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Executive Summary
Thematic public report
Evaluation of a public policy
January 2022
Public policy evaluation in relation to the RSA continues and expands on the previous
work of financial jurisdictions as regards combating poverty and social inclusion and, in
particular, the interim ruling of November 2015 devoted to basic welfare benefits, the
observations of 2017 on monetary benefits intended for low-income households and the public
report of November 2019 on the disabled adults’ allowance. Involving one Chamber of the
Court and ten Regional Chambers of Accounts, the evaluation work, which benefited from
regular feedback from a support committee, was based on national investigations, as well as
on territorial surveys in nine departments illustrating the diversity of situations (Allier, Aude,
Bas-Rhin, Gironde, Ille-et-Vilaine, Martinique, Pas-de-Calais, Réunion, Seine-Saint-Denis).
Established by the law of 1st December 2008, the active solidarity income (RSA)
replaced the minimum integration income (RMI) and the single parent allowance (API). A little
more than ten years after its widespread implementation in metropolitan France in 2009,
followed by overseas departments in 2011, the financial jurisdictions decided to proceed with
an evaluation of it.
The RSA is currently the main instrument for combating poverty, with annual expenditure
of €15 bi
llion. It is granted to nearly two million households, which are home to more than four
million people. Despite its scale in social and financial terms, the scheme has not been
evaluated in its entirety since the work of the national evaluation committee, which was
specifically established for this purpose by the law of 2008 and submitted its final report in
Given the upward trend in the number of beneficiaries since the creation of the RMI,
which continued after 2009 with the RSA, as well as the increased risks of job insecurity
associated with the covid-19 crisis, a new evaluation had become essential. It should help
determine the extent to which the RSA is meeting its objectives and how its results could be
. As part of the national strategy for preventing and combating poverty of September
2018, the government has also announced several reforms, which may transform the scheme
in the months and years to come: this evaluation aims to contribute to these reforms.
The RSA is one of the so-calle
d “activation” schemes for welfare spending instituted in
many OECD countries since the end of the 1990s. While the benefits intended to provide a
minimum income for people in difficulty gave rise to fears of an attitude of opting-out of work
(“unemployment traps”), it was a matter for the advocates of the RSA of ensuring that “work
pays” in all circumstances. Therefore, the aim of the 2008 law was for the RSA to safeguard
more of the incentives to work, while guaranteeing a minimum level of income and individual
support like the RMI. This concern is reflected in the three established objectives of the
to provide its beneficiaries with suitable means of existence in order to combat
poverty, to encourage beneficiaries to undertake or return to work and to assist the social
inclusion of beneficiaries”
The particular characteristic of the evaluation process is that it focuses on the actual results of a scheme or policy.
Therefore, unlike other work undertaken by the financial jurisdictions, it is not a question, in this case, of examining
the performance of the management of the RSA by those responsible for it, but rather of assessing the extent to
which the RSA meets the objectives assigned to it.
As regards these objectives, the financial jurisdictions have endeavoured to provide
answers to four questions, which shape the evaluation, beyond analysis of the institutional and
financial framework:
Does the RSA actually benefit the people for whom it is intended?
To what extent does the RSA make it possible to escape poverty?
To what extent does the RSA facilitate access to employment?
Is the support real and effective?
This evaluation was supervised by an interjurisdictional body bringing together the Court
of Accounts and ten Regional and Territorial Chambers of Accounts. In addition to traditional
evaluation methods, which led to an in-depth analysis in nine territories
, unprecedented work
making use of numerous databases
was undertaken in order to quantify and assess the
results of the RSA. This quantitative component was supplemented by two targeted studies,
one on related support from local authorities and the other in the form of a survey of recipients
and former recipients of the RSA.
The characteristics of the RSA and its general framework
The law of 1
December 2008 established the RSA with the aim, according to the terms
of its explanatory memorandum, of making income from work
the main safeguard against
. To this end, it reformed the two components of the RMI: the benefit intended to
guarantee a minimum income and the support for beneficiaries designed to help them integrate
socially and into employment.
In terms of its benefit component, what was novel about the RSA was that, in the case
of work, the person no longer sees their benefit decrease on the basis of their total income
from work but only on a proportion of it. The proportion of the benefit maintained despite
returning to work originally represented the Employment RSA, which was added to the so-
called “base” RSA. In 2016, this Employment RSA was incorporated into the employment
bonus, which nevertheless has a broader spectrum as it also benefits “low
paid workers”, who
are paid around the minimum wage.
The support component itself has also been transformed in line with the principle of
“rights and obligations”: in return for the monetary assistance and support received, the
beneficiary must undertake to take steps with a view to improving their social and professional
integration. These commitments are formalised in a contract signed by the beneficiary with his
support organisation.
A sample of nine departments was established in order to account for the differences in situations between
territories: Allier, Aude, Bas-Rhin, Gironde, Ille-et-Vilaine, Pas-de-Calais, Seine-Saint-Denis, Martinique and La
Specifically, management data from CAF
(family allowances funds)
and MSA
(agricultural social mutual funds)
Pôle emploi
(the French Employment Agency)
and departments was used, sometimes for the first time.
The institutional framework
Management and funding of the RSA are entrusted to departments, territorial welfare
leaders, as the RMI had been since 2003. However, this decentralisation remains incomplete:
the state defines the legal and regulatory framework of what remains a national solidarity
mechanism, the networks of family allowance funds (CAF) and agricultural social mutual funds
(MSA) are responsible for processing applications, calculating entitlements and paying the
benefit and support is shared between multiple organisations: Pôle emploi and its partners for
professional support, the department and its agencies for social support.
Schéma n° 1 : sociogram of those involved in the RSA scheme
Source: Financial jurisdictions
This dispersal of roles poses problems. It raises a comprehension issue for beneficiaries
of the RSA, who face an indistinct juxtaposition of several agencies. For those involved,
coordination is complex, which results in very real shortcomings. The lack of harmonisation of
information systems is a clear example of this, which seriously compromises the ability to
supervise and monitor the pathways of beneficiaries and ensure that they meet their needs.
The financial framework
The almost uninterrupted increase in the number of beneficiaries of the RSA since its
establishment has rapidly weakened this institutional framework as well as its financial
component. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of beneficiaries increased from 1.3 to 1.9
million, i.e. a rise of almost 45%, before stabilising and then reaching a new peak of 2.1 million
in November 2020. This increase, combined with a revaluation of the amounts paid, explains
why benefit spending has increased sharply. It reached €11.7 billion in 2019 and exceeded
€12 billion in 2020. When the employment bonus, spending on support (€2.3 billion) and
administrative management a
re added, total annual public spending on the RSA was €15
billion in 2019.
Graph n°1: changes in the workforce and spending on the RSA
Scope: Metropolitan France in 2009 and 2010, followed by the whole of France.
Benefit spending (RSA, RMI, RSO and Christmas bonus).
Sources: Drees
Spending on basic welfare benefits since 2009 and the RSA and employment bonus: departmental data
The proportion of domestic duty on petroleum products (TIPP), which became domestic
duty on consumption of energy products (TICPE), allocated in 2003 to the departments to fund
the RMI and then the RSA, rapidly proved to be insufficient. Complementary funding
mechanisms originating from the state gradually stacked up (five equalisation funds were
established in this way between 2006 and 2015), but these mechanisms never kept pace with
the momentum of spending.
The result was a scissor effect caused by the growing gap between the increase in
revenue (+20 %) and that in expenditure (+69%) borne by the departments since 2009. There
has thus been a more than four and a half-fold increase in the difference between the two. In
2019, the proportion transferred from
TICPE represented €5.8 billion and other funds €1.1
billion, i.e. €4.2 billion less than the spending to be funded.
This gap is felt very differently by departments. In the nine territories studied, it varies
from 100% to 400% and is particularly significant in Réunion and Seine-Saint-Denis, two
departments in which it triggered decisions to renationalise the present or future benefit, after
Mayotte and French Guiana.
Graph n°2: gross savings, RSA amount payable (excluding DMTO) and departmental
debt reduction capacity since 2009
Source: Financial jurisdictions, on the basis of DGCL data
However, the "à la carte" recentralisation of benefit funding borne by the state does not
provide a global and sustainable response to an issue that affects all departments, while also
weakening the “decision
maker = funder” identity, which lies at the heart of the decentralisation
of the RMI.
Does the RSA actually benefit the people for whom it is intended?
This first evaluative question leads to two additional questions: do the people for whom
the RSA was designed actually benefit from it (the issue of non-take-up)? And likewise, are
there beneficiaries who should not be (the issue of rightful payment)?
Those for whom the RSA is intended
While other basic welfare benefits are targeted, such as the disabled adults allowance
(AAH) for disabled people or the solidarity allowance for the elderly (ASPA) for retired people,
the RSA, a mechanism under common law, applies to the entire working-age population.
In addition to the condition of nationality, which requires non-Europeans to have had a
regular residence permit for at least five years, the main legal restriction relates to the minimum
age of 25. Like the RMI, in this respect the RSA is consistent with the idea that until that age,
it is the family solidarity mechanism that should apply, before the national solidarity mechanism
takes over. Specific schemes exist for young people encountering particular difficulties. These
schemes, such as the “Garantie jeunes”
(Youth Guarantee)
or the “RSA jeunes actifs”
Workers RSA)
provide them with an income close to the RSA
however, the latter appears to
be largely inoperative due to its restrictive conditions, as it only had 734 beneficiaries in 2019.
Within the framework of this evaluation, the financial jurisdictions believe they have not
gathered sufficient evidence to arrive at a definite position on the extension of the RSA to
young people below the age of 25. Such an extension is a matter for political debate and
decisions, as it revolves around issues of values. It is possible to estimate that beyond the
young people already eligible for the Youth Guarantee, the additional number of potential
beneficiaries would be between 1.7 and 2.4 million if the RSA was opened up to 18-24 year
The intended beneficiaries are insufficiently covered
As regards the benefit, the last detailed study of non-take-up, dating from 2011,
estimated that this phenomenon affected 30% of the target population. No recent study, nor
any of the rare initiatives deployed on a local level to assess non-take-up, have led to an up-
to-date revision of this estimate, which represents a consensus among those involved in the
RSA. It therefore appears possible to estimate that the level of cover of the target population
is 70%.
Conversely, fraud has little impact on the number of legitimate beneficiaries
. By contrast,
its effects on the figures are significant with more than €190 million detected in 2019, resulting
in a total estimate by the Cnaf
of around €1 billion of potential fraud
. The majority of this fraud
actually relates far more to the sums paid rather than the actual eligibility of people for the RSA
scheme. Hence 70% of detected fraud cases relate to omissions or errors in declarations of
resources. One major issue therefore relates to safeguarding payment of the RSA as regards
actual situations, by increasing the reliability of the data used and the detection
of a greater number of errors.
As stated above, the purpose of this evaluation was not to verify proper application of the rule of law and, therefore,
to analyse fraud, but to asses the extent to which the RSA meets the objectives assigned to it by law.
Indeed, nearly 12% of the sums paid under the RSA, i.e. €1.4 billion, were wrongly paid in 2019, mainly due to
La lutte contre les fraudes aux prestations sociale (Combating welfare benefit fraud)
from the Court of Accounts to the Senate Social Affairs Committee (September 2020).
As regards support, it is possible to estimate that 60% of beneficiaries subject to “rights
and obligations” do not have a support contract.
Although this rate is based on imperfect data,
it highlights a serious failure of this component of the RSA. This poor outcome can be explained
by the fact that only eight out of ten recipients were actually referred to a support organisation,
and that among them, only half of those referred to social support signed a contract.
In response to the first evaluative question, the RSA does not sufficiently benefit the
people for whom it is intended, with coverage rates of approximately 70% for the benefit
component and 40% for the support component.
To what extent does the RSA make it possible to escape poverty?
The key objective established by law for the RSA is
to provide its beneficiaries with a
suitable means of existence, in order to combat poverty”
. To assess the effectiveness of the
RSA in this respect, it is necessary to analyse its contribution to reducing poverty, by
incorporating it into the overall landscape of social support and benefits, which are accessible
to its beneficiaries.
The RSA alone does not make it possible to escape poverty
Since 2010, 65% of RSA beneficiaries have consistently lived below the monetary
poverty line
, a proportion that is 4.4 times higher than in the general population, where this
proportion is between 14% and 15%. 51% of RSA beneficiaries are also considered to have
poor living conditions
, a proportion almost five times higher than for the rest of the population.
This situation is a direct result of the sums guaranteed by the benefit: for a single person,
the RSA is 565 euros per month (on 1
April 2021), a level below the monetary poverty line
(1,063 euros per month in 2018 according to the Insee). It reflects the choice made on
establishment of the RSA that it is being in paid work that is intended to sustainably keep
people out of poverty, with the national solidarity mechanism only acting as a safety net.
By contrast, the RSA protects its beneficiaries from extreme poverty
Although 46% of RSA beneficiaries still live below the poverty line at 50% of the median
income, only 16% live on less than 40% of the latter. The effect of the RSA is even clearer on
the intensity of poverty: although this is clearly much higher among RSA beneficiaries at the
60% threshold, the situation is reversed at the 40% threshold: the intensity of poverty at that
level is twice as high for people who do not benefit from the RSA.
The RSA is thus the scheme which, within the entire socio-fiscal system, contributes the
most to reducing the intensity of monetary poverty to 40 and 50% of the threshold, by ensuring
on its own between 35 and 40% of this reduction, more than other monetary benefits (housing
benefits, family benefits, local support, etc.).
There is a standard statistical definition of the poverty line across Europe. It equates to 60% of the median income,
i.e., in France, €1,063 per month for a single person in 2018, the last year for which it was published by the I
“Poor living conditions” is, along with the poverty line, the second most widely used statistical indicator. It provides
an indicator of deprivation by gauging private individuals on the basis of 8 items from a list of 27 items linked to a
lack of resources.
RSA beneficiaries can also claim a range of related support, put in place by local
authorities. Although this support is generally not taken into account in studies because it is
poorly documented, it nevertheless helps to reduce poverty: the Equinoxe study carried out by
a team from Gustave Eiffel University in partnership with the financial jurisdictions, the results
of which are published in parallel with this evaluation, highlights the fact that in a sample of 20
municipalities, this support represents between 6.5% and 12.7% of all the resources of
households with no earned income.
This protective role against extreme poverty is perceived and confirmed by the recipients
themselves. When surveyed, 78% believe that the RSA has
“provided a minimum income”
“prevented them falling into poverty”
. This is the aspect of the scheme most widely
recognised by its beneficiaries.
Graph n° 3: poverty rate of RSA beneficiaries based on standard profiles
Scope: Metropolitan France, individuals living in a household whose declared income is positive or zero and whose
reference person is not a student.
Source: Financial jurisdictions on the basis of ERFS 2018
Returning to work remains the preferred way out of poverty
The legislator
s choice to focus on work as a way out of poverty is borne out in practice.
Although monetary poverty at the 50% threshold affects almost all recipients whose income
consists mainly of the RSA, this proportion drops to only 20% for those whose benefit accounts
for less than 10% of their income. Returning to work, even on a part-time basis, effectively
makes it possible to cross the poverty line in most family and employment arrangements.
Scale simulations show that this has been the case since the introduction of the RSA,
with the positive effect on income of returning to work having subsequently been enhanced by
the sharp increase in the employment bonus in 2019.
Graph n° 4: standard of living of households with a member in part-time employment
on the minimum wage, in proportion to the poverty line
Source: France Strategy, Universal income support schemes for low-income households: protection against poverty
and the incentive to work since 2000. A typical case analysis, 2019
Thus, although it does not allow people to cross the monetary poverty line, the RSA
does, however, make it possible to significantly reduce its intensity and provides effective
protection against extreme poverty, while encouraging work in almost all situations.
To what extent does the RSA facilitate access to employment ?
This evaluative question echoes the second objective established by law for the RSA,
“to encourage beneficiaries to undertake or return to work”
. This gives rise to two areas
of analysis: that of incentives to work and that of effective access to employment.
Monetary incentives to work are now guaranteed in the majority of situations
The major innovation of the RSA consists of its incentive mechanism: in the case of work,
the beneficiary of the RSA no longer sees their benefit reduced on the basis of their total
income, but only on 38% of it.
Studies carried out since 2009 all concur that this
“activation” of the basic welfare benefit,
continued and subsequently enhanced by the employment bonus, has increased the level of
monetary incentives to work. A positive effect was measured, when the RSA was introduced,
on the behaviour of certain groups of recipients, such as young people aged around 25, single
mothers with young children or women in a couple seeking to work part-time. Other studies
covering all national benefits show the key role of the RSA in reducing the level of deductions
for low wages and, consequently, in encouraging work and increasing working hours.
Moreover, the aforementioned Equinoxe study shows that in a sample of 20
municipalities, the RSA has engendered a reconfiguration of local support. While the latter
created threshold effects on leaving the RMI and penalised a return to work (you would need
to work for an extra 13 hours per week on the minimum wage to compensate for the loss of
local benefits in the case of returning to work), their convergence with the RSA scale has
resulted in the almost universal disappearance of unemployment traps.
Although a degree of caution should be exercised when analysing these results, which
only relate to the scales of benefits and do not include certain costs associated with returning
to work (childcare, transport, etc.), the RSA has fulfilled its established objective, except for
certain residual arrangements relating specifically to young students and apprentices, working
couples or some local support. The ability of beneficiaries to correctly assess and anticipate
the gains associated with returning to work nevertheless remains an issue, with support
organisations themselves sometimes experiencing difficulties in evaluating the combined
effects of a salary, the employment bonus and future welfare support after returning to work.
Access to employment remains difficult for RSA beneficiaries
By contrast, in terms of effective access to employment, the difficulties for RSA
beneficiaries remain very significant. Their rate of return to work, of 3.9% per month in 2019,
is not only much lower than the average for job seekers (8.2%), but it is also lower than that of
all other groups benefiting from specific schemes (long-term job seekers, residents of priority
areas identified in municipal policies (QPV), people over the age of 50, etc.). Only disabled
workers experience a lower monthly rate of return to work, but one that is still quite close, at
3.3% on average.
Moving into employment for RSA beneficiaries is also more precarious. In the event of a
return to work, 68% of non-RSA beneficiaries gain access to long-term employment (i.e. for
more than six months), whereas this is the case for only 56% of RSA beneficiaries. Leaving
the RSA often takes place in chaotic conditions: within five years of leaving the RSA, although
30% of former recipients do not experience any work transition (either they remain in
employment or they remain unemployed), two-thirds change position on average 3.8 times,
which is equivalent to switching between employment and unemployment twice in five years.
This instability, which is expected given the general trend towards increasing alternation
between unemployment and employment, is particularly pronounced for former recipients,
41% of whom return to the RSA after leaving it.
In total, seven years after a cohort of recipients first benefit from the RSA, only 34% have
left it and are in work
and of these, only a third are in stable employment. 24% have left the
RSA without work, of which a quarter (i.e. 6% of the cohort) are in receipt of the disabled adults
allowance (AAH). Ultimately, 42% are still in receipt of the RSA. This proportion broadly
corresponds that of the RSA “halo”, which the evaluation has identified, i.e. people who benefit
from the RSA continuously over a long period or only leave it temporarily. Although the RSA is
designed to be a temporary safety net facilitating access to work, it only fulfils this role in the
long term for about a third of its beneficiaries, which raises the question of its adaptation to
those people experiencing the greatest difficulties finding employment.
Graph n° 5: monitoring of a cohort of entrants to the RSA
Source: financial jurisdictions, on the basis of ENIACRAMS
These difficulties probably explain why access to employment is a secondary aspect in
the perception that beneficiaries themselves have of the RSA. Only 29% believe that the RSA
will allow them to obtain a fixed-term contract or a temporary job and 21% that it will allow them
to obtain a permanent contract. However, only 15% of beneficiaries surveyed cite access to
employment among the areas for improvement of the RSA that they would like to see. Contrary
to the idea of a step towards employment highlighted when it was established, the RSA is
primarily, and increasingly, seen by its beneficiaries and by those who support them as a
minimum income. It is in view of this reality that the effectiveness of rights and obligations must
be evaluated.
The answer to the third evaluative question is therefore very mixed: the fact that there
are now almost no more “unemployment traps” can be considered as the main success of the
RSA as regards the objectives set when it was established, but the difficulties encountered by
its recipients in actually gaining access to employment remain very significant. This situation
raises questions in a model where income from work is supposed to represent the main
safeguard against poverty: the “promise” of the RSA is not kept for almos
t two thirds of its
Is the support real and effective?
The third and final objective of the RSA is social and professional integration by means
of appropriate support, intended as a right and an obligation for the beneficiary and for their
support organisation. Two questions arise from this: first, what is the reality of the support and
what is its content? The answer to this question is a necessary prerequisite; analysis can only
be pursued if the consistency of the support is sufficient to measure its effects. Once the reality
of this support has been assessed, what can be said of its
, i.e. the social and
professional integration of its beneficiaries?
Referral to support organisations: major shortcomings
The first stage of individual pathways, referral to a support organisation does not happen
for 18% of recipients
a proportion that remains at 12% for those in receipt for more than five
years. The referral period itself is a long way from the objective established by law (two
months), as well as by the national strategy for combating poverty presented in 2018 (one
month): it is 95 days on average.
The quality of referral is more difficult to assess, but there appear to be notable
inconsistencies on both a national and departmental level. The respective proportions of
professional support, provided by Pôle emploi, or social support provided by the department
and its agencies, vary to a considerable extent from one region to another, without it being
possible to explain this disparity on the basis of the economic and social reality of departments
or the specific difficulties of beneficiaries. In 2019, although, on average, 41% of RSA
beneficiaries were referred to Pôle emploi, this proportion varied from 0% in Corrèze and 4%
in Marne and Var, to 65% in Allier and 71% in Réunion.
Map n°1: proportion of people with Pôle emploi as the sole referral organisation
among RSA beneficiaries referred (end of 2018)
Source: Drees (Directorate for Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics), OARSA 2018
In other words, depending on their department of residence, the same beneficiary is likely
to be supported by Pôle emploi or by organisations whose core activity is different. This
situation raises the issue of the appropriate balance between individual needs and the
responses provided. In fact, Pôle emploi confirms that a significant proportion of the people
referred to its agencies are in reality not prepared for employment and would rather warrant
social support.
These failures in terms of the initial referral are not corrected by subsequent re-referrals,
as these are rare. Therefore, only 5% of people experienced a change in the type of support
(from “professional” to “social” or vice versa) during the course of 2
018, the last year for which
this detailed data can be reliably used. The compartmentalisation of different types of support
may therefore contribute to locking people into pathways that are not suited to their needs for
many years.
The serious shortcomings of social and socio-professional support
While the reciprocal commitment contract (CER) is supposed to be the central tool for
social support and the condition for monitoring it, only 50% of RSA beneficiaries referred to
this type of pathway actually have one.
Although the contract is initially signed within 53 days
on average, it is subsequently not widely monitored as only 20% of people have a valid
Analysis of the content of contracts also reveals a lack of substance: the number of
actions proposed is very low (often less than two actions per contract), these are often
relatively intangible and may relate to simple behavioural precepts. Ultimately, 76% of the
CERs do not contain any actions geared towards preparation for seeking employment.
Moreover, although the precise quantification of support proves difficult due to the lack
of information systems, a very clear lack of intensity can be observed. The number of people
monitored by each social worker varies from 55 to 144 in the departments studied, and the
RSA is often only a secondary priority in comparison to child protection or violent or emergency
situations, which are brought to the attention of those social workers who are not specialists.
The frequency of support interviews is even less well known, but it is almost systematically
less than three per year, with an average of 1.4 in one of the departments studied.
Ultimately, in several departments and as part of hearings organized by the financial
jurisdictions, a sometimes ambivalent position of social workers as regards the principle of
rights and obligations has been reported, with them expressing reservations about the need to
take notice of the content of contracts and to punish failures to fulfil the commitments contained
These findings, based on an analysis of several hundred contracts selected at random
in the nine departments studied, strongly suggest that the CER is currently only a formality
without any real bearing. This weakness in terms of social support appears to be out of step
with the finding that a large number of beneficiaries have been stuck in the system for many
years: for these people, the very relevance of the defined framework of the RSA benefit, and
the notion of rights and obligations in particular, is called into question.
In the opinion of beneficiaries, support is therefore the first component of the RSA, which
needs to be improved: 35% of them expect better monitoring, compared to only 12% who are
asking for an increase in the benefit.
Professional support from Pôle emploi
The first stages of the process are more structured at Pôle emploi than in the
departments: systematic completion of an individual assessment within an average of 21 days
after registration, signing of the individual job-seeking plan (PPAE), in lieu of a support contract,
for all RSA beneficiaries and a distinction of four types of support with increasing levels of
intensity, between which people are divided.
The results are more mixed in terms of the actual content of support, as can be seen
from the highly developed information system operated by Pôle emploi. Despite their particular
difficulties, RSA recipients derive little benefit from the differentiation of mechanisms put in
place by the operator: almost 70% of them receive the least intensive types of support
(compared to 77% on average for job seekers), while services and training are rare, even in
the case of so-
called “enhanced” support, with 0.6 services per year on average. Paradoxically,
within the same type of support, RSA beneficiaries have fewer interviews with their referral
advisor than other job seekers (-17% to -24%). The rights and obligations attached to the RSA
are not monitored, unlike monitoring of job seeking linked to unemployment insurance.
Only “global” supp
ort, set up in partnership with the departments, really makes it possible
to reinforce support and have a positive impact on the return to work. With a limited capacity
(69,000 people at the end of 2019), it was only of benefit to 4% of RSA recipients before its
ramp-up in 2021.
More generally, the limited capacity to provide the most intensive types of support may
result in a form of reverse selectivity, by excluding the beneficiaries in the greatest difficulty
from it. As a result, the intensity of support decreases with the length of unemployment, and
for a large number of RSA beneficiaries who are very long-term unemployed, Pôle emploi no
longer really has a solution.
This last focus of evaluation relating to support highlights the most significant
shortcomings of the RSA. In practice, support for beneficiaries is virtually indistinguishable
from support under common law, either social or professional, which is likely to be offered to
everyone and, where it exists, it is inconsistent with needs from the referral stage, there is a
marked weakness in terms of support actions, often merely token conclusion of contracts and
almost non-
existent individual monitoring of “rights and obligations”.
On conclusion of the work carried out by the financial jurisdictions, the results for the
RSA appear to be mixed. It has two major successes to its credit: the protection of recipients
against extreme poverty and the removal of unemployment traps. However, three major
weaknesses are identified: a failure to sufficiently reach the intended beneficiaries, which
allows precarious situations and exclusion to persist, a weakness in terms of support and the
conclusion of contracts, which compromises the prospects for inclusion and adopts as the
default the principle of rights and obligations sought by the legislator and,
, a difficulty
in accessing employment, which compromises the scheme’s core commitment to make
income from work the main safeguard against poverty.
In view of these findings, the financial jurisdictions have formulated seventeen specific
recommendations, which are based on three general guidelines:
Guideline° 1
An increase in coverage of the target population: beyond the useful and
necessary improvement of current tools intended to facilitate payment of the benefit, a
further step must be taken by embarking on tests to automate the notification of eligibility
for the RSA. The financial jurisdictions believe that automation of the payment of
entitlements (rights) themselves would only be plausible if these were separated from an
obligation to provide support, which is not the current philosophy of the RSA and is not in
line with guidelines proposed herein.
Guideline° 2:
The full implementation of reciprocal rights and obligations: a core principle of
the RSA but currently misdirected, the rights and obligations of the recipient, as well as the
support organisations, must regain their full meaning, in accordance with what is
established by law. This involves strengthening rights (improving and securing payment of
the benefit, improved adaptation of support and its intensity to individual difficulties) as well
as actual monitoring of obligations. Formalisation of the support organisation’s and the
beneficiary’s commitment
s must be systematic, as must the punishment of proven
shortcomings. Finally, the pathways must be better adapted to people’s changing needs,
to avoid long-term entrenchment in the RSA and to better take account of the situation of
recipients who are perma
nently “stuck” there and experiencing difficulties obtaining work.
Guideline n° 3
:Increased accountability of departments and a reform of funding: although the
departments, the welfare leaders, are expected to continue to be responsible for the RSA
and social inclusion policy, additional measures must be taken in order to ensure that the
changes recommended herein are possible and properly supervised in accordance with
the principle of “funder = decision
maker” (exchange of data between those involved,
establishment of statistical monitoring of individual pathways, coordination of partners and
reform of RSA funding).
In the absence of a strong commitment from all those involved, for a growing number of
people, the RSA risks becoming a simple survivors’ benefit, reflecting
a failure to fulfil the aims
stated in 2008 when it was established.
On payment of the benefit
Intended for the state, departments, the Cnaf and the CCMSA
Simplify, accelerate and secure payment of the benefit by improving all the tools, including
the online procedure, simulations and automation of the quarterly declaration, as well as
the exchange of data between public authorities and operators.
Complete the job of simplifying and harmonising regulations relating to the RSA and other
solidarity benefits, particularly with regard to the income taken into account when
calculating entitlements.
Test the automation of information on probable eligibility for the benefit, in order to measure the
impact on non-take-up and the quality of service, and to identify the prerequisites for a possible roll-
On support and pathways
Intended for the state, local authorities, Pôle emploi and all referral organisations
Include in the Territorial Employment Pacts (PTI), set out in Article L. 263-2 of the Social
Action and Family Code, the definition of guidelines relating to the referral system for
beneficiaries, including in particular the main criteria for choosing the pathway that is best
suited to their needs.
Conduct a precise and complete assessment of the situation of people and their needs
before enrolling them for types of support with a different duration and intensity.
Make best use of greater differentiation of support methods to intensify the content of the
contract and the specified actions for people in the greatest difficulty.
Re-examine the assessment and referral of people between support organisations on the
expiry/renewal date of the contract (CER and PPAE), in order to better meet their needs.
In order to prevent excessive and entrenched periods in receipt of the RSA, systematically
offer enrolment on a training or employment pathway no later than two years after entering
the system, by making use of all forms of subsidised employment, if necessary.
Remove the last arrangements disincentivising work caused by the scales for determining
Improve knowledge of related local support in order to identify the existence of possible
dissuasive effects as regards employment within territories.
On rights and obligations
Intended for departments, Pôle emploi and all referral organisations
Systematically establish in contracts the support
organisation’s and the beneficiary’s
commitments, in the form of specific, measurable and enforceable actions.
Make the contract the real tool for monitoring pathways by making its content, as well as
monitoring of its execution, accessible to the beneficiary and to all the institutions involved
at all times.
Systematically punish proven breaches of contractual obligations binding the beneficiary
and their support organisation.
On governance and funding of the scheme
Intended for the state, departments, Pôle emploi, the Cnaf and the CCMSA
Enhance coordination under the authority of the department by merging the PTI and the
departmental integration plan into a single supervision and programming document, and
by involving at least the state, the CAF, the region and Pôle emploi.
Establish a departmental body bringing together the signatories to this new single
document in order to monitor it and examine its annual review, as well as the results
originating from statistical monitoring of individual pathways.
Continue and expand the implementation of statistical monitoring of individual integration
pathways by matching the databases of all those involved, thereby facilitating the
standardised monitoring of individual referrals and re-referrals, the types of support and
support actions used, the results of support and the resources devoted to it.
Reform the RSA funding mechanism by focusing on the transfer of sustainable resources,
the nature of which is consistent with that of spending, to departments.