Sort by *
14 February 2024
Communication to the Senate Finance Committee
Created on 1
January 2020, the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (ANCT) is a public
body that aims to facilitate projects led by local authorities, by deploying State schemes to
promote territorial cohesion and by facilitating access to technical support for small local
authorities. The ANCT is placed under the supervision of the ministers responsible for
regional planning, local authorities and urban policy, with administrative supervision
provided by the Directorate-General for Local Authorities of the ministry of the interior
(DGCL). The Court of Accounts examined the operation of the ANCT in order to assess the
conditions under which it was created and its future perspectives, although it did not audit
or assess all the public policies and programmes carried out by the ANCT.
Complex governance resulting from the compromise that led to its creation
The ANCT was created from the merger of the General Commission for Territorial Equality
(CGET), the Digital Agency and the national public body for the development and restructuring
of commercial and artisanal spaces (EPARECA). Although the benefits of bringing together just
three bodies have yet to be demonstrated, there is no reason to question this scope. The launch
of its activities was disrupted by the health crisis, which occurred less than three months after
its creation. The ANCT's policies cover the management of policy towards disavdvantaged urban
areas and their inhabitants, State measures to towns, rural areas and mountain
, the roll-
out of very high-speed broadband, digital access, policies for access to public services and
support for the creation of
tiers lieux
. The ANCT is the coordinating authority for the
management of European funds and has managed the implementation of a large number of
national schemes, which bear witness to its action in the field. It is also responsible for observing
and understanding regional issues.
Consolidation of administrative organisation, a prerequisite for the “viability” of the ANCT
However, the way it carries out its missions is hampered by internal difficulties. The policies
that it promotes require active support for local authorities, which cannot be provided by its
departments alone, whose staff are mainly based in Paris. Its presence in the territories is
ensured by the
prefects, designated as its territorial delegates by Article 4 of
law no. 2019-753 of 22 July 2019 creating the ANCT. However, their involvement varies greatly
from one
to another, which can lead to differences in treatment between
territories. Moreover, the eight
mission leaders in support of the ANCT cannot
guarantee deployment of the “
” technical support promised by the public body.
Its departments are organised into divisions accustomed to a high degree of autonomy, which
makes it difficult to standardise management rules. It is therefore necessary to strengthen the
link between the general secretariat and the business divisions by providing the ANCT with
appropriate management tools. Lastly, HR tools are unreliable, as is IT system management,
which is lacking in terms of strategic guidance and security.
Internal budgetary and accounting controls to be continued
The ANCT’s specific budget (€117 million in appropriations paid in 2022) does not reflect the
full financial amounts of the schemes in which it is involved, which total several billion euros.
This lack of clarity reflects the complexity of the financial arrangements for national territorial
cohesion schemes. ANCT revenues are supplemented at the end of the year by transfer
agreements or additional subsidies. This addition at the end of the financial year hinders the
preparation of a provisional budget and a multi-year financial strategy. New missions are
regularly entrusted to the agency, without the corresponding resources being systematically
allocated. As a result, the ANCT has not been able to put in place the budgetary and accounting
analysis tools that would enable it to accurately determine the expenditure and revenue for
each of its missions. Given the cash flow generated in its first year of operation, the ANCT has
little structural room for manoeuvre, which confirms the need for a more precise analysis of its
financial position.
A new approach to government action in the regions
The real estate activities taken over from EPARECA (national public body for the development
and restructuring of commercial and artisanal spaces) benefit from the expertise acquired by
the teams of this entity. This activity, which is similar to commercial property development and
investment, should nevertheless be able to accurately determine the results of its activity, from
a multi-year perspective. The relationship between the ANCT's various missions has yet to be
defined. In addition, schemes such as 'Action: Heart of the City’ and ‘Small Towns of Tomorrow’,
which mobilise State aid and operators around regional projects developed by local authorities,
Maisons France service
, which aim to strengthen the presence of public services in rural
areas or disavantadged areas, have been well received by elected representatives and local
authorities. While the initial results appear satisfactory, albeit uneven, the ANCT must now
focus its efforts on consolidating its internal operations and the management of the resources
allocated to it, as well as on strengthening its links with the areas in which it operates.
Read the report
Julie Poissier
Head of Media & Social Networks
+33 (0)6 87 36 52 21
Sarah Gay
Press Relations Officer
+33 (0)6 50 86 91 83
des Comptes
Cour des Comptes