Sort by *
Follow-up of recommendations
These summaries are intended to facilitate the understanding and
use of the report produced by the Cour des comptes.
Only the original report is legally binding on the Cour des
The responses of the administrations and government authorities
concerned appear after the report.
The order of the summaries corresponds to the order of the
chapters of the report.
The Cour des comptes is responsible for ensuring that public funds are used
properly. It examines public management, policies, and accounts and rules on
their compliance with the applicable rules and standards as well as on the
efficiency and effectiveness of actions taken.
The Cour des comptes has also been called upon – particularly since the early
2000s – to fulfill two complementary and recurring expectations: propose
solutions to shortcomings that it identifies and ensure that public policy-
makers follow up on its interventions.
The legislator has gradually established these two expectations as obligations
that the Cour des comptes is now required to fulfill.
It endeavours to do so by generalising recommendations and systematising the
periodic review of the follow-up actions taken. In the same way, the regional and
territorial chambers of accounts undertook an approach in 2013 established by
the act of 7 August 2015 on the new territorial organisation of the Republic,
which entrusts the chambers with responsibility for producing an annual sum-
mary of monitoring reports on their final observations.
The Cour des comptes' review of the follow-up actions taken in response to its
interventions is organised as follows
• at the beginning of each audit, a thorough analysis of the follow-up actions
resulting from the observations made at the conclusion of the previous audit;
• between two periodic audits, if the need arises, the performance of a follow-up
audit, limited to the examination of the follow-up actions of the previous audit,
or the anticipation of the next thorough audit;
• lastly, with the new Article L. 143-10-1, introduced in the French financial
jurisdiction code by the supplementary budget act of 29 July 2011, the legislator
institutionalised the monitoring of interventions of the Cour des comptes, by
establishing a particularly ambitious configuration and obligations for both the
recipients of the observations and for the Cour des comptes itself:
the recipients of the final observations of the Cour des comptes are required
to provide it with reports on the follow-up actions that they have given to
Synthèses du Rapport public annuel 2016 de la Cour des comptes
1) These principles are incorporated into the professional standards: Collection of professional
standards, chapter 3 – C, available at
the Cour des comptes presents these follow-up actions in its annual public
report, on the basis of the reports provided.
This booklet first presents the
overall results of the follow-up carried out by
the Cour des comptes on all of its recommendations made public
in 2012 to
2014 (chapter I). It then provides the summaries of
14 follow-up investigations
that it performed.
These 14 texts are grouped into three categories, each represented by a
colour, depending on the degree of implementation of the recommendations
previously made by the financial courts:
category 1 (green) (chapter II):
the Cour des comptes notes progress
category 2 (orange) (chapter III):
the Cour des comptes insists
category 3 (red) (chapter IV):
the Cour des comptes warns
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
The expression and follow-up of recommendations
according to ISSAI 300
The follow-up of recommendations and the publication of the work of the Cour
des comptes meet the professional standards and best practice guidelines for
auditors in the public sector approved by the International Organisation of
Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).
To that end, ISSAI 300 sets out fundamental principles relating to the expression
and follow-up of recommendations for performance audits.
It provides that “auditors should seek to provide constructive recommendations
that are likely to contribute significantly to addressing the weaknesses or
problems identified by the audit”. Quality criteria are set out. In particular,
recommendations must “address the causes of problems and/or weaknesses,”
must be expressed “in such a way that avoids truisms or simply inverting the
audit conclusions”. The recipient of each recommendation, as well as the person
responsible for taking any initiative, must be identified and cited. The meaning
and relevancy of the recommendations should be mentioned, indicating “how
they will contribute to better performance”.
This standard was transposed into the professional standards of the Cour des
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Follow-up of recommendations
Chapter I - Follow-up of recommendations in 2015
Chapter II - The Cour des comptes notes progress
Energy efficiency certificates: an improved system
. . . . . . . . . . .13
Biofuels: improved results, necessary adjustments
. . . . . . . . . . . .17
Reducing exceptional resources in the funding of national
defence: a welcome clarification
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Chapter III - The Cour des comptes insists
Sciences Po: adjustment efforts to be finalised
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Urban policy: a renovated framework, priorities to be clarified
to be strengthened
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
The fight against tax fraud: progress to be confirmed
. . . . . . . . .36
Reforming agriculture aid paying agencies: a strategy to be
defined, savings to be sought
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Run-off management of Dexia: precarious initial results, conclusions
to be drawn about liability in case of a financial disaster
. . . . . . . . . .42
Rail transport in the Greater Paris region since 2010: significant
progress, persistent insufficiencies
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
Chapter IV - The Cour des comptes warns
National centre for territorial civil service (CNFPT): train better,
tax less
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Preventive archaeology policy: late adjustment measures, an operator
to be thoroughly reformed
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Military pay: despite efforts undertaken, problems persist
. . . . .57
Amnéville indoor ski area: under-used equipment, a risky
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Chapter I
Follow-up of recommendations
in 2015
Follow-up of recommendations in 2015
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
The degree of implementation of the recommendations made by the Cour des
comptes published over the last three years is the main performance indicator
of the State budget programme related to financial courts (programme 164 –
Cour des comptes and other financial courts).
This indicator is defined as the proportion, in the most significant recommendations
made during the period, of those that have been followed by effective implementation.
In order to be considered effective, the implementation does not necessarily need
to be total; it may be only partial.
For the 2015 campaign of follow-up of recommendations, the Cour des
comptes decided to better take into account the variety of situations covered
by the category of recommendations partially implemented, which could range
from effectively partial implementation, or even very partial implementation
(experimentation), to implementation in progress with a view to total
implementation. As such, this year, recommendations that were previously
rated as “partially implemented” have been classified under two new ratings:
• “implementation in progress”, which applies to recommendations for which
implementation has been initiated with a timetable for implementation. The
perspective here is clearly full implementation;
• “incomplete implementation”, which applies to recommendations for which
implementation is only partial in its content.
These two new ratings have made it possible to reflect as best as possible the reality
of the process of implementation of the recommendations by the administrations
concerned and to better understand the degree of implementation of each
recommendation in the three consecutive years of follow-up.
After a significant increase in the number of recommendations made and followed
up by the Cour des comptes until 2014, this number decreased in 2015
(1,792 recommendations followed up in 2015 versus 1,924 in 2014). 2012 and
2013 were marked by a particularly high number of publications, which had a major
impact on the number of recommendations to be followed up in 2014, but this
number has decreased since then.
The recommendation follow-up indicator is stable in 2015: 70% of the
recommendations are totally or partially implemented, after an increase of
7.8 points between 2013 and 2014. Thus, of the 1,792 recommendations followed
up in 2015, 1,256 were partially or fully implemented.
Follow-up of recommendations in 2015
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Change in the recommendation follow-up indicator for the last three years
(follow-up of
tions made in
2010, 2011,
and 2012)
(follow-up of
tions made in
2011, 2012,
and 2013)
(follow-up of
tions made in
2012, 2013,
and 2014)
Number of recommendations
subject to follow-up
+ 7.30%
of which recommendations
partially or fully implemented
(in %)
62 %)
(69,8 %)
(70 %)
+ 21.59%
Source : Cour des comptes
*Including implementation in progress and incomplete implementation.
of recommendations
As %
of number
of recommendations
Fully implemented
Implementation in progress
Incomplete implementation
Not implemented
Now irrelevant
Refusal to implement
Rating of recommendations followed in 2015
Source : Cour des comptes
Chapter II
The Cour des comptes notes progress
Energy efficiency certificates: an improved system
Biofuels: improved results, necessary adjustments
Reducing exceptional resources in the funding of national
defence: a welcome clarification
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Energy efficiency certificates:
an improved system
Created by the programming law
setting the guidelines for energy
policy of 13 July 2005, the energy
efficiency certificates (EEC) are
intended to provide an incentive to
energy suppliers to promote energy
efficiency to their customers by imposing
on them a three-year obligation to
generate savings. This measure is
among the various tools involved in the
control of energy consumption (such as
the tax credit for the energy transition
or the no-interest eco-loan).
Although the Cour des comptes
validated the principles and general
operation of the EECs in its 2013 report,
it also issued 12 recommendations that
revolved around three main ambitions:
- launch new targets and actions to
increase the dynamism of the
- streamline administrative proce-
dures, particularly in order to
improve EEC application processing
times, reduce the burden for liable
parties and eligible parties, and
simplify the governance of the
- improve the effectiveness and
sustainability of the EECs by
reinforcing the assessment of
energy conservation and ensuring
its transparency and security.
Two years after its report and in the
light of the qualitative and quantitative
issues, the Cour des comptes wondered
about the follow-up actions taken in
response to the recommendations that
it had made.
The EECs, which now actively help
reduce energy consumption, present
three advantages: a low cost for
public finances, real autonomy for
players in how the targets are
achieved, and an important role in
raising awareness.
Since their creation, the EECs – which
Europe – have contributed €24bn to
help fund energy-efficiency work and
generated €2bn in annual savings for
The EEC mechanism, which was launched
in 2006 and recently entered its third
period of activity on 1 January 2015,
quickly gained ground.
Energy efficiency certificates:
an improved system
Source: Cour des comptes, according to data from the DGEC and the ADEME (French environment
and energy management agency)
The principle of energy efficiency certificates
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
A mechanism that has become
more effective
The effectiveness of the EECs has
gradually improved, in line with the
recommendations of the Cour des
comptes, under the effect of four factors:
- a periodically updated mechanism.
Ten working groups and 150 experts
reviewed nearly 95% of the volume
of EECs issued in the 2
period, thus
allowing the energy gains related
to the various operations to be
updated. This operation should be
finalised in 2016;
- a simplification of procedures
was implemented. The increase in
the minimum threshold and the
mode for submitting an EEC
application are in keeping with
this perspective. Similarly, the
dematerialisation project could soon
be finalised, with implementation
planned in 2017 by the directorate
general for energy and climate
- an optimisation of ongoing pro-
grammes. In the case of the “Habiter
mieux” (Live better) programme, a
new faster process for EEC recovery,
registration, and distribution among
participating local government
authorities was gradually imple-
- better targeting, with the imple-
mentation of a dedicated obligation
benefiting households in precarious
energy situations. This obligation,
set at 150 TWh for 2016 and 2017,
1 January 2016. It now involves a
Energy efficiency certificates:
an improved system
The increased importance of EECs
Source: Cour des comptes according to DGEC data
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
ramp-up of energy conservation
actions for the benefit of the
households concerned.
Two years after its report on the EECs,
the Cour des comptes finds that a
large part of its recommendations
have been taken into account, and the
improvements permit better targeting
and greater effectiveness of the
Beyond these rather positive develop-
ments, the Cour des comptes identified
several areas where further progress is
Areas requiring
further progress
In 2013, the Cour des comptes stressed
that the EEC mechanism, like any
public policy, should be periodically
monitored and assessed.
The policy of post-audits, implemented
starting in 2014, still appears insufficient
and should be reinforced in the short
term with sampling better suited to the
estimated risks. The act of 17 August
2015 on the energy transition to green
growth also provides for a set of
penalties commensurate with the
seriousness of the deficiencies found.
Although the EECs were the subject of
fragmented studies, now it is essential
to define a true methodology for
assessing the effectiveness and
performance of the mechanism.
Lastly, there must be control over the
risks resulting from a certificate
exchange mechanism characterised
by a certain lack of transparency
and security in the monitoring of
Energy efficiency certificates:
an improved system
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
make retrospective studies with
liable parties mandatory in order
to improve knowledge of the
savings actually obtained thanks
to EEC-funded operations;
ensure the transparency and
security of transactions by separating
the certificate registration functions
and the management of transactions;
gradually implement the additional
“energy poverty” obligation provided
for by the law on the energy transition
to green growth;
continue the simplification of the
develop the procedures for post-
audits on the supporting evidence
for the allocation of certificates.
Biofuels: improved results,
necessary adjustments
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Conventional biofuel production sectors
Source : IFP énergies nouvelles
Biofuels are produced from biomass
and are blended with fuels. Ethanol, to
be mixed with gasoline, is processed
from wheat, corn or beets while bio-
diesel, mixed with diesel fuel, is made
from rapeseed or sunflower oil.
France has a share in world produc-
tion of 3%, i.e. 1.1 bn litres of ethanol
and 2.1 bn litres of biodiesel in 2014.
This production has been stable over
the last five years.
Within a European framework targe-
ting 10% renewable energy in trans-
portation by 2020, French policy has
so far relied on several instruments in
order to support production (reduced
for authorized production
units) and to impose blending to dis-
tributors (TGAP
which imposes a
stiff penalty in case blending targets
are not met).
In its 2012 public policy evaluation,
the Cour des comptes concluded this
policy had been:
- moderately effective in terms of
support to agriculture;
limited with regard to energy inde-
TICPE: domestic consumption tax on energy products
TGAP: general tax on polluting activities
Biofuels : improved results,
necessary adjustments
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
- difficult to quantify in terms of
reductions of greenhouse gas
emissions. Furthermore, its impact
on the price of agricultural com-
modities gave rise to considerable
Faced with the inconsistencies in the
biofuels support policy, the Cour des
comptes issued three sets of recom-
mendations in the case this policy
was to be continued:
R1. acknowledge that French blen-
ding targets were too ambitious
and redefine more realistic ones;
R2. speed up the end of TICPE
exemption while keeping TGAP at
a high enough level in order to
make sure blending targets are
R3. better satisfy feasibility require-
ments and policy consistency with
regard to environmental regula-
tions and energy taxation, espe-
cially at European level.
More realistic policy objectives
Five years later, the Cour des comptes
- starting in 2013, progress was
made in the blending targets, but
more so because of tricks such as
double counting of animal fat or
used edible oils or taking into
account nonroad diesel fuel;
- blending targets are now more
realistic (R1) stabilized at 7% in
energy content for ethanol in
gasoline and 7,7% for biodiesel in
diesel fuel.
However, the implementation of this
policy is not yet fully consistent. Because
of the excessive number of authorized
production units, overcapacity is impor-
tant. In addition, for gasoline, there is
still a contradiction between 7% mini-
mum blending in energy content (which
requires 10,6% in volume) and the fuel
quality directive which prohibits selling
gasoline with more than 10% blending
in volume.
Even if environmental objectives (R3)
are better met, the new European rule
introduced in 2015 capping at 7% bio-
fuels that compete with food commo-
dities makes the 10% target of rene-
wable fuels in transportation by 2020
even more difficult to achieve. At the
same time, large scale application of
second generation biofuels that use
biomass as a whole, including waste,
are not expected within the next
A more appropriate taxation,
a lesser cost of support
Cumulative TICPE exemptions reached
€3.6bn between 2005 and 2015, but,
from 2016 onwards, this tax exemption
is no longer renewed, as the Cour des
comptes suggested (R2).
Biofuels : improved results,
necessary adjustments
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Source: Cour des comptes according to data from the general directorate of customs and excise
(projected for 2015)
Amount of TICPE exemptions
The high cost of this policy has in fact
been mainly borne by the consumer.
Indeed, because of the lower energy
content of biofuels, motorists travel
fewer kilometres on biofuels for the
same volume of fuel purchased.
Source: Cour des comptes according to “Biofuels in France”, August 2012 (French union of oil
industries, UFIP)
Biofuels: improved results,
necessary adjustments
However, as the Cour noted in 2012,
because of this overconsumption of fuel,
the state receives additional tax reve-
nues. These are estimated at €2.2bn over
the period 2005-2015. If one adds the
fact that TGAP, kept at a high level (R2),
returned €0.9bn to the state, one can see
that the overall balance did not exceed
€0.5bn over 10 years.
As far as the consumer is concerned,
the additional cost of the inclusion of
biofuels was approximately 1.5 ct per
litre of diesel and 2.6 ct per litre of
petrol in 2014. However, the 2 ct diffe-
rence in TICPE between SP95 and
SP95-E10, introduced in 2016, will jus-
tifiably offset in a large part the addi-
tional cost of SP95-E10, also making
the excess corresponding tax disap-
Necessary adaptations
in a changing context
Given the harshness of the European
controversies concerning its environ-
mental benefits, the policy toward
biofuels has become indecisive. For
one, the incorporation targets set by
the EU end in 2020. The 2030 climate
and energy package no longer sets a
target for renewable energies in trans-
port, whereas the French law on the
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
energy transition to green growth has
established a target of 15% for these
energies. These reasons have led the
Cour des comptes to recommend an
adjustment of goals and tools in order
to achieve the target of 10% renewa-
ble energy in transport by 2020.
Furthermore, reinforcing transparency
vis-à-vis the consumer would guaran-
tee a better acceptability of biofuels by
European directives do not contradict
the French law on the energy transition
is also a priority. In order to promote
compliance with Community obliga-
tions, it remains desirable for the TGAP
to be maintained at a high level, but at
a level that could be reduced if neces-
sary to avoid being blamed for having
established a permanent form of taxa-
The Cour des comptes welcomes the
measure it had recommended concer-
ning inclusion of non-road diesel fuel
in the TGAP calculation base to have
been included in part into the supple-
mentary finance act for 2015. It
believes in addition that eliminating
the double-counting of biofuels obtai-
ned from waste and residues in the
TGAP calculation would wisely com-
plement the previous measure.
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Finally, the Cour des comptes
makes four new recommendations
reduce TGAP for ethanol whilst
keeping it at a level sufficiently
Fully apply TGAP to biodiesel
blended into nonroad diesel fuel;
reserve double-counting in TGAP
calculation for next-generation bio-
fuels only with a significant impact
on CO2 emissions;
harmonise the VAT deduction
scheme for professional fleets of die-
sel and gasoline vehicles, at constant
revenues for the State.
Biofuels: improved results,
necessary adjustments
White papers on defence and national
security, published in 2008 and 2013
and transcribed into the military pro-
gramming bills for 2009-2014 then
2014-2019, defined an ambitious
objective for national defence, whilst
attaching an expenditure control
objective. At the same time, the conti-
nuing deterioration of public finances
weighed on the ability to fund military
expenditure through budget credits.
An accommodating process
criticised by the Cour des
In order to fund these expenditures, in
Government resorted to the anticipa-
tion of revenues from the sale of
public assets, both physical (buildings,
public programmes intended to sup-
port investment (future investments
programme – PIA – for example).
Since 2009, the Cour des comptes had
reservations about the use of these
resources, as it indicated in various
reports (on the State’s budget for
2013 and 2014 and on the military
programming bill in 2012), particu-
larly by making the following recom-
- adopt
assumptions in budget construc-
tion, avoiding the use of hypotheti-
cal resources whose implementa-
tion does not depend solely on the
ministry of defence;
- limit the use, in the budget plan-
ning of the Defence mission, of
extra-budgetary resources that are
uncertain in their amount and in
their timetable;
improve the budget forecast of the
ministry of defence, in conjunction
with the ministry responsible for
the budget, using realistic assump-
It warned against the accommodating
nature of the process, stressed the
delays and uncertainties weighing on
against the facilities in their imple-
mentation, in connection with its
annual reports on the State’s budget.
Nevertheless, these resources were
still further used to balance the mili-
tary programming bills.
Reducing exceptional resources
in the funding of national
defence: a welcome clarifica-
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Reducing exceptional resources in the funding
of national defence: a welcome clarification
Source : Cour des comptes
Use of exceptional resources
The projected proportion of all these
“exceptional resources” in the funding
of national defence increased from
2.8% to 4.6% between the military
programming bill for 2009-2014 and
the public finance programming bill
for 2014-2019. They became a subs-
tantial, recurring item for the execu-
tion of the military programming bills,
even though they are, for those
coming from sales of public assets,
Using these exceptional resources
has allowed the State to fund national
defence by exempting itself from res-
pecting the “zero volume” expendi-
ture standard.
Systematic under-budgetisa-
Between 2009 and 2013, the reve-
nues expected from sales of public
assets (real estate sales and alloca-
tions of Hertzian frequency bands)
proved to be lower than the forecasts
(€2.96bn versus €3.81bn expected)
and materialised two years late on
resources to fund national defence
led to changes in the operating rules
of tools, such as the two earmarked
accounts devoted to the manage-
ment of State’s real estate and the
enhancement of revenues from the
use of the Hertzian spectrum or, like
the economic recovery plan and the
PIA, created for other objectives.
The exemptions became widespread,
particularly starting in 2011, for the
earmarked accounts and the PIA. The
common law of payment procedures,
through direct pledges and pay-
ments, was respected for only 14% of
expenditure paid to the two earmar-
ked accounts. Exceptional procedures
were implemented until 2013 in the
form of “balancing payments”, consis-
ting in applying to an earmarked
account the balance of payments of a
transaction already initiated on bud-
get credits. However, since then,
efforts have been undertaken to eli-
minate this practice, in accordance
with the recommendations that the
Cour des comptes had made, particu-
larly in the reports relating to annual
budget implementation.
A welcome budgetisation
The Defence Council of 29 April 2015
put a stop to these excesses, and the
act of 29 July 2015 updating the mili-
€5.2bn in budget credits in substitu-
resources. The initial 2016 budget act
thus provided for €1.6bn in budget
credits to replace the exceptional
revenues and €0.6bn for the increase
in the Defence budget; it also put an
end to the Hertzian spectrum earmar-
ked account. The supplementary 2015
budget act allocated €2.1bn in budget
The Cour des comptes welcomes this
approach, which should be continued
during the next four financial years for
amounts that are all the more subs-
tantial given that, simultaneously, the
military programming updating bill
devoted a significant revaluation of
the budget credits allocated to the
Defence mission. This double effort of
resources is particularly significant
(reaching €9bn).
The Cour des comptes calls for efforts
to strengthen this approach in the
future, to the extent that the amount
provided for exceptional resources
still remains high (€0.9bn).
Eliminate any use of exceptional
resources to ensure the balance of
the funding of the Defence mission
in the military programming bills.
(1) 2009-2014 military programming bill; (2) 2014-2019 military programming bill; (3) After the 2014-
2019 public finance programming bill and the 2014 finance act (initial and supplementary); (4) 2015-
2019 military programming updating bill.
Source : Cour des comptes according to data from the ministry of defence
The expected amounts of exceptional resources
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Reducing exceptional resources in the funding
of national defence: a welcome clarification
Chapter III
The Cour des comptes insists
Sciences Po: adjustment efforts to be finalised
City policy: a renovated framework, priorities to be
The fight against tobacco: a policy to be strengthened
The fight against tax fraud: progress to be confirmed
Reforming agriculture aid paying agencies: a strategy to
be defined, savings to be sought
Run-off management of Dexia: precarious initial results,
conclusions to be drawn about liability in case of a finan-
cial disaster
Rail transport in the Greater Paris region since 2010:
significant progress, persistent insufficiencies
Destabilised by a crisis of growth and
governance, Sciences Po, including
the IEP (Paris political studies insti-
tute) and the FNSP (French national
political science foundation), which
handles its administrative and finan-
cial management, undertook efforts
to straighten out its management
starting in 2013 and a reform of its
articles of association, as recommen-
ded by the Cour des comptes in its
thematic public report of November
2012. However, this movement, which
must be completed, leaves a few areas
of uncertainty for the institution’s
Management irregularities and
remuneration excesses have
been corrected
This effort to straighten out the situa-
tion resulted in:
the return to rules of law regarding
remuneration for teachers under
public status and allocation of
staff housing;
the application of rules relating to
public order that apply to Sciences
Po, a private-law entity pursuing a
general-interest purpose and fun-
ded primarily by public resources;
- the regulation of remuneration of
the various employee categories.
Discretionary decisions have given
way to allocation schemes with
explicit criteria, whether for staff
bonuses or executive remunera-
tion incorporated into the institu-
tion’s salary scales. The annual
total remuneration of the direc-
tor/administrator, which had pea-
ked at €537,000 in 2011, was cut
back to €200,000: €70,000 for the
responsibilities of the administra-
tor of the FNSP and €130,000 for
the responsibilities of director of
the IEP, in “reference” to the remu-
neration of a university president,
but without being aligned with
such remuneration, which does not
exceed €100,000. Furthermore, it
provides for the possibility of a
variable portion, even if the cur-
rent director has chosen not to
receive this.
At this stage, this effort to straighten
out the situation excludes the transi-
tion to the “expanded responsibilities
and skills” scheme introduced by the
universities freedom and responsibi-
lity act of 10 August 2007. Yet, the
transfer to Sciences Po of the payroll
of staff currently paid by the State
(approximately 12% of staff expendi-
tures) would give it more autonomy
and transparency of management.
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Sciences Po: adjustment efforts
to be finalised
Sciences Po:
adjustment efforts to be finalised
Even reformed, the dual gover-
nance is still a source of uncer-
The dual architecture of Sciences Po,
formed from the FNSP (French natio-
nal political science foundation), a pri-
vate-law entity, responsible for admi-
nistrative and financial management,
and the IEP (political studies insti-
tute), a public-law entity, responsible
for education, had changed little since
1945. Sciences Po undertook efforts
to modernise it, particularly by adop-
coming into force at the beginning of
the year 2016. They provide for:
the transfer of research skills from
the FNSP to the IEP, more consis-
tent with the IEP’s ambition to
assert itself as an international
research university;
- reinforcement of the role of the
FNSP’s board of directors, whose
composition is tighter. It relies on
an audit and remuneration com-
mittee and an ethics commission.
It votes on the remuneration of the
director/administrator, who is no
longer a member of the board,
even if present. Meetings are also
attended by two representatives of
the State, who have no right to
vote but have the right to require
the inclusion of items on the
The State, the institution’s primary
financier, is now more involved. In
addition to its presence on the board
of directors, it now has other means to
exercise more effective supervision,
through regular management dia-
logue and the signing of a medium-
term contract incorporating perfor-
mance indicators with targets: the IEP
is committed to the State in the sec-
tion that it devoted to it in the 2014-
2018 site contract of the community
(COMUE) “Sorbonne Paris Cité”, of
which the IEP has been a member
since its creation. The IEP defines the
strategic priorities for research, edu-
cation, and governance.
Nevertheless, by preserving the dual
architecture of 1945, Sciences Po
continues to operate with a gover-
nance whose operating rules are still
uncertain and are sources of compli-
cations. The new articles of associa-
tion do not put an end to the risks of
confusion in the management of per-
sonnel, particularly teachers/resear-
The proper functioning of the system
requires seamless coordination and a
common understanding between the
managing bodies of the FNSP and the
IEP. In fact, this coordination and com-
concentration of the the responsibili-
ties of administrator of the FNSP and
director of the IEP on a single person.
Development prospects call for
particular vigilance
After a decade of growth in its budget
at an annual rate of around 9%,
Sciences Po’s figures are now closer to
3% per year, which should allow it to
pursue its internationalisation objec-
tives. Yet, unlike in the 2000s, neither
the State nor the local government
authorities, the source of 45% of the
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
institution’s budgetary resources in
2014, are able to support it in its new
developments. The second major
source of additional potential reve-
nues, tuition fees, offers limited room
for growth after recently undergoing
significant increases.
The institution must therefore focus
its efforts on its other own resources
(vocational training and sponsorship
of companies or individuals). However,
basing medium-term development
forecasts, even reduced to 3%, on just
these items means very high growth
rates by 2018, which the Cour des
comptes considers ambitious.
In addition to this uncertainty about
resources, there will be uncertainties
from 2020 onwards related to the
planned acquisition and renovation of
the Hôtel de l’Artillerie, currently not
finalised. The objective of this major
real estate project in the heart of Paris
is to allow Sciences Po, currently scat-
tered across many sites, to come toge-
ther. However, this massive operation
may include financial risks requiring
control of the scheduling, calendar,
and projected renovation costs.
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Sciences Po:
adjustment efforts to be finalised
To Sciences Po:
continue the reforms undertaken
with regard to governance;
clarify the conditions for alloca-
ting the variable portion that may
be paid to the administrator;
subject the proposed acquisition
of the Hôtel de l’Artillerie to in-
depth studies relating to the cost of
rehabilitation of the site;
devise and examine alternative
financial scenarios, based on less
optimistic assumptions.
To the State and Sciences Po:
transition the institution to the
expanded responsibilities and skills
scheme, by transferring the payroll
currently managed by the State to it.
The urban policy is “a policy of urban
cohesion and national and local soli-
darity geared towards disadvantaged
neighbourhoods and their inhabi-
tants”. Today it concerns 1,436 neigh-
bourhoods, or nearly 8% of the French
population. Its objective is to reduce
the differences in economic and social
development and improve the living
conditions of the inhabitants of these
In its thematic public report of July
2012, the Cour des comptes pointed
out that despite reforms, the urban
policy still struggled to achieve its
objectives. The assessment of the
implementation of the 18 recommen-
dations that it had issued shows that
half of them were at least partially
taken into account, but the other half
were still not implemented.
Numerous adjustments more
than a comprehensive reform
The management of this policy has
been boosted thanks in particular to
more frequent interministerial com-
mittee meetings.
Particular emphasis has been placed
on the role of inter-communal struc-
tures that are now responsible for
entering into city contracts.
The priority geography was reformed
through a redefinition of the neigh-
bourhoods of the city policy, more
directly targeting the most vulnerable
populations. However, the effects of
this new targeting must be put into
perspective, as the covered popula-
tion is ultimately comparable with
that of the old sensitive urban areas.
The persistence of specific zonings in
other ministerial policies has also limi-
ted the simplification and conver-
gence effort that was undertaken.
Hardly any progress has been made in
the precise identification of the
amounts of the credits allocated to
the neighbourhoods but not depen-
ding directly on the urban policy.
Similarly, the distribution of the speci-
fic credits of the urban policy on the
basis of the observed development
differences must continue to be
Lastly, despite the implementation of
interministerial agreements on objec-
tives, the assessment process has
remained limited and insufficiently
prioritised. The extent of the impact of
the actions of the urban policy
remains difficult to establish.
Urban policy:
a renovated framework,
priorities to be clarified
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Uneven progress in the mobili-
sation of public policies
From “urban renovation” to “urban
The implementation of the French
gramme (PNRU) is expected to conti-
nue until 2021, bringing its total
duration to 18 years. At the end of
2014, 99,840 housing units had been
rebuilt and delivered out of the
140,980 planned.
Urban renovation operations are still
struggling to achieve their objectives.
The quality of the PNRU’s actions is
difficult to assess because of the lack
of data on, for example, the characte-
ristics of the rebuilt housing.
Rehousing operations have not made
However, in order to promote social
diversity, these operations are inten-
ded to decrease the proportion of
social housing in the sector, which
decreased from 65% to 55% on ave-
rage in the neighbourhoods concer-
ned. Yet, the geographical rebalancing
of the social housing supply has been
The opening up of neighbourhoods
comes less from the development of
“functional diversity”, i.e., from all
urban functions (housing, activity,
shops, administrative, cultural, mobi-
lity, recreation facilities, etc.), than
from the development of public trans-
port, allowing it up to open up the
priority neighbourhoods to the rest of
the city.
The new French national urban rene-
wal programme (NPNRU), funded on
the basis of payments spread over
20 years, will follow the PNRU, after a
period of running these two pro-
grammes concurrently between 2015
and 2021.
Despite its name, the NPNRU does
not truly constitute a new pro-
gramme: it covers the same number
of neighbourhoods as the PNRU. This
programme is already encountering
obstacles in the achievement of its
social diversity objectives. It has also
been slow to launch: demolitions were
announced as early as 2015, but, at
the end of September 2015, only one
prefiguration agreement had been
A concentration of efforts in the
field of education to be emphasised
The recent priority education reform
has resulted in a convergence with the
urban policy: 86% of secondary
schools and 84% of primary schools
within the priority education networks
are now located in the priority neigh-
bourhoods or nearby. However, the
extent of the scope covered by the
urban policy is around 20% of secon-
dary school students, which may lead
to a relative scattering of efforts. The
scholastic, extra-curricular, and edu-
cational offering also remains insuffi-
ciently focused on the most vulnera-
ble populations, which leads to a risk
of being spread too thinly. It is also
split up, difficult to coordinate, and
not immune to the effects of substitu-
tion between ordinary credits and
specific credits.
Urban policy: a renovated framework,
priorities to be clarified
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Targeting of the employment policy
to be continued
Progress has allowed the employ-
ment policy to be targeted more
towards populations of the priority
neighbourhoods. The main access to
quantified objectives targeting resi-
dents of the neighbourhoods as well
as indicators by territory. However, the
deterioration of the employment
situation and an unemployment rate
that continues to be much high in the
priority neighbourhoods than in the
rest of the territory justify continuing
and better assessing the mobilisation
of the resources committed by the
public employment service for the
benefit of the population of these
identify the priorities in the city
contracts and specify the amounts
of ordinary credits and specific cre-
dits mobilised to fund them;
systematically quantify the social
diversity objectives of the urban
renewal operations;
rebalance the priority education
resource allocations to the priority
neighbourhoods in favour of pre-
school and primary education;
set quantified objectives for the
mobilisation of the public employ-
ment service in the priority neigh-
Urban policy: a renovated framework, priori-
ties to be clarified
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Tobacco is the leading cause of avoi-
dable death in France. In 2012, at the
request of the National Assembly, the
Cour des comptes conducted an
assessment of anti-smoking policies.
While the prevalence of smoking had
risen in France since 2005, unlike in
comparable countries, it noted distur-
bing shortcoming: lack of continuity in
actions undertaken, inadequate appli-
cation of health regulations, deficient
controls, very weak efforts in preven-
tion and smoking cessation assis-
tance, and insufficient price increases
to reduce consumption for the long
term. It called for and made several
recommendations in support of a
comprehensive policy.
Since then, in line with the analyses
and recommendations of the Cour des
comptes, a national smoking reduc-
tion programme (PNRT) was publi-
shed in September 2014, several pro-
visions of which have been incorpora-
ted into the law on modernisation of
our healthcare system.
The definition of ambitious
objectives as part of a compre-
hensive strategy
The PNRT has ambitious near-term
objectives: decrease the number of
daily smokers by 10% in five years, to
below 20% daily smokers in ten years,
and ensure that children born in 2014
form the first generation of “tobacco-
free” adults.
The identified areas of action fit into a
consistent, structured approach: pro-
tect young people and stop them
from starting to smoke, help smokers
stop smoking, and take action on the
tobacco economy. The management
is clarified and unified and is entrus-
ted to the minister of health.
In order to change behaviours, the
public authorities have toughened the
regulations, whether they relate to
introduction of new products on the
market, advertising at points of sale,
or places where smoking is possible.
They have also strengthened support
for smoking cessation by improving
the reimbursement for treatments
with nicotine substitutes, the use of
which had decreased, and by expan-
ding prescription opportunities.
The implementation beginning in May
2016, at the same time as the United
Kingdom, and shortly before Ireland,
of the major innovation of the “plain
package{PS}”, aims, in accordance
which France was first to sign in
October 2004 and as the Cour des
reduce the number of new smokers
among young people, where a very
sharp rise in smoking has been seen
since 2011 in France, unlike in compa-
rable countries. Given the debates
that surrounded its introduction, the
precise monitoring of its impact on
consumption and the methods of pur-
The fight against tobacco
addiction: a policy
to be strengthened
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
chasing tobacco appears to be parti-
cularly necessary.
Disturbing developments high-
light the importance of public
health issues
The annual number of deaths caused
by tobacco has been reassessed, cur-
rently reaching 78,000, far ahead of
any other cause of avoidable death.
The global social costs related to
smoking could reach €120bn accor-
ding to a recent independent study,
even if its assessment of the costs of
tobacco for the healthcare system
(€26bn) should be regarded with
some caution, given that the reliable,
share assessment method recom-
mended by the Cour des comptes has
not been put in place.
France had 13.4 million daily smokers
in 2014, meaning a smoking preva-
lence rate of 28.2%. If occasional smo-
kers are taken into account, the figure
rises to 16 million, which corresponds
to a prevalence of 34.1%. One in three
French people smokes, whereas only
one in five English people smokes.
France is the European country where
pregnant women smoke the most.
After several years of declining sales
(except for rolling tobacco, which is
taxed less than cigarettes), 2015
marks a halt in this movement.
Although it is too early to see a sustai-
nable trend, this poor performance
shows that time has been lost in
public action and highlights the need
to reinforce the strategy implemen-
ted on certain crucial points: preven-
tion, involvement of healthcare pro-
fessionals, and tobacco prices.
An action to be strengthened
Prevention and education efforts
have remained modest, for lack of
appropriations specifically devoted to
this objective. The PNRT’s planned
creation of a fund financed by the
tobacco industry could not be imple-
mented at this stage.
The countries with the best results in
the reduction of consumption have
developed networks of healthcare
professionals around the physicians
for more effective support in smoking
In France, the mobilisation of health-
insufficient. Tools to help physicians
support smokers are being deployed,
but these measures do not put an
emphasis on establishing multi-pro-
fessional networks.
With regard to tobacco pricing policy,
the use of the taxes as a tool has been
very limited. Since July 2013, no tax
increases have occurred (with the
exception of rolling tobacco, which
was further taxed in 2014). In 2015,
this freeze was accompanied by a
reform that had the effect of freezing
changes to one of its components
indexed to prices up to then, depriving
€170m in revenues. This moratorium
will continue in 2016, with priority
given to establishing the “plain
package”. This policy, optimising the
financial performance for the State,
industrials, and tobacco retailers,
coincides with the recovery of sales of
cigarettes, and even more rolling
tobacco, seen since the beginning of
2015. Its extension beyond 2016
would be likely to very heavily com-
promise the achievement of smoking-
reduction goals by 2020 then 2025.
The fight against tobacco addiction:
a policy to be strengthened
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
The recurring debate in this regard on
the effects on “off-grid” sales (cross-
border purchases and smuggling) of
price differentials and taxation bet-
ween European countries is also still
recommendations of the Cour des
comptes, there are no objective data
for lack of a reliable, precise establish-
ment of an instrument to shed light
on the significance of off-grid sales
and especially the effects of price
increases on them, as there are large
divergences between the assess-
Customs. This gap is a major difficulty
for pursuing a price policy that effecti-
vely contributes to the public health
objectives. It is even more abnormal
given that the expiry at the end of
(contract for the future) between the
public authorities and tobacconists, to
support their revenues, will not fail to
spark debate on off-grid purchases,
particularly unlawful purchases, in the
context of the establishment of the
“plain package”.
impacts of price movements on off-
grid sales and measure the effects
implement over time a policy of
steady price increases by using
taxes as a tool at a level sufficient
to cause an effective and sustainable
decline in consumption;
mobilise all the various healthcare
professionals in a coordinated man-
ner, and by encouraging the creation
of networks, on the prevention of
smoking and assistance in smoking
The fight against tobacco addiction:
a policy to be strengthened
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Cigarette sales (in millions of units)
and price per pack of cigarettes of the best-selling brand
Source : Logista
In any case, these price increases have always been, for cigarettes, less than the minimum threshold (10%), deemed
necessary to cause a sustainable decline in sales according to all the experts. Their amplitude has been declining since
2012. Conversely, for rolling tobacco, the increases have been greater, especially in 2014, when the price increase was
10.8% and, for the first time since 2009, the volume of sales of this product category decreased.
The fight against tax fraud has three
goals: encourage tax compliance,
punish the most serious offences, and
ensure budget revenues for the State.
In a context of a global financial crisis,
major developments took place, res-
ponding in part to the recommenda-
tions made by the Cour des comptes
between 2010 and 2013 aimed at
strengthening the management of fis-
cal controls and adapting its organisa-
tion to the new risks of fraud, moder-
nising the auditing tools, decompart-
mentalising the action of the adminis-
trations, and better coordinating the
interventions of the tax administra-
tion and the judicial authority. Despite
the progress observed, there is still
room for improvement, particularly in
the organisation of the audit and the
management of the assigned officers,
as well as in the improvement of the
results of the audit and recovery.
The fight against tax fraud has
become a priority
Since the adoption by the United
States of FATCA (“Foreign Account
Tax Compliance Act”) in 2010, the
fight against fraud benefits from a
favourable international context: an
agreement was signed at the end of
2014 within the OECD to foster the
automatic exchange of data between
tax administrations, and the European
Union has new legal means to prevent
the risks of VAT fraud.
At the national level, many legislative
texts have been adopted since 2010 to
improve information for the adminis-
trations, strengthen the investigative
powers of the tax officials and the
specialised judicial police, tax, and
customs services, and adapt them to
changes in the economic, financial,
and accounting practices of tax-
payers. A financial public prosecutor
was introduced to deal with the
increasing technical nature of cases of
tax fraud, and the criminal penalties
have been increased. Lastly, the rela-
tionship between the tax and criminal
treatment of cases is improving, des-
pite a continued insufficient diversifi-
cation of cases referred to the judicial
authority. Although the effects of
these reforms are still uncertain, their
principle is consistent with the recom-
mendations of the Cour des comptes.
The fight against tax fraud:
progress to be confirmed
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
The organisation of fiscal
control still needs to be impro-
The coordination between administra-
tions in charge of the fight against
fraud has progressed, and the coope-
ration between the general directo-
rate of public finance (DGFiP) and its
key partners has improved, particu-
larly customs: more fiscal controls are
now initiated on the basis of customs
information, resulting in a growing
amount of recalled duties and penal-
ties (€122m in 2013 versus €68m in
2011), but these directorates still
need to complete the development of
reciprocal access to their databases. In
addition, the coordination between
the tax authority and the judicial
authority still needs to be thorough.
Within the DGFiP, the creation of the
fiscal control service in 2011 helped
to strengthen the management of
directorates specialising in control
(national directorates and interregio-
nal directorates) and reposition them
on complex, high-stakes cases of
fraud. The coordination of the fiscal
control network was also improved,
changes remains limited because of
the absence of any hierarchical link
between the officers responsible for
fiscal control at the local level, who
fall under the local directorates of
public finances, and the interregional
directorates of fiscal control (DIR-
COFI). The management role of the
interregional directorates must there-
fore be strengthened.
In addition, although the level of
expertise has been raised thanks to
increased specialisation of the officers
or control services on certain types of
fraud, controls, or taxpayers, in accor-
dance with a recommendation of the
Cour des comptes dating back to
2010, the internal management rules
of the DGFiP run counter to these
changes. By promoting mobility at the
initiative of the officers (possibility of
requesting a change after one year in
the position only), these rules result in
a high rate of staff turnover, which
appears incompatible with the deve-
lopment of an area of expertise. The
allocation to the seniority criterion
and the low number of positions
whose incumbents are chosen “on
profile” (depending on their skills and
professional experience) lead to a mis-
match between the distribution of
control officers on the territory and
the needs arising from the characte-
ristics of the tax base or the technical
nature of the mission. The adaptation
of these rules must therefore be a
The results and recovery are
poorly documented and still
The “Ways and Means” annex of the
finance bills includes only an incom-
plete presentation of the results of the
fiscal control and does not make it
possible to assess the breakdown by
tax of the recalled fees or the results
of the controls against the most
serious cases of fraud. Recovery data
are also very patchy.
The fight against tax fraud:
progress to be confirmed
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
entrust the interregional directo-
rates with a role of managing the
units responsible for external fiscal
control at the local level;
implement a control officers
redeployment plan permitting a
distribution of resources adapted to
the needs on the territory and bet-
external fiscal control;
modify the rules of internal
management, in order to develop
recruitments by job profile or as
required and impose a minimum
continue the diversification of
the types of offences subject to pro-
posals for correctional proceedings;
publish, in the annexes to the
finance bills, complete information
about the results of fiscal controls
(recalled fees, amounts recovered,
recovery rates);
. improve the recovery of debts
resulting from the fiscal control,
- by accelerating the generalisation
of the specialised recovery centres
with the DIRCOFI;
- by reconciling the information sys-
tems dedicated to control and
accounting as early as possible;
- by unifying the procedures for reco-
very of debts resulting from the fis-
cal control.
In 2014, the 1.5 million fiscal controls
performed resulted in notifications
for €19.3bn in adjustments (fees and
penalties) versus €15.2bn in 2009.
However, this increase of nearly 20%
is only partially due to an improve-
ment in the targeting of controls.
Thus, since 2012, the amount of recal-
led fees includes the exceptional
revenues generated by the amended
return processing service, responsible
for reviewing applications for adjust-
ments from taxpayers holding unde-
clared assets abroad (€1.9bn in 2014
and forecast at €2.6bn for 2015),
revenues that are not long-lasting
Lastly, the overall rate of recovery of
debts resulting from the external fiscal
control remains very unsatisfactory,
below 50% on average, or even less
Although this weakness is due in part to
the economic situation (bankruptcy,
liquidations, etc.), it also reflects a lack of
coordination between the control ser-
vices responsible for investigating cases
and the accounting services responsible
for recovery. The efforts recently made
through various experiments must the-
refore be supported and further develo-
ped by an action relating to the organisa-
tion of recovery, the increased consis-
tency of computer applications, and the
harmonisation of procedures.
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
The fight against tax fraud:
progress to be confirmed
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Reforming agriculture aid
paying agencies: a strategy to
be defined, savings to be sought
The services and payment agency
(ASP) is the result of the merger of the
single payment agency (AUP) and the
national centre for the development
of farm structures (CNASEA), whereas
FranceAgriMer is the result of the
merger of five agricultural offices. The
purpose of these mergers, carried out
in 2009, was to unify and improve
organisation and management whilst
cutting costs. The office for develop-
ment of the overseas agricultural eco-
nomy (ODÉADOM) was not affected
by these mergers.
In 2011, the Cour des comptes provi-
ded the Senate, at its request, an ini-
tial assessment of the merger of the
offices and the creation of the ser-
vices and payment agency.
The recent controls of FranceAgriMer,
the ASP, and the ODÉADOM show
that, although the creation of the ASP
and FranceAgriMer helped to improve
the organisation of the paying agen-
cies, the results of these mergers are
Improvement of organisation
and management: an objective
partially met
Six years later, the merger of these
bodies remains unfinished, whether it
involves internal organisations, real
estate establishments, or information
As regards the organisation, the ASP
retains its double headquarters resul-
ting from the bodies having preceded
it. FranceAgriMer’s officers in the
regions are not always sufficiently
physically incorporated into the regio-
nal directorates of food, agriculture,
and forestry (DRAAF). The change in
the map of regions and the increased
role of these government authorities
in the management of European aid
should lead the ministry of agriculture
to initiate thinking about the joint evo-
lution of its territorial network and
that of the paying agencies.
The streamlining of information sys-
tems is incomplete even though this
function is very expensive (€323m
over 2009-2014 at the ASP) and
constitutes a major strategic chal-
lenge. For example, although the ASP
has a single debt recovery chain, pay-
ments rely on five different informa-
tion systems.
The real estate streamlining policy
was ambitious but ran into the com-
mitment made by the ministry not to
impose forced mobility on officers.
The ASP thus maintains a site in Cergy
for fewer than 20 people, and certain
locations of FranceAgriMer are cha-
racterised by a low occupancy rate. In
addition, the Arborial site remains
very costly despite the renegotiation
of the lease.
Additional costs instead of expec-
ted savings
The operating subsidies paid to the
three institutions continued to grow,
until 2013 for FranceAgriMer and
until 2014 for the ASP and the
The sharp decline in staff at the ASP
and FranceAgriMer was accompanied
by an increase in individual remunera-
tion, with the result that the payroll
decreased only slightly (ASP) or even
increased (FranceAgriMer).
Expenditure should be streamlined,
particularly travel and purchases at
The financial corrections, related to
intervention expenditure incurred by
France, significantly increased to
more than €1.2bn in 2015.
A reform to be intensified
The current organisation shows its
limits both within each organisation
and in the general organisation of the
payment of agriculture aid.
It no longer seems appropriate to
entrust the payment of Community
agriculture aid to several operators.
FranceAgriMer and the ODÉADOM
represent only a very small part of the
agriculture aid and are in sharp
decline. With regard to the payment
of national aid, contrary to the recom-
mendation made by the Cour des
comptes in 2011, the sharing of com-
petencies between FranceAgriMer
and the ASP has not been clarified, as
regards emergency agriculture aid.
FranceAgriMer covers only a small
share of this aid (€0.4bn out of €9.1bn.
In addition, the respective roles of the
State and the agricultural inter-pro-
fession organisations need to be clari-
fied. Certain fields of action of the
common with those of FranceAgriMer,
particularly knowledge of supply and
demand, promotion, and experiments.
The inter-profession organisations
and agricultural technical institution
are major beneficiaries of subsidies
from FranceAgriMer: between 2012
and 2014, the inter-profession organi-
sations received at least €45m in sub-
sidies, and the technical institutes at
least €36m.
Lastly, it is necessary to define a cohe-
rent, sustainable strategy for the ASP,
faced with a multiplicity of order origi-
nators, a depletion of its resources
funding its investments, and the
unprofitable nature of some of its
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Reforming agriculture aid paying agencies:
a strategy to be defined, savings to be sought
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Reforming agriculture aid paying agencies:
a strategy to be defined, savings to be sought
study the conditions of a grou-
ping of the agriculture aid paying
for the ASP, strengthen a stra-
tegy linking all the missions and the
jobs, together with the supervisors;
for the ASP, FranceAgriMer, and
the ODÉADOM, oversee changes in
individual payroll;
clarify and harmonise the condi-
tions for implementation of the com-
pensatory scheme in the paying
Run-off management of Dexia:
precarious initial results,
conclusions to be drawn about
liability in case of a financial
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
The public report of the Cour des
comptes relating to the Dexia disaster,
published in July 2013, highlighted
three major subjects to which the
public authorities should be attentive:
the implementation level of the reso-
lution plan in order to ensure that the
cost for public finances, for an amount
of more than €6bn, would be contai-
ned in the future; the challenge for
the local government authorities of
“toxic” loans that they had entered
into with Dexia; the need to punish
poor management by the heads of
financial institutions and control their
remuneration in the event of financial
aid from the State. Three years after
the start of implementation of the
resolution plan, the Cour des comptes
noted progress in the implementation
of its recommendations, although
The implementation of the
resolution plan is consistent
overall with the commitments
made, but uncertainties remain
On 28 December 2012, the European
Commission endorsed a resolution
plan (PRO) defining a run-off manage-
ment framework for Dexia. It could
last until 2076. Dexia is in an unprece-
dented situation being in a run-off
situation while still having a very large
balance sheet, making it one of the
top 25 European banks. The company
has 1,200 employees.
Belgium is a 50.02% shareholder of
the company , whereas France holds
44.40% of the shares. These two
States, as well as Luxembourg, have
committed to guarantee up to €85bn
in corporate bonds issued by the
Franco-Belgian bank. At 23 October
2015, Dexia’s total issues guaranteed
by France amounted to €29bn (out of
a total of €63.6bn).
Since 2012, Dexia has managed to
meet most of its commitments, parti-
cularly with regard to monitoring and
sale of the main assets: the balance
sheet suffered attrition of almost two-
However, the context in which Dexia
implements the plan is characterised
by two new factors, not envisaged at
the end of the year 2012, which dis-
rupt the achievement of its objectives:
- the
requires Dexia to use more liqui-
dity, which is slowing the institu-
tion’s return to equilibrium, origi-
nally planned for 2018;
- placed under the direct supervi-
sion of the European Central Bank
(ECB) since 4 November 2014, the
bank has managed to meet most
must periodically undergo new
tests and needs to satisfy harmoni-
sed requirements of solvency,
liquidity, and leverage designed to
test the resistance of banks in
expansion and not in run-off, which
do not have room for significant
From 2013 to 2015, the impact on
€0.2bn, to
€6.4bn, thanks to the collection of the
remuneration of the guarantee gran-
ted to the institution. However, the
uncertainties mean that the risk of a
need for recapitalisation cannot be
ruled out.
The desensitisation of “toxic”
loans has been slow
Since 2013, the renegotiation of struc-
tured loans has been done at a pace
that has permitted only the reduction
of outstandings by half. Today, outs-
tandings are still estimated at around
In this regard, the consistency of the
commercial and legal interventions of
Dexia Crédit Local and the local finan-
cing company (SFIL) with 68 borro-
wers common to the two entities,
representing outstandings of €0.69bn
– reduced by half since 2012 – is still
Too little has been learned
about liability in case of a
financial disaster
Despite timid attempts in this sense,
no action in law has been conducted,
since 2012, to return to the supple-
mentary pension plans paid to Dexia’s
former executives.
Plans for significant increases in the
remuneration of Dexia’s executives at
the end of 2013 were unsuccessful,
more because of the public outcry
than the control performed by the
shareholding States. The vigilance of
the French state shareholding agency
on this point must therefore be
Most of the guidelines formulated by
the Cour des comptes in terms of super-
vision of the variable remuneration of
the leaders of financial institutions in
case of public intervention have seen
only modest beginnings of implementa-
tion. Only practice will allow the scope
of measures adopted since 2012 to be
ensured. In addition, France, unlike
Germany or the United Kingdom, still
does not have a criminal law to hold exe-
cutives of financial institutions liable for
reckless risk-taking.
Run-off management of Dexia: precarious
initial results, conclusions to be drawn about
liability in case of a financial disaster
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Run-off management of Dexia: precarious
initial results, conclusions to be drawn about
liability in case of a financial disaster
Lastly, it is still necessary to call into
question the possibility, in the future,
for officials to collect compensation
related to the termination of their
functions as an executive in a state-
owned company or a company recei-
ving public financial support when
they return to public service.
ensure the consistency of the
practices of Dexia Crédit Local
(DCL) and SFIL concerning the
renegotiation (“desensitisation”) of
structured loans in the local public
sector, particularly in the case of the
68 government authorities with
“sensitive” loans at DCL and SFIL
call into question the possibility
for civil servants to collect compen-
sation related to the termination of
their functions as an executive in a
state-owned company or a company
receiving public financial support
whilst returning to public service
(repeated and restated recommen-
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Rail transport in the Greater
Paris region since 2010:
significant progress, persistent
In November 2010, the Cour des
comptes published a thematic public
report entitled “regional rail transport
in the Greater Paris region”. Five years
later, it conducted a survey to mea-
sure the changes made in the consis-
tency of the rail network of the
Greater Paris region and assess the
extent to which the five recommenda-
tions that it made were followed up.
The organisation of the network is
under the responsabilty of the trans-
port authority of the Greater Paris
region (STIF). For the most part, its
operation is entrusted to the RATP for
the metro, trams, and the bus net-
work, and the SNCF for the five RER
lines (the RER A and B lines being co-
operated with the RATP), the eight
regional train lines, and a “tram-train”
line that constitute the “Transilien”
approximately 10% of the national rail
network, supports 40% of the passen-
ger traffic of the SNCF, and transports
70% of its customers. Each day, the
Transilien trains carry 12 times more
travellers than all high-speed trains
(TGV) in France.
The Cour des comptes finds that
although significant progress has
been made since 2010, the situation in
2015 continues to show several short-
comings that are especially worrying
given that the prospects for improve-
ment remain random.
Progress made
The 2012-2015 contracts entered into
between the STIF (organising autho-
rity) and the two operators (SNCF and
RATP) contain new indicators that
better take into account the point of
view of passengers; they provide for a
heavily increased volume of invest-
ments and greater transparency of
the accounts of each line.
The rail network has been extended
thanks to the opening of four new
tram lines and the extension of seve-
ral tram and metro lines.
New rolling stock, of greater capacity,
have been put in service, particularly
on the RER A (double-decker trains).
Information delivered to customers in
case of a disturbance on the lines has
been improved, like the cleanliness of
the trains and stations.
The coordination between the SNCF
and the RATP has been strengthened
Rail transport in the Greater Paris region
since 2010: significant progress, persistent
with, in particular, the development of
a blueprint of the RER A and B, the
most commonly travelled, and the
human resources to facilitate the sha-
red management of these two lines.
Persistent shortcomings
The service offering, the regularity,
and the punctuality of many lines
remain below the contractual objec-
tives and, in some cases, have even
The user satisfaction index decreased
between 2012 and 2014 for the RER A
and B and, on average, for the
Transilien. Only 3 out of 14 Transilien
lines saw this index increase.
Source : Cour des comptes according to OMNIL, STIF, SNCF, RATP, Optile
Change in passenger traffic on the various rail networks
of the Greater Paris region between 2010 and 2014
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Despite the efforts undertaken over
the past few years, many infrastruc-
tures of the Greater Paris region net-
work of the SNCF are obsolete (for
example, the catenaries of the RER C
are more than 90 years old), which
leads to the proliferation of incidents,
too many traffic interruptions, and, for
safety reasons, the slowdown in speed
authorised on certain sections. The
priority given to the development of
high-speed lines for more than three
decades explains the accumulated
delay in the maintenance of the
Greater Paris region network. It will
take many years for this delay to be
diminished, since the situation will
continue to deteriorate until 2020,
and it will not be until 2025 that the
current level will be regained, which is
far from being satisfactory.
Rail transport in the Greater Paris region
since 2010: significant progress, persistent
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Prospects for improvement
appear uncertain
Of course, ambitious projects have
been defined to improve the situation:
the “Eole” project, the “Grand Paris
“CDG-Express” should be initiated,
and their realisation should be spread
out from 2020 to 2030, and even
beyond. However, they face two diffi-
culties: financial and technical.
Their projected cost is considerable:
€5bn for “Eole”, a minimum of approxi-
mately €30bn for the GPE, more than
€2bn for CDG-Express, not counting
running costs incurred.
However, the coverage of these dis-
bursements by equivalent resources
seems hypothetical: the constraints
that weigh on the budgets of the
State and the local government
authorities leave only a small margin
of manoeuvre for increasing public
subsidies, i.e., recourse to the tax-
payer; further increasing the expendi-
ture incurred
by the companies
– which currently fund, through the
transport payment and the reimbur-
sement of half of the “Navigo pass”,
nearly half of the cost of Paris region
transport – seems difficult; the use of
debt is just as random considering the
debt already accumulated by the
SNCF and the RATP. With regard to
the share borne by customers – cur-
rently only approximately 30% – it will
decrease starting in 2015 given the
decision of the STIF to introduce, as
from 1 September 2015, a single fare
for the “Navigo” and “Imagine’R”
packages. This decision, unpreceden-
ted in Europe, appears even more
remarkable given that the price paid
by the travellers in the Greater Paris
region, as the Court already noted in
2010, is one of the lowest of the com-
parable cities and that a large number
of people already enjoy special fares.
At the technical level, the combina-
tion of major maintenance operations
on the existing rail network, in the
Greater Paris region and elsewhere,
the commitment of the work of Eole
and the GPE, and the considerable
new transport infrastructure projects
envisaged raises the question of the
ability of the operators and the indus-
try to handle such projects at once. All
these uncertainties are not lifted.
It also appears necessary to prevent
insufficiently targeted measures of
deterrence from automobile use from
having the effect of increasing traffic
on the already saturated rail lines.
Otherwise, there is a risk of further
degrading a service quality already
regarded as critical by the users, parti-
cularly by those who live farthest
from the heart of the metropolitan
Rail transport in the Greater Paris region
since 2010: significant progress, persistent
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
To the State and SNCF Réseau:
maintain the absolute priority
given to the servicing and mainte-
nance of the Transilien network
(repeated recommendation).
To the State and the STIF:
increase the share of transport
cost funded by travellers (repeated
To the State:
prioritise and rigorously select
transport infrastructure projects
envisaged in the next 10 to 15 years
in terms of financial, technical, and
human resources that could be
mobilised during this period.
Map of the Grand Paris Express
Source : Société du Grand Paris
Chapter IV
The Cour des comptes warns
National centre for territorial civil service (CNFPT): train
better, tax less
Preventive archaeology policy: late adjustment measures,
an operator to be thoroughly reformed
Military pay: despite efforts undertaken, persistent
Amnéville indoor ski area: under-used equipment, a risky
The CNFPT is a public agency respon-
sible for the professional training of
officers of the territorial public ser-
vice. Present on almost all of the
national territory, it employs 2,392
people divided between the head-
quarters, 29 regional delegations, 64
departmental branches, and 5 insti-
tutes. Its operating budget, €400m in
2014, is primarily funded by the
government authorities, thanks to a
1% payroll deduction on the 1.9 mil-
lion local officers.
The management of the CNFPT was
the subject of a chapter of the annual
public report of February 2011. The
Cour des comptes noted that the
adaptation of the agency’s activities
to the missions (training, exam prepa-
ration, organisation of administrator
recruitment and training, territorial
employment observatory) was late,
despite a comfortable financial posi-
tion, and that serious management
irregularities persisted.
The Cour des comptes recommended
reducing the legal cap on the rate of
the contribution in order to decrease
the CNFPT’s surpluses and correspon-
dingly alleviate the burden of contri-
buting government authorities. A few
in July
2011, the
Parliament reduced the maximum
rate of the mandatory contribution for
the local government authorities
from 1% to 0.9% for 2012 and 2013,
then reversed its decision by bringing
the rate back up to 1% for 2013. It is in
comptes conducted a new control of
the institution.
Efforts to improve the training
offering to be amplified
Training volumes increased signifi-
cantly between 2008 and 2011 then
experienced a sharp drop related to
the decrease in the contribution rate
in 2012. In 2014, the training volume
reached 14.47 million hours of trainee
training (HTT), a level certainly higher
than in 2008, but still lower than in
2011, which is not satisfactory. The
training activity is highly cyclical: the
most intense six months for training
account for more than 70% of the
activity. The Cour des comptes conclu-
ded that the CNFPT can still increase
its service offering.
The government authorities remain
free to use other service providers, but
they then bear the financial expendi-
ture whilst remaining fully liable for
their contribution to the CNFPT.
National centre for territorial
civil service (CNFPT):
train better, tax less
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Training expenditure of the govern-
ment authorities totalled more than
€650m in 2013, around half of which
corresponds to training expenditures
that are in addition to the mandatory
contribution paid to the CNFPT. The
improvement of the CNFPT’s offering
should therefore help cut this expen-
diture of the government authorities.
The Cour des comptes stresses that
the scope of training covered by the
CNFPT is still too limited. Some man-
datory training is not handled by the
CNFPT. Categories of officers have
access only to paid training. The Cour
des comptes proposes better defining
the scope of mandatory training fun-
ded by the CNFPT.
Management autonomy not
conducive to savings
The CNFPT’s management is still
agency’s payroll represents an increa-
singly large share of the contribution.
The Cour des comptes regrets that
the agency does not derive sufficient
productivity gains from its invest-
ments in information systems. It
recommends ending unjustified bene-
fits (mission expenses, funding of
bonuses, sales to staff) and better
management expenditure (communi-
cation expenditure, exam organisa-
The Cour des comptes is critical of
how the CNFPT managed the decline
of its resources in 2012: its training
activity was reduced in proportions
resources, paid training increased, and
the reimbursement of trainee travel
expenses was shifted to the local
government authorities. The Cour des
comptes recommends clarifying the
conditions for covering trainee travel.
Lastly, the Cour des comptes recom-
mends that the CNFPT’s resources be
better supervised by the Parliament
and that they be de-indexed from the
change in the payroll of the govern-
ment authorities.
The Cour des comptes takes note that
the cap on the contribution based on
the payroll of the local government
authorities for which the CNFPT is eli-
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
National centre for territorial civil service
(CNFPT): train better, tax less
Changes in revenues, running costs, and activity of the CNFPT
Source: Cour des comptes. HTT: hours of trainee training
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
National centre for territorial civil service
(CNFPT): train better, tax less
define the scope of training to
which the mandatory contribution
gives access in a manner consis-
tency with the act of 12 July 1984
and fund diploma-granting training
for recipients of future jobs on the
revenues from the contribution;
accelerate the changes underta-
ken since 2011 with regard to the
deployment digital training tools,
and the assessment of training
reduce operating costs particu-
larly by reducing payroll and com-
munication expenditure and putting
an end to unjustified benefits;
clarify the conditions for covering
trainee travel;
clarify through the law the legal
regime applicable to the CNFPT and
supervise its available resources so
to make them less dynamic (for
example, by indexing them to the
staff to be trained) and better
gible was lowered to 0.9%, which was
decided when the finance act for 2016
was passed. However, this measure
will only be fully favourable on the
condition that this decrease does not
lead to, once again, shifts of expendi-
tures to the government authorities
or a decrease in the volume of training
offered. This means a change in the
framework of the agency’s gover-
nance, which will encourage the
agency to make the savings efforts
that should be expected from it.
The current institutional system of
preventive archaeology was defined
by the legislator in 2001 and 2003.
The INRAP (French national preven-
tive archaeological research institute),
an administrative public agency crea-
ted in 2002 with the mission to per-
form diagnostic operations and pre-
ventive archaeological excavations, no
longer has a monopoly, but holds a
major place. In observations to the
Government dated 6 June 2013, the
Cour des comptes observed that the
necessary measures had not been
taken to support the sector’s transi-
tion to a competitive situation and
ensure stable funding for the INRAP
and reported major problems in the
management of the institution. The
2015, showed that the progress made
since then by the State and the INRAP
was late and insufficient.
Delays in the definition of a
public policy for preventive
The State’s role in this policy is essen-
tial since it prescribes the prior diag-
nostics and excavations, approves the
public or private operators responsi-
ble for performing them, exercises
scientific control of their work, and
ensures funding for part of the sec-
tor’s activities. However, despite the
commitments made in 2013, the State
has been slow to take the measures
incumbent on it.
The new national programming for
archaeological research in France, in
preparation for several years, has thus
been adopted, but it still has not been
published. No policy of harmonisation
of the policies prescribing diagnostics
and excavations conducted by the
affairs (DRAC) was defined before
November 2015 or implemented.
Similarly, the State has not yet establi-
shed safeguards designed to ensure
free competition in preventive excava-
tions, a sector open to the INRAP and
to the archaeological services of the
local government authorities and pri-
vate structures.
Several provisions of the “freedom of
creation, architecture, and heritage”
bill under consideration by Parliament
certainly go in the right direction, but
their effectiveness will largely depend
on the use, by the State’s services, of
increased powers, whereas the perfor-
mance of their control and sanction
mission already raises questions.
Preventive archaeology policy:
late adjustment measures, an
operator to be thoroughly
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Preventive archaeology policy:
late adjustment measures, an operator to be
thoroughly reformed
A late reform of the funding of
public service activities in the
face of a deteriorated situation
Part of the funding for preventive
archaeology, particularly diagnostics
prior to excavations, comes from a tax
payable by developers: the preventive
archaeology tax (RAP). The reform of
this tax in 2012 has not had the des-
ired effects. Technical problems rela-
ted to its implementation prevented
or severely limited the collection of
the tax in 2013 and 2014. Despite
emergency measures taken by the
State, the inadequacy of the collected
resources caused major difficulties in
the management of the INRAP and,
more generally, the funding of the pre-
ventive archaeology sector.
Returning to its earlier doctrine, in the
initial finance act for 2016, the State
endorsed a change in the funding
model with the “budgetisation” of the
RAP. This reform consists in providing
for the income from the tax, as well as
the amount of the budget appropria-
tions allocated by the State to the pre-
ventive archaeology public service
missions, in the finance act. Although
it offers the advantage of putting an
end to the uncertainty about the level
of resources for these missions, the
conditions of its implementation, still
uncertain, will be decisive for preven-
ting the return to the previous bad
INRAP has not sufficiently
adapted to the sector’s
The slowdown in economic activity
since 2008 and the decrease or pause
in the launch of major works (motor-
ways, high-speed lines, etc.) have
resulted in a reduction of the preven-
tive archaeology activity, with a major
impact on the INRAP’s activity. Faced
with changes in the market, the insti-
tution made some adjustments (slight
moderation of its rates and significant
redeployment of its resources to its
research, valuation, and consulting
activities). They have been unable to
prevent the deterioration of its posi-
tions in the preventive excavation sec-
tor in relation to other stakeholders,
particularly private structures. The
INRAP occupied only 48% of this mar-
ket in 2013 compared with 56.7% in
2010. The partial data available for
2014 show that, despite a slight reco-
very, the INRAP has not regained its
previous positions.
In response to the previous observa-
tions of the Cour des comptes, the
INRAP attempted to modernise its
strengthened by entering into a
contract of objectives and perfor-
mance with the State for the 2011-
2014 period and then by adopting of
development plan. New management
tools were put in place for cost
accounting, property management,
and human resources management.
However, in its public service missions
funded by the State, like in its activi-
ties falling within the competitive sec-
tor, the INRAP can no longer be
exempt from implementing reforms
that more crucial for its future.
The forecasting tools, which are
essential for good management, show
persistent weaknesses that are harm-
ful to the reliable preparation of a
budget and staffing forecasts.
Similarly, the compensation scheme
for officers and the travel expense
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
reimbursement procedures, which
have specific characteristics that are
often unwarranted, still need to be
reformed, as the Cour des comptes
recommended in 2013.
However, the main reforms must
focus on cutting costs and improving
productivity. The recent changes in
human resources raise real concerns,
particularly the reduction of possibili-
ties of adapting the INRAP’s staff to
its level of activity, the steady increase
in its payroll, the ageing of its staff,
whose possibilities of internal or
external mobility remain too limited,
and the deterioration of working time
devoted to
Lastly, the reduction of structural
costs requires a reform of the map of
the institution’s territorial locations,
which presents obvious inconsisten-
To the State:
publish the new national pro-
research, which must guide the
State’s prescribing policy and regu-
late the INRAP’s scientific policy;
harmonise the practices of regio-
regard to prescription and control
of the scientific quality of interven-
tion projects of excavation opera-
To the State and the INRAP:
put in place, as part of the revi-
sion of the arrangements for fun-
ensure consistency between the
level of prescriptions and the finan-
cial resources allocated to opera-
tors (INRAP and local government
authorities) and control the cost of
performing diagnostics;
scheme for officers and initiate a
reform of the provisions governing
business travel;
concerning the number of days wor-
ked devoted to operational activi-
ties; consider measures to reduce
the effects of the ageing of the work-
force on productivity, particularly by
developing internal and external
mobility for officers;
review the map of territorial loca-
tions in order to better adapt to the
level of activity in each region and
reduce the institution’s structural
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Preventive archaeology policy:
late adjustment measures, an operator to be
thoroughly reformed
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Military pay: despite efforts
undertaken, problems persist
Implemented in 2011, the Louvois
software (LOgiciel Unique à VOcation
Interarmées de la Solde) is designed
to calculate the military service pay of
approximately 180,000 military per-
sonnel representing an annual payroll
of €11bn. It has experienced serious,
lasting issues since then.
In 2013, the Cour des comptes audited
the conditions of design, organisation,
and implementation of this computer
system. Its work resulted in observa-
tions issued to the minister of defence
on 27 December 2013. As early as
December 2013, the ministry of
defence launched a plan for improve-
ment of
and decided to
replace this system with a new calcu-
lator called
Source Solde.
It also
endorsed the recommendations of
the audit of the Cour des comptes.
Today, the Cour des comptes notes
the ministry’s efforts to overcome the
issues with
. However, these
efforts, which have been and continue
to be expensive, will need to be conti-
nued. The Cour des comptes also
notes that the organisation put in
place by the ministry of defence to
and prepare the
Source Solde
to replace it
remains complex and that its coordi-
nation still needs to be perfected.
Emergency measures have
settled in over time
Emergency measures
In order to cope with the issues of the
military service payment chain, the
ministry of defence took emergency
measures to overcome errors in the
calculator, improve the quality of the
service payment, and reduce the
inconveniences for military personnel
and their families.
On the one hand, the defence minister
put in place a “military pay assistance
unit”, which still deals with a steady
volume of requests, reflecting the
ongoing difficulties in the field. On the
other hand, it decided to establish a
“ministerial emergency plan”, which
led to the payment of 27,000 indivi-
dual advances representing €53m
between 1 November 2012 and
31 December 2014. At times, these
advances were made without suppor-
ting documents and were not follo-
wed by rigorous recovery procedures.
A new directive published in April
2015 aimed to better regulate this
plan, which continues to be exceptio-
nal and precarious. Lastly, the persis-
tence of numerous errors necessita-
ted constant workaround measures
and intervention for the calculation of
service payments.
Despite computer corrections, many
irregularities remained and were still
remains too numerous. On 1 April
2015, there were 1,418 “system
errors” not yet resolved, a decrease of
barely 23% in relation to the peak in
2013 (1,840).
Twelve gradual improvement initia-
Beyond these emergency measures,
the ministry of defence put in place
twelve thematic initiatives to identify
difficulties and propose actions to
as well as the entire
military service payment chain and
Source Solde
. These various
initiatives, which are still far from
being completed, deserve close perio-
dic monitoring, based on a dashboard
and specific milestones. The steering
and comitology associated with these
initiatives are particularly complex.
The efforts to remedy the
shortcomings of Louvois and
its errors are costly
The problems with
have requi-
red additional staff (nearly 600 full-
time equivalents) in all the operatio-
nal services involved with the military
service payment as well as of many
outside support services to resolve
the persistent abnormalities.
The Cour des comptes estimated the
cost of these additional staff at €15m
in 2013 and €18m in 2014 and the
cost of outside support services, both
for the IT services and for the human
resources and payroll expert centre, at
€7m in 2013 and €20m in 2014. In
addition to this expenditure, there was
approximately €7.5m in work that has
become unusable because of the sus-
pension of certain IT projects related
to payroll.
Moreover, the malfunctions resulted
in an increase of salary expenditure
because of payments of sums greater
than the amounts owed to the per-
sonnel. These unwarranted payments,
net of recoveries, reached €149m
during financial year 2013, €96m
during financial year 2014, and €37m
during the first ten months of 2015. In
April 2015, overpayments reached a
total cumulative amount of €358m, of
which only €171m had been recove-
red. The ministry of defence and the
accounts must combine their efforts
to allow for the rapid recovery of
these overpayments.
Conversely, other errors relate to
underpayments, estimated at €47m in
April 2015 for the army and navy; the
offices should be paid as soon as pos-
The prospects for the future
are still uncertain
The ministry is pursuing two objec-
tives simultaneously: take care of the
monthly payroll with the
tem and prepare
Source Solde
, which
is scheduled to come into operaion in
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Military pay: despite efforts undertaken,
problems persist
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Governance of the military service payment chain the Source Solde project
Military pay: despite efforts undertaken,
problems persist
Source : Cour des comptes
2017 and will work together with
until around 2021 to enable
the retroactive calculation of past
events related to rights of military
In order to complete the project of the
future payroll system,
Source Solde,
the ministry of defence has entrusted
the implementation to a programme
director from the Direction générale
de l’armement who works in tandem
with a “programme officer” from the
human resources Department of the
ministry of defence.
The communication between, on the
one hand, the teams responsible for
the operation of
and the
management of the improvement ini-
tiatives and, on the other hand, the
Source Solde
team must therefore be
optimal to ensure overall consistency
and achieve the goals within the allot-
ted time. Despite an effort of clarifica-
tion, the complexity persists because
of the multiplicity of services, the
overlapping of responsibilities, and a
vast network of committees and wor-
king groups.
Military pay: despite efforts undertaken,
problems persist
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
implement all the due diligence
unwarranted payments and the
resolution of underpayments;
clarify the interpretation of the
time limitation rules applicable to
unwarranted payments made prior
to 31 December 2011 and advances
of military service payments;
steer the twelve improvement
initiatives on the basis of a dash-
board, establishing the steps and
the deadlines for each of them;
put in place a training plan with a
detailed timetable for the various
stakeholders in the human resources
and payroll processes;
ensure complete, quick sharing of
information between the teams in
charge of
Source Solde
, and
human resources.
Major difficulties likely to weigh on
the release of the new system are far
from being resolved. These difficulties
arise from the large number (170) and
the characteristics of the rules of
management of the compensation
right, the need to incorporate the new
resources software, the need to
enhance the quality of the master
data used to calculate military service
payments, and the need to have the
two payroll systems coexist until
These findings should lead the minis-
try to greater responsiveness and vigi-
lance in order to ensure compliance
with the timetable of the S
ource Solde
development contract.
Source : Cour des comptes
Amnéville indoor ski run:
under-used equipment, a risky
On the slag heap of a former iron-
Amnéville, located a few kilometres
north of Metz, built a covered ski run
opened in 2005, currently the only
indoor ski run in France. The manage-
ment of this facility has been entrus-
ted to a municipal agency with legal
personality and financial autonomy.
In its 2006 Annual Public Report, the
Cour des comptes alerted the com-
mune about the absence of an assess-
ment of the financial risks that it
incurred by opening an indoor ski run.
Despite this warning, the commune
continued the process of developing
its tourist area, without assessing its
viability and the risks for its finances.
A very poor financial situation,
partly hidden
Since 2009, the municipal agency has
faced a deficit situation, obscured by a
vote on budgets on the basis of disin-
genuous forecasts, with an overvalua-
tion of its operating revenues and an
undervaluation of estimated disburse-
ments. In the absence of available
cash, unpaid expenditures are carried
over from one year to another.
In reality, the financial position is
much worse than announced by the
agency (-€32,000 in 2014), with a
result of nearly -€1.02m in 2014, after
restatements by the regional chamber
of accounts. Thus, although the
agency had assumed all of its expen-
ditures, its cumulative operating defi-
cit would be approximately €4.5m at
31 December 2014, representing
more than 160% of its operating reve-
nues since the opening of the ski run.
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Operating result of the ski run after restatements
This situation is explained by deficien-
cies in the management (absence of
cost accounting, for example) and in
the steering of the activity. However,
the agency’s deficit situation presents
primarily a structural nature, to the
extent that the activities is not suffi-
ciently profitable, taking into account
the low number of visits to the ski run
and a side food service activity that
has been in sharp decline for seven
years. The public price charged (€21 in
2014 for two hours) is far below the
rate required for operational breake-
ven (€31 in 2014).
The lack of prospects
of recovery
This situation is likely to continue,
given that the prospects for revenue
growth are limited and disburse-
ments, for the most part, cannot be
reduced. In 2014, the establishment of
a strategy of customer solicitation
actions, and the definition of new
packages or promotional offers failed
to reverse the trend. It appears that
the price lever can only be slightly
mobilised, at the risk of intensifying
the decline in visits to the ski run. The
downsizing initiated in 2014 (€0.2m in
savings) and the decrease in annual
rent owed to the commune did not
help to significantly reduce running
In addition, the plan to discharge the
agency’s energy debt, launched in
2014, over 10 years, does not appear
to be realistic and has not been res-
pected – an amendment having post-
poned the start of the debt repay-
ment. According to the projections of
the regional chamber of accounts, the
discharge of the debt would have led
to a continued high operating deficit,
on the order of €0.7m per year.
As such, the sustainability of the ski
run can no longer be ensured, even if
the commune were to decide to cover
the agency’s operating deficit directly.
In fact, for several years, the com-
mune no longer has any self-financing
capacity (-€3m in 2014, i.e., 13.5% of
operating income), despite raising the
level of its taxation in 2015.
Summaries of the 2016 Annual Public Report of the Cour des comptes
Amnéville indoor ski run:
under-used equipment, a risky investment
Cease operation of the ski run as
soon as possible.
Amnéville indoor ski run
Source : Cour des comptes