertain future
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Le MuCEM : a lengthy process
and an uncertain future
The Court issues the following recom-
mendations :
Communication :
strengthen the management of
museums administered under the sta-
tus of agencies with national authority
(SCN), particularly concerning human
resources, so as not to repeat the mis-
takes of the MuCEM SCN ;
quickly reassign or transfer the
MuCEM's Paris building.
To the MuCEM public institution :
define a strategy for acquiring
and valuing collections that can reduce
museum programme and the collec-
tions inherited from MNATP ;
increase the institution's own
resources by developing sponsorship,
renting spaces, granting concessions,
and , getting local authorities involved
in the funding of the artistic program-
To the MuCEM and the OPPIC :
estimate the cost of servicing
and maintenance of the Ricciotti buil-
ding, particularly with regard to the
mance fibre-reinforced concrete, stain-
less steel and glazed walls).
To the MuCEM and the Ministry of
Culture and Communication :
finalise a performance contract
that includes precise objectives for visi-
tor numbers and own resources ;
establish the MuCEM as the lea-
ding museum for cultural heritage,
particularly by promoting the travel-
ling of the collections inherited from
the MNATP.
Chapter III
Modes of administration
1 - Local authorities' public-private partnerships :
managing the risks to be controlled
2 - The direct management of water and sanitation services :
progress to be reinforced
3 - French management of European structural funds :
improve, simplify and evaluate
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Local authorities' public-private
partnerships: managing the
risks to be controlled
Ten years after their creation by the
ordinance of 17 June 2004, the Court
wished to make an appraisal of public-
private partnerships, as nearly 150
signed by local authorities, for a total
investment of €4.07 billion.
The Court considers that the lack of
monitoring of this new instrument can
lead to risks which require a streng-
thened supervision.
The partnership contract: an innova-
tive legal tool used for various pur-
An innovative concept
After a sharp increase from 2008 to
2012, the number of partnership
contracts signed by local authorities
has stabilised.
The partnership contract is a global
contract authorising a public entity to
assign to a private partner not only
the funding and construction, but also
the servicing, maintenance and mana-
gement of structures or tangible or
intangible assets in order to provide a
public service.
Very diverse uses
The 29 contracts examined in the
investigation carried out by the Court
accounts reflect the variety of opera-
tions at the national level, with two
specific sub-groups: firstly, public ligh-
ting (one third of contracts) and
secondly, the large stadiums (such as
that of Marseilles), which amount to
several hundred million euros.
A financial stake that is still limited
If the investment of local public admi-
nistrations can be valued at about
€70 billion per year, three quarters of
which comes from local authorities,
i.e. nearly €55 billion per year, the
investments made under partnership
contracts (€4.07 billion) still represent
a small share of local public orders.
However, this amount does not take
into account the costs of funding,
maintenance and operation, which
may be very high, as experienced with
the large stadiums.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Insufficient analysis and competition
in the selection and assignment of
partnership contracts
The prior evaluation must primarily
ensure that the project meets one of
three alternative criteria for eligibility
(complexity, urgency and economic
The prior evaluation must also explain
the economic, financial, legal and
administrative reasons justifying the
comparative advantage of a partner-
ship compared to other solutions.
However, the Court has noticed seve-
ral shortcomings in the implementa-
tion of these criteria, comparative
analyses being often based on ques-
tionable assumptions favourable to
the partnership contract.
The Court notes that the procedure
for assigning contracts does not
always comply with the principles of
equal treatment between applicants
and transparency of procedures, with
the sometimes questionable interven-
tion of the project management assis-
A risk of disruption in the long term
equilibrium of the contract and
insufficient monitoring
An imbalance to the detriment of local
In particular, the Court made note of
mandatory clauses that were missing
in the contracts, unbalanced clauses,
and sharing of execution risks that
was usually unfavourable to local
Insufficient control by local authorities
and difficulty in evaluating efficiency
Local authorities do not equip them-
selves with the necessary technical
and human resources to monitor
contracts which are by nature com-
plex, while the efficiency and costs of
partnership contracts are difficult to
establish due to lack of reliable tools
to compare projects carried out under
a partnership contract and a conven-
tional procedure.
Financial deviations may also be at
the origin of disputes which may give
rise to early terminations that are
costly for local authorities.
Nevertheless, partnership contracts
may have positive results in terms of
performance, as in public lighting for
construction deadlines, with struc-
tures also handed over in a good state
of operation at the end of the contract
A significant impact on the financial
situation of local authorities in the
medium and long term
These contracts tend to increase the
debt and limit the self-financing capa-
city of local authorities, which causes
a "crowding-out" effect on other
expenditure over the long term.
Furthermore, the obligation to main-
tain structures, although positive for
the service provided, generates a sys-
tematically higher cost for local
Local authorities' public-private partnerships :
managing the risks to be controlled
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
In conclusion, the Court considers
that the use of a partnership contract
is justified only if it complies, beyond
existing regulations, with a certain
number of conditions, including a pro-
ven budgetary sustainability, a genui-
nely balanced sharing of risks bet-
ween the local authority and the
contract holder, and the ability of the
local authority to negotiate and moni-
tor the contract over its duration.
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
To local authorities :
include the annual report on
actual expenditure for the partner-
ship contract in the budgetary policy
debate, describing and explaining its
subsequent development and its real
costs in relation to the contractual
document ;
avoid using the same contrac-
tual partner as an assistant to the
contracting authority during the dif-
ferent phases of the project, particu-
larly during prior evaluation and help
with awarding the contract ;
avoid opting for the partner-
ship-contract concept if there is
insufficient expertise and resources
to monitor it properly.
To the State :
extend, to local authorities, the
27 September 2012 supplementing
the clauses relative to awarding cer-
tain public contracts applicable to
the State, its public institutions and
public health institutions, and require
a budgetary sustainability study at
the prior evaluation stage ;
modify the accounting stan-
dards to make it mandatory to record
the resulting off-balance-sheet finan-
cial commitments when a local
authority has assigned to a third
party (SEM, EPCC, etc.) the running
concluded ;
modify the accounting stan-
dards in order to show, as off-
costs (financing, maintenance and
operation) beyond the sole invest-
ment costs ;
withdraw from the MAPPP its
contracts and strengthen its function
of providing independent experti se
in support of local authorities.
Local authorities' public-private partnerships :
managing the risks to be controlled
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The direct management of
water and sanitation services :
progress to be reinforced
The direct management of water and
sanitation services is the most wides-
pread management mode, particu-
larly amongst small and medium-
sized towns. An alternative to delega-
ted management, it is once again
arousing interest from local authori-
ties and their consortiums, even
though few changes in the manage-
ment mode have actually been seen.
The 70 inspections carried out by the
regional courts of accounts on ser-
vices of varying sizes located throu-
concerning more than 10 million inha-
bitants show that although indisputa-
ble progress has been made, there is
still considerable room for improve-
ment, particularly with regard to
knowledge of the estate, approach to
the real service cost, and adjustment
of prices to present and future fun-
ding requirements.
Performance to be improved
The measurement of the performance
of the water and sanitation services,
put in place following the recommen-
dations of the Cour des Comptes in its
1997 and 2003 reports, is an innova-
tive process, but weakened by the
incomplete transmission of data to
the national database for the compu-
ter system on water and sanitation
There is still room for improvement
regarding control of the service and
knowledge of the estate.
The budgetary guidelines and analysis
of the activity of the directly-managed
debated by advisory assemblies. Only
the largest local authorities set objec-
tives and evaluate the performance of
their directly-managed services, as
the smaller ones do not yet make suf-
ficient use of a performance-oriented
It is also essential to control the ser-
vice well in advance as the complex
and risky phase of moving to direct
management can lead to initially ill-
understood charges.
At the assets level, the water and sani-
tation services are composed of infra-
structure for which construction and
maintenance represents a significant
financial cost. Only accurate know-
ledge can ensure the functioning of
equipment and its renewal. However,
the majority of directly-managed ser-
vices are not able, due to a lack of in-
depth knowledge of the state of the
network, to reduce losses, the rate of
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
which is nearly 20%, representing
about one billion m3 of water at natio-
nal level
Still too few mergers
Nearly 60 % of drinking water and col-
regions of less than 1,000 inhabitants.
This dissipation does not make it pos-
sible to optimise the management of
the service and ensure a sufficient
financial capacity and technical exper-
tise to maintain the existing facilities
in perfect condition and create new
facilities that prove to be essential.
Certain local authorities have found it
beneficial to join together to form
departmental or inter-departmental
directly-managed services, attached
to public-private entities, as soon as
their networks have to be connected
in order to secure supply, but this
approach remains limited.
Some instances of service pooling
have begun, particularly through the
creation of local public water compa-
nies, but without calling into question
or totally rationalising the pre-existing
local organisation.
Financial equilibrium often in appea-
rance only
Characterised by great local dispari-
ties related to the availability and qua-
lity of the resource, the average price
applied by the directly-managed ser-
vices (€3.52 per m3) is lower than the
national average. However, in certain
cases, it does not take into account all
of the charges.
The reliability of the accounts is often
compromised by a lack of rigour in
applying accounting rules. Thus, the
assignment of administrative and per-
sonnel charges is not always justified
by reliable cost accounting. The lack
of provisions for bad debts and the
partial application of depreciation
rules also significantly affect the equi-
librium price.
Insufficient consideration of invest-
ment needs
All water and sanitation services are
confronted with a reduction in sales of
water at the same time as an increase
in operating costs, which are essen-
tially fixed charges. Another factor
causing tension for the directly-mana-
ged services is the deterioration of
recovery rates.
Against this rather unfavourable back-
drop, some services have set up long-
term investment plans with a strategy
to renew facilities and have equipped
themselves with tools for modelling
changes in the price of water including
requirements for future investment.
However, most do not have any policy
on funding their investments over the
long term.
9) One out of five litres of water put into the distribution network does not reach the consumer
and returns to the natural environment.
The direct management of water and sanitation
services : progress to be reinforced
ummaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Pooling services can strengthen gains
in productivity. Other than the effi-
ciency savings this allows in the
medium term with the increased
rationalisation of the employment of
skills and personnel, it also provides a
sufficient financial basis to make the
unavoidable investments to renew or
increase capacity.
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
introduce, into the departmen-
tal plans for inter-municipal coopera-
tion, a section calling for the merging
of water and sanitation services ;
authorise, in the law, price
variations during mergers and a
period of convergence ;
should prepare a strategic document
that includes the long-term invest-
ment plan, funding requirements and
changes to the equilibrium price of
water ;
make it mandatory to transmit
data to the public water and sanita-
tion services information system
(SISPEA) for the most significant ser-
vices and supplement this database
with reference systems on financial
performance ;
specify, in forthcoming and
current agreements on public-ser-
vice delegation the status of the
assets assigned to the contractor,
and those that are essential to the
continuity of public service, particu-
larly information systems.
The direct management of water and sanitation
services : progress to be reinforced
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
French management of
European structural funds :
improve, simplify and evaluate
Between 2007 and 2013, France recei-
ved €14.3 billion from the European
Social Fund (ESF) and the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Once added to national co-funding, a
total of €28.2 billion was thus mobili-
sed. The Court has examined the
management of all of ESF funding
and majority of that from the ERDF.
The Member States are responsible
for managing the European funding
allocated to them and must therefore
organise themselves. For the ESF, bet-
ween 2007 and 2013, France appoin-
ted the Ministry of Employment as the
managing authority for the "regional
competitiveness and employment"
programme, which it manages directly
for 15% of the funding and 85% of
which it delegates to the prefects of
the metropolitan regions
. For the
ERDF, over the same period, funding
was directly managed by the regional
prefects, with the exception of Alsace,
where the managing authority for the
regional council.
Entre 2007 et 2013, des modalités de
Between 2007 and 2013, procedures
for managing funding have been
unfavourable to implementation
ESF funding is dispersed over too
many actions and beneficiaries
The high number of priorities chosen
(five areas of intervention and 31
measures in total) harms the effecti-
veness and visibility of European fun-
ding. Dispersion is found in the num-
ber of managers (at the end of the
period, more than 200 "intermediary"
redistribute funding
to organisations running projects) and
in the number of beneficiaries (around
12,000, half of which for less than
Processing delays are long
More than 16 months may elapse bet-
ween applying for ESF funding and
the payment of the funds, putting
numerous small beneficiaries into dif-
10) Overseas, the regional prefects are the direct managing authorities.
11) The intermediary organisation is responsible for managing the funding assigned to it
through a global grant and can use them either to fund its own actions or to co-fund the
actions of other organisations. It exercises the responsibilities of the managing authority, in
particular in the field of controlling the service provided.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Administration costs are high
The average administration cost per
project, which
highly variable
depending on the service, sometimes
approaches the amount of the aid
granted. For the ESF, the cost calcula-
ted by the Court varies between
€1,450 and €15,756, representing one
to ten percent (half of the beneficia-
€50,000, including co-funding), and,
for the ERDF, from €3,500 to €8,000
(depending on the regions, for trans-
actions for which the unitary amount
may vary within a given region bet-
ween €2,000 and €6.9 million). For
certain ERDF cases, the administra-
tion cost exceeds the aid granted.
The impact of actions is poorly evalua-
There are too many indicators for eva-
luating funded actions (24 for the ESF
and more than 40 for the ERDF) and
they are not always appropriate. The
managing authorities therefore can-
not control performance.
Delays in the detection of errors and
the management of ERDF action plans
are costly
Controls, which are sometimes redun-
dant because a single transaction can
be checked up to seven times, have
identified numerous errors in the
management of funding. France suf-
fered two interruptions in the pay-
ment of funds, one of six months in
2012 and the second of three months
in 2013, for having exceeded the 2 %
error limit fixed by the European
The errors detected were corrected
late and the implementation of action
plans was uncoordinated. The sharing
players (DATAR, the ministries and the
Inter-ministerial Committee for the
Coordination of Controls) was not
established. The financial
heavy :
amounts unduly paid and therefore
the amount of corrections to pay
totalled €30 million on 31 December
2013 and €67 million of funds paid
were still considered as "at risk" at the
end of 2014.
Conditions not yet met for success of
the 2014-2020 programme
The law of 27 January 2014 provides
for the decentralisation of the mana-
gement of funding: total decentralisa-
tion for the ERDF and partial decen-
tralisation for the ESF, with funding
managed at 65% by the State and
35% by the regions
. This organisa-
tion entails the risk of the juxtaposi-
tion of competing strategies on sub-
jects where competencies are shared
between the State and the regions.
The procedures for decentralisation
remain to be specified regarding the
French management of European structural
funds : improve, simplify and evaluate
12) A national operational programme known as "employment-inclusion" coexists with 27 joint
ERDF-ESF regional operational programmes known as "investment for growth and jobs.
ummaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
French management of European structural
funds : improve, simplify and evaluate
transfer of personnel and the initia-
tion of an action against a local autho-
European funding
which may be sentenced to repay-
ment by the European Union.
European regulations strengthen the
requirements for evaluation and pro-
vide for a large number of indicators.
Each managing authority must equip
itself with the resources to monitor
costs and take into account the results
obtained in relation to the objectives
in order to develop the programming
if necessary. The current transition
towards the new information system
(SYNERGIE) must receive particular
attention to avoid the loss of data
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
concentrate actions on a smal-
ler number of priorities ;
clarify the respective roles of
the managers – national and local – of
the various operational programmes
for the implementation of action
plans ;
evaluate the costs of adminis-
tration overall and per programme
manager ;
reduce the number of interme-
diate organizations ;
improve training and legal sup-
port for management staff, as well as
beneficiaries, in order to reduce the
risk of error ;
reduce the number of results
indicators and implement proce-
dures allowing them to be used
effectively to control actions.
Chapter IV
Management of human resources
1 - The additional remuneration of civil servants
overseas : over-hauling a new system
2 - The regional public-service management centres of
Rhône-Alpes and Puy-de-Dôme: tasks to be refocused
in a broader regional context
3 - The free assignment of shares in CDC Entreprises, a
subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations :
the abuses of a public employee shareholder arrangement
ummaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The additional remuneration of
civil servants overseas: over-
hauling a new system
An inextricable legal framework
Civil servants assigned overseas bene-
fit from additional remuneration,
which breaks down into increased
wages, at variable rates according to
the regions, and various associated
Around 91,000 civil servants, repre-
senting 4.2 % of the total workforce,
are currently concerned, nearly two
thirds of which come under the
Ministry of Education and 10 % under
the "security" budgetary mission. The
budgetary cost of additional remune-
ration was €1.18 billion in 2012.
There are currently 2 laws, 13 decrees
and 11 ministerial orders which
constitute the foundations of the
"additional remuneration", represen-
ting an inextricable legislative and
regulatory tangle.
Legal weaknesses have been revealed:
for example, the lack of a regulatory
basis for the correction index applica-
ble to Reunion Island (which represen-
ted nearly €86 million in 2012).
Questionable appropriateness and
remuneration" are based on three pil-
lars: compensation for the extra cost
of living, consideration of specific
However, these elements have gra-
dually become mixed, to the point
where it is now difficult to know which
objectives are met by each layer of the
Furthermore, this ”additional remune-
ration” does more than compensate
for price differences compared with
metropolitan France, while living
conditions overseas have considerably
developed, particularly from the point
of view of the accessibility of the
regions. The legitimacy of the whole
system, the foundations of which were
laid in 1950, is thus affected.
In addition, as it was extended to
regional civil servants, even though
they do not suffer the constraints
related to distance from metropolitan
France, the "additional remuneration"
negatively affects the budgets of local
authorities and reduces their ability to
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Furthermore, as contract agents do
not benefit from this, it gives overseas
local authorities an incentive to make
more frequent use of these staff than
in metropolitan France (37 % of non-
established public employees in the
overseas departments compared to
19 % in metropolitan France), creating
the risk of a "two-speed" civil service.
Consequently, over the last 20 years,
numerous administrative and parlia-
mentary reports have dealt with this
subject critically and have called for a
change in the system.
Necessary changes
The objectives of the “additional
remuneration” need to be clarified,
which would lead to a complete over-
haul of the system. Three layers may
be used: a first aiming to compensate
for extra cost of living, a second to
cover specific moving expenses, and a
third to compensate for the distance
and hardship of assignments to cer-
tain geographical zones that may be
qualified as less attractive.
By reducing wage increases to a level
that represents the cost of living diffe-
rential, savings of around €850 million
could be generated.
Additional savings would be genera-
ted if the benefit of the third layer
were effectively limited to the least
attractive zones; the current compen-
sation stands at more than €140 mil-
lion per year.
However, due to the sensitive nature
of the subject and the economic
impact of such measures, the desira-
ble reforms should be carried out gra-
Furthermore, support arrangements
should also be made. The savings
generated would create sufficient
margin for manoeuvre, where applica-
ble, to be used to fund other projects
in the overseas territories. In addition,
non-financial incentives could be used
to preserve the attractiveness of
these positions through units provi-
ding professional support to spouses,
consideration of the school calendar
when planning transfers, or a prefe-
rential choice of assignment or posi-
tion when returning to metropolitan
The additional remuneration of civil servants
overseas : over-hauling a new system
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The additional remuneration of civil servants
overseas : over-hauling
a new system
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
simplify the additional pay
regime by redesigning it on a new
regulatory architecture organised
around a single decree and ministe-
rial orders ;
reserve specific indemnities to
compensate for moving expenses
and assignments to difficult geogra-
phical zones ;
incentives to the assignment of civil
servants overseas with non-financial
incentives and coordinate local job
offers ;
gradually substitute the rates
in force since 1981 with rates that
correspond to the cost of living diffe-
rential in each territory.
The regional public-service
management centres of Rhône-
Alpes and Puy-de-Dôme : tasks
to be refocused in a broader
regional context
The regional public-service manage-
ment centres are local public institu-
tions of an administrative character
26 January 1984 applying various sta-
tutory provisions relative to the regio-
nal civil service. These institutions
assist local authorities in managing
the statuses of regional civil servants,
1.9 million officials. In the context of
France, the management centres are
primarily the point of contact for local
authorities and public institutions
employing fewer than 350 civil ser-
vants, for which affiliation is obliga-
tory. Beyond this threshold, affiliation
is optional.
Based on inspections carried out by
the regional courts of accounts of
Auvergne, Rhône-Alpes in nine mana-
gement centres, the Court finds that
the management centres are disper-
sed in the exercise of their duties, that
their funding leads to the creation of
surpluses, and that their regional
scope has become too narrow. It
recommends refocusing them on
their purpose as a means of unifying
the regional civil service by redefining
their framework of intervention if so
The management centres are disper-
sed in the exercise of their duties
The management centres are expe-
riencing difficulties in the exercise of
their mandatory duties. Although they
organise the regional conference on
employment each year, they do not all
conduct the assessment of public
employment in their departments.
Furthermore, the various work carried
out plays a modest role in the projec-
ted management of workforces.
The organisation of competitive and
ordinary examinations, which is an
essential task of the management
centres, is affected by phenomena of
"reçus-collés" (those who have passed
competitive exams but who have not
yet been recruited) and absenteeism
amongst candidates, which increase
their cost.
At the same time, the management
centres have developed an extensive
interpretation of their optional tasks,
particularly through the provision of
contract employees.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The regional public-service management centres
of Rhône-Alpes and Puy-de-Dôme : tasks to be
refocused in a broader regional context
They also offer services that do not
come within their field of compe-
tence, such as assistance to municipal
archiving, legal advice and IT advice,
which other public or private players
could supply.
Financial surpluses
The principle of directed funding of
the tasks laid down by the law is not
always respected due to shortco-
mings in cost accounting.
Most of the regional public-service
financial surpluses related in particu-
lar to the method for calculating
contributions, which is based on pay-
roll and generally set at the maximum
In the very restricted context of public
finances, the rates of contribution
should at least be adjusted to require-
A regional scope that has become
too narrow
Lastly, the regional scope within which
the management centres operate
appears to need readjustment.
The law of 19 February 2007 initiated
the regionalisation of certain tasks,
which was strengthened by the dema-
terialised management of careers, the
employment exchange and registra-
tion for competitive examinations on
inter-regional platforms.
Although the management centres
have been able to provide a solution
to municipal dispersal, the territorial
reform in progress could justify their
adaptation. The increase in the popu-
lation threshold for inter-municipali-
ties could mean that affiliation is no
longer mandatory for many and the
new inter-municipalities could reach a
critical size allowing them to take on
certain aspects of staff management
for their member municipalities.
In these circumstances, based on the
examples of the regional public-ser-
vice management centres of Rhône-
Alpes and Puy-de-Dôme, the Court
recommends that their tasks be re-
focused on the career management of
regional civil servants and that their
funding be strictly adjusted to the
actual requirements arising from this.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The regional public-service management centres
of Rhône-Alpes and Puy-de-Dôme: tasks to be
refocused in a broader regional context
The Court issues the following
recommendations :
To the State :
clarify the wording of article 25
of the law of 26 January 1984 in
order to better define the optional
tasks that the management centres
may exercise.
To the management centres :
adjust income to actual requi-
rements for funding, notably by
adjusting contribution rates.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
The free assignment of shares
in CDC Entreprises, a subsi-
diary of the Caisse des Dépôts
et Consignations : the abuses
of a public employee sharehol-
der arrangement
A bonus share plan (PAGA) was put in
place at the end of 2007 for the bene-
fit of the employees of a wholly-
owned subsidiary of the Caisse des
Entreprises. This led to the issuance of
28,952 free preference shares
ween December 2007 and November
2010. On 31 December 2012, the pre-
employees of CDC Entreprises, who
held 5.26
% of the capital.
The design of the bonus share plan
(PAGA): poorly defined objectives
and a binding arrangement
The reasons justifying the establish-
ment of a bonus share plan for the
benefit of the employees of CDC
Entreprises remain unconvincing.
LThe establishment of the bonus
share plan resembles the transposi-
tion, to a subsidiary that is 100 %
public and that manages funds of
mainly public origin, of a carried inte-
rest mechanism usually applied in pri-
vate equity companies in the competi-
mechanism also implies personal
financial investment by employees,
which was not the case of the benefi-
ciaries of the bonus share plan.
The preference shares freely assigned
by CDC Entreprises to its employees
gave an entitlement to a priority
dividend equal to 20 % of the distribu-
table profit. Disguised as employee
shareholding, a form of additional
remuneration was thus established
for employees of CDC Entreprises.
The terms of this arrangement have
proved very favourable to employees
13) The capital of a company may be composed of ordinary and/or preference shares. A prefe-
rence share is a share with or without voting rights, to which specific rights are attached, per-
manently or temporarily. In the case of CDC Entreprises, the preference shares were priority-
dividend shares, without voting rights.
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
and restrictive for the company and
its parent company. When the bonus
share plan was put in place, the risks
for the company and its parent com-
pany were not sufficiently appraised
and their effects were not anticipated.
Implementation of the bonus share
plan: poorly-anticipated develop-
ments and uncorrected abuses
The profound changes to the activity
of CDC Entreprises, characterised by
significant growth in the assets assi-
gned to it for management, particu-
larly as of 2009 following the Financial
Crisis, with the creation of Fonds stra-
Strategic Investment Fund) (FSI), then
the Programme des investissements
d’avenir (Program on Investment for
the Future) (PIA) automatically led to
a sharp increase in the dividends dis-
tributed. The dividends paid to the
beneficiaries of free shares for the
2009 financial year (€3.30 million)
were thus 80 % higher than the esti-
mate made in 2007 (€1.80 million).
This change was not taken into
account by CDC Entreprises and the
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.
No mechanism was put in place to try
to correct the non-anticipated effects
of the arrangement.
The first dividend, paid to employees
in 2010 for an overall amount of
€3.30 million, was calculated based on
the 2009 distributable profit of CDC
Entreprises, which was composed of
the balance of 2006 retained ear-
nings, allocations to reserves for 2007
and 2008, and the 2009 result. The
inclusion of allocations to reserves for
2006 to 2008 is questionable in its
principle. In fact, it aimed to give the
bonus share plan a retroactive charac-
ter, thus bypassing the link between
possession of a share and entitlement
to the dividend. As it was not a legal
undertaking, it would have been possi-
ble to distribute the results of the
2007 and 2008 financial years to the
Caisse des dépôts et consignations,
against the background in 2008 of the
first losses in the history of the Caisse.
Entreprises has demonstrated insuffi-
cient transparency with regard to its
parent company. This should have
been all the more necessary as the
employees and corporate officers of
the company were beneficiaries of
this bonus share plan. More generally,
it highlights failures in the internal
governance of the Caisse des Dépôts
et Consignations and in its ability to
identify and manage remuneration in
its subsidiaries. Lastly, it illustrates the
risks of governance without external
control, insofar as the governing
bodies of CDC Entreprises were com-
posed only of representatives of the
Unwinding the arrangement: costly
redemption for the Caisse and a
windfall effect for employees
The mechanism assigning free shares
in CDC Entreprises was abolished as
part of the creation of Bpifrance (or
Public Investment Bank – BPI). The
Caisse bought back the free shares
still held by employees before the
The free assignment of shares in CDC
Entreprises, a subsidiary of the Caisse des
Dépôts et Consignations
The free assignment of shares in CDC
Entreprises, a subsidiary of the Caisse des
Dépôts et Consignations
Summaries of the 2015 Annual Public Report by the Cour des Comptes
transfer of CDC Entreprises assets to
Most of the free shares held by
employees were purchased at the
transfer value to BPI, i.e. a price per
share of €318.50. This high price, par-
ticularly with regard to the initial "pro-
fit sharing" purpose of the bonus
share plan, constitutes a windfall
effect related to the creation of the
BPI. Furthermore, it arises from a
transfer of a public entity, CDC
Entreprises, to another public entity,
the BPI, and concerns public sector
employees, most of whom have joined
the new group.
Consignations did not try to reduce
the windfall effect of the changes in
circumstances, which have provided
de facto benefits to those concerned.
The Court issues the following
recommendations to the CEO of the
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations :
provide the group's human-
resources department with improved
means of controlling the remunera-
tion policy for subsidiaries of the
Caisse ;
prepare a remuneration refe-
rence system for the entire group
that is consistent with the general-
interest purpose of the Caisse ;
set up a system for comprehen-
sively listing the remuneration of the
executive officers within the Caisse
des dépôts group.