Sort by *
1 -
A -
The structuring of the cultural landscape and bringing the
ministry’s rol
e into perspective
B -
An increasingly managerial Ministry
C -
An administration that is less and less well-equipped
D -
Problematic management
A -
Redefining the State's strategic objectives
B -
Completing the movement of deconcentration and transfers to
local governments
C -
Reorganizing the Ministry around its core vocation
This policy paper is part of a body of work intended to present, on several major public
policies, the main challenges that public decision-makers will face in the coming years and the
levers that could make it possible to meet those challenges. This series of publications, which
runs from October to December 2021, is a follow-up on the June 2021 report submitted to the
President of the Republic, entitled, Exiting from crisis: A public finance strategy. That paper
identifies structural issues, it offers a diagnostic resulting from previous works by the Court as
well as guidelines for long-term growth, while strengthening the equity, effectiveness, and
efficiency of public policies.
The Court, in accordance with its constitutional mission of informing citizens, wished to
develop a new approach, one that is different from its usual work, and thus contribute, through
this series of deliberately concise and targeted documents, to the public debate, while taking
care to leave open various possible avenues for reform.
This report was deliberated by the 3th chamber and approved by the Court of Accounts'
Publication and Planning Committee.
Publications of the Court of Accounts are accessible online on the website of the Court
and the regional and territorial chambers of accounts:
The policy pursued by the Ministry of Culture since its creation has resulted in a
tremendous expansion of cultural activity in our country. This policy has also benefited from
the growing intervention of local governments, who have relied on decentralization laws to
invest in the field of culture and currently represent a source of funding threefold that of the
ministry. It has also been marked by the multiplication of ministry operators which have
advantage of their autonomy to develop in a remarkable way. As a consequence of this
development, the central role of initiator, long played by the Ministry of Culture has lost its
importance, especially as it seems to have adapted insufficiently in its organization and its
modes of operation to the new order of which it was the instigator.
The contemporary situation of the cultural landscape, the changes in cultural practices,
even in the relationship to culture, plead in favour of a global review of the roles for which it is
the ministry's responsibility to assume. A re-examination of the ob
jectives of the State’s cultural
policy and the renewal of its tools should be the starting point of a reform aimed at refocusing
the Ministry of Culture on its roles of boosting and steering. In addition to the completion of the
deconcentration and decentralization movement already well under way, an in-depth
reorganization of its central administration, accompanied by an enhanced human resources
policy, particularly for its supervisory staff, should enable it to concentrate its activity on the
constitutive priorities of its core vocation and to be able to make even better use of its potential
for expertise. By carrying out such a transformation, the ministry will be able to regain its
momentum as a strategic administration.
Key figures:
Executed budget for the
€2.95 billion in 2019 and €3.16 billion in
(including exceptional support measures linked to the pandemic)
Cultural expenditures of local governments in 2019: roughly
€10 billion
Cultural facilities: nearly
45 000
listed monuments, nearly
1 200
public exhibition spaces,
1 200
public places for presenting live shows,
public cultural education
Ministry of Culture workforce: nearly
9 400
officials (2020)
Ministry of Culture operator workforce: nearly
14 000
officials (2019)
Introductory remark
The Ministry of Culture has long included communication in its field of competence
(public broadcasting, media support, etc.). However, for reasons derived from the specific logic
of the functioning of this field, the issues developed in this structural report relate exclusively,
unless explicitly stated otherwise, to the scope of the Ministry’s activities under the “culture”
This report was drawn up based on observations that the Court has been able to make
during inspections carried out in the culture sector since 2015, supplemented by those relating
to the work carried out in this field by the regional and territorial chambers of accounts.
References to that work are provided in the appendix.
The policy pursued by the Ministry of Culture since its creation in 1961 has resulted in a
tremendous expansion of cultural activity throughout the territories. With the considerable
development of the offering in all areas of heritage and creation, the increase in funding
sources from local governments or the private sector, and, in return, the intensified
consumption and cultural practices, the French cultural landscape has undergone profound
changes in the space of a few decades.
France’s cultural facilities in 2019
Music, dance,
and drama
As a result of this development, the central role of initiator played by the Ministry of
Culture has ceased to be essential, which has earned it criticism, for several years, of its ability
to again be the instigator of a cultural policy carrying momentum. To the point that some have
come to question whether or not it still had a real usefulness as such, in view of the importance
assumed by the major operators, and while a significant part of policies have been
decentralized. The work carried out by the Court has led it to observe that the Ministry of
Culture, in some ways a victim of the success of the project of which it was originally the backer,
would now benefit from separating out the missions on which it intends to concentrate,
prioritizing its efforts.
1 -
A -
The structuring of the cultural landscape and bringing the ministry’s
role into perspective
Since crossing the threshold represented by the near doubling of its budget in 1982 (from
4.2 billion FF in 1981 to 7.5 billion FF in 1982), the Ministry of Culture found itself in a position
to considerably expand its policy of supporting cultural activity over time, the effort made having
been gradually increased by all the governments which succeeded one another, until 2010.
Although the funds allocated by the State to culture then experienced a brief reduction phase
between 2011 and 2
014, they then began to rise again. Totalling €3 billion in 2019, the
ministry’s expenditures represent, given the evolution of prices and changes in the scope of
the budgetary role of “culture”, about 1.3 times the 1982 level.
Thanks to these budgetary allocations, the ministry was able to both intensify its actions
and expand its scope. Inspired by the idea that culture covered all the distinctive features,
traditions, practices and lifestyles of a society or a social group, it opened up its field of
rvention to activities that until then did not fall under the “classic” definition of culture:
photography, circus arts, street art, songs, comics, design, etc. In these fields, as in those it
previously covered, it has developed a vigorous policy of support for creation and
dissemination, largely through the establishment or consolidation of cultural institutions of all
kinds (museums, theatres, performing arts companies, media libraries, schools, etc.), not only
at the national level, but more broadly at the local level, where it has come to support the
growing commitment of local governments.
Local governments have indeed taken advantage of the first decentralization laws to
invest in the field of culture. In constant euros, they have almost doubled the resources devoted
to culture for forty years, reaching €10 billion in 2019, or more than three times the budget of
the State’s “culture” role. This evolution has thus resulted in the considerable development of
the network of cultural institutions, particularly in the territories in which most of them depend
legally and, for the most part, financially, on local governments.
The Ministry of Culture has also sought to structure the scope of its interventions through
an institutionalization policy, with the creation of specific administrative categories (public
cultural cooperation establishments) or labels (national drama centres, national choreographic
centres, national stages, contemporary music scenes, etc.) giving rise to the right to financial
aid and support. In addition, it gradually transferred a large part of its programming and
management skills to national operators that it established as national public establishments
where this was not already the case. The latter have multiplied and, for the most part,
developed very significantly, relying on the management autonomy conferred on them by their
statutes in order to free up own resources for this purpose to supplement their financial means.
In the course of the 2000s, the State also set about building a legal and fiscal framework
aimed at encouraging private sponsorship in the cultural sphere. This has become a fully-
fledged means of financing culture (around €400M in 2019, to which must be added the cost
of the associated tax benefits for the State). In many cases, it now turns out to be the decisive
condition for carrying out certain projects or operations. In addition, as the Court was able to
observe during its inspections, the private sector, already present as manager or in financing
the operation of certain monuments or performance halls, has started, thanks to very
favourable tax measures, to develop in other areas as a full-fledged player, particularly in
artwork exhibition venues, such as the LVMH or Pinault foundations in Paris.
Finally, a direct result of State action (e.g., with the fixed book price) or a consequence
of the revitalization of the sector to which it has contributed, culture now counts as a significant
economic activity (€36B in 2019, more than 500,000 jobs, not counting indir
ect effects, such
as tourism).
Carried out continuously for forty years, this policy has resulted in the considerable
multiplication of stakeholders working in the field of culture (public and private, State and
regional), an abundance of cultural activities on all levels (creation, distribution, promotion of
heritage, etc.), but also a certain dilution of the roles of the Ministry, whose financial weight in
relation to local governments and the private sector is in any case brought strongly into
B -
An increasingly managerial Ministry
Over the years, the budgetary leverage available to the Ministry has lost its pre-eminent
role. Given the growth differential between the evolution of the ministry’s budget and that of
local government appropriations devoted to culture, as well as financing from private sources
(sharply increasing own resources of establishments, development of sponsorship and private
cultural spaces), the Ministry’s power of direction and encouragement has undoubtedly
The continuously growing share of cultural spending by local governments
Ministry of Culture budget (implemented)
2,632 2,985 2,554
2,913 2,947
Consolidated local government cultural
6,816 7,472 10,160 9,244 9,830
Sources: Ministry of Culture/DEPS and Court of Accounts
With the proliferation of cultural stakeholders drawing on the public subsidies it
distributes, the Ministry of Culture is devoting an increasingly large part of its activities to the
distribution of public funds. There is also a sprinkling of aid according to a policy of as a
dispenser of cash and entitlements that is difficult to question, which makes the priorities of the
State's cultural policy less and less clear.
The allocation of ministerial credits to cultural institutions and stakeholders is, for a large
part (45% in 2019), pre-empted by the funding of large national institutions (subsidies for public
service expenditures and the payroll of staff still managed by the Ministry of Culture). The rest
is distributed to myriad stakeholders and institutions spread across the country, sometimes in
very small amounts. This share taken in its overall budget by the financing of national operators
continues to increase (it was only 38% in the early 2000s), the financial margins of the State
to support other stakeholders have been reduced.
This particularly applies to the aid allocated to the performing arts which, apart from the
financing of the large labelled structures, leads to a fragmentation of allocations, heavy in
management, but which the Court observed that it is part of an ecosystem difficult to change
in view of the complexity of cross-financing which this sector receives. However, both the
Ministry and the professionals themselves have long recognized that massive public funding
(budget subsidies, tax assistance, not to mention the very significant effects of the intermittent
regime) have led to an over-abundant supply, therefore to an imbalance between creation and
distribution. To date, the Ministry of Culture has refrained from opening up on this subject,
admittedly extremely sensitive, which should undoubtedly be an important reform project, that
the effects of the pandemic undoubtedly make even more urgent.
This blurring of the main lines of ministerial policy is also found in the field of heritage,
where the administrative and financial dimension has taken precedence over a resolutely
assumed approach in terms of choices and priorities. In this context, the large operators and
their projects in the Ile-de-France region have been favoured, to the detriment of municipal and
rural heritage, which is however the most vulnerable, because it is supported by owners without
great means. This insufficient consideration for the heritage policy in its proximity dimension
made the Ministry less sensitive to the territorial issues of this policy, the regional directorates
of cultural affairs (DRAC), decentralized services of the State, having to “make do” with
resources weakened by the lack of attractiveness and recognition from the historical
monuments sector. As the Court was able to observe, it follows that the triggering conditions
and the rates applied to aid for the maintenance and restoration of heritage vary according to
the DRACs, without a homogeneous doctrine emerging clearly establishing criteria of choice
and appropriateness.
Finally, the continuous increase in the scope of the Ministry to which has been added
the financial weight of major projects, the costs of which have for the most part significantly
drifted, resulted in a certain dispersion of resources depriving the State of the means to
satisfactorily secure the conservation of its own heritage, e.g., as illustrated by the deteriorating
condition of the cathedrals.
Corroborating the observation of an increasing dilution of the Ministry’s main
lines of
action, the Court’s recent work on artistic higher education establishments has highlighted the
absence of an integrated strategy in this area, where the steering of the Ministry is reduced to
the performance “as time goes by” of administrative an
d budgetary supervision of each of the
establishments concerned.
C - An administration that is less and less well-equipped
The Ministry of Culture has suffered in recent times from strong ministerial instability and
a weakening of its supervisory and expertise resources. Since 2007, eight ministers in less
than fourteen years have succeeded one another in the Ministry of Culture, plus just as many,
if not more, cabinet directors, and general secretaries, which has affected the continuity of the
direction and th
e strategic steering of the State’s cultural policy. While the rapid turnover of
ministerial teams has been partly offset by the relative stability of general managers in their
post, they, responsible for very extensive sectors of activity, have increasingly let themselves
be absorbed by their administrative functions to the detriment of implementing structuring
political projects, perceived as uncertain because they can be abandoned with each change
of minister.
The Court noted that the central administration is moreover confronted with the
continuous attrition of its pool of managers and technical experts for multiple reasons. The
level of remuneration offered in central administration is less and less attractive, not only with
regard to other ministries, but especially the salary that the same agents can obtain on
secondment positions with operators, not to mention in the private sector. In addition, the
interest in positions among operators exerts a strong power of attraction for high-level agents:
the possibility that they offer to exercise effective managerial responsibilities and to participate
in concrete projects leads many of them to abandon the central administration.
The recent change of scale of the regions with the 7 August 2015 Act Establishing the
New Territorial Organization of the Republic (NOTRe) was not supported within the DRAC, if
only to compensate for travel time. This inadequacy of resources to programmes was notably
observed by the Court in the work it carried out on the stimulus measures taken to moderate
the effects of the pandemic: while very large allocations have been released to support heritage
maintenance and restoration work in the territories (some DRACs have received up to 60% of
additional appropriations for this purpose), the insufficient number of agents coming under the
administrative processing chain of work authorizations has created bottlenecks which hamper
the ability to initiate the projects, therefore the desired effect to relaunch the economy.
The human resources issue of the Ministry of Culture cannot be detached from the
development of the environment in which it operates. Whereas it was once an unrivalled
protagonist, it now has to reckon with the stature and the capacity for initiative of the leaders
of the major operators created by the Ministry itself, but also with the rise in power, as
stakeholders of the cultural policy, of major local elected officials which further amplified the
expansion of the regions. As a result, faced with these now powerful stakeholders (the first of
which are theoretically under its supervision), the Ministry no longer appears sufficiently
equipped to ensure that the conditions for political and management dialogue with other
cultural stakeholders remain balanced.
Combined with the continuous expansion of its scope of intervention and the growing
fragmentation of its programme, the weakening of the central services of the Ministry of Culture
and the inadequacy of the resources of its decentralized services hamper the performance of
its strategic function of inspiring and managing national cultural policies.
D- Problematic management
Due to the success of the project on which the Ministry of Culture’s programme has
mainly focused since its creation, its central administration finds itself having to manage an
increasingly diverse and disparate field: regulatory and administrative management of the
various sectors that fall within its area of expertise, management of operators to whom it mainly
plays the role of resource allocator, management of decentralized activities or the mechanism
for allocating grants from widely variable amounts to a broad range of stakeholders, under
conditions which tend more and more to participate in a logic of subscription, devoid of quality
criteria or institutional mechanisms making it possible to assess the relevance of the aid or
even of check the regularity of its allocation. The recent flash audits conducted by the Court
on the specific support provided by the Ministry in the field of heritage and performing arts
confirm this observation.
In addition, the many audits conducted by the Court, including the most recent ones, on
public establishments under the authority of the Ministry, raise questions about the conditions
under which the latter exercises its supervision. Engagement letters that are non-existent or
signed well after the appointment of directors, performance and objectives contracts covering
periods largely already begun at the time of their signing or overlapping the mandates of
directors, vague strategic objectives, too many indicators which are often irrelevant to ensuring
appropriate monitoring of the activity and performance of establishments, an unstructured
management dialogue where technical considerations, when they exist, often take precedence
over the co-construction of strategic thinking: these almost systematic observations testify to
an overall unsatisfactory performance of supervisory functions.
With the implementation, at the end of the 2010s, of more open, transparent procedures,
and the establishment of stricter rules on the duration of mandates, the Ministry sought to
streamline its appointment policy in the establishments falling under its supervision. However,
the conditions of appointment of the leaders of large national establishments, which still remain
fairly discretionary, the position of these leaders with regard to the sectoral departments of the
Ministry relegated in the 2010 reform, to the rank of services, complicate the performance of
supervision which is also too weak to conduct a balanced strategic dialogue with the operators.
Given these various constraints, the Ministry’s room for manoeuvre is increasingly
reduced to initiating
one-off projects of varying significance, such as the launch of a major
project leading to the erection of a new building (e.g., the Mucem or the Paris Philharmonic) or
to the restoration of an old one, together with a renewed usage project (e.g., the Grand Palais
or the castle of Villers-Cotterêts Palace), the creation of a new operator (e.g., the National
Music Centre) and, in a less visible way, the support, admittedly often decisive, in terms of
legitimization or financial closure, given to a multitude of projects in the regions.
Ultimately, apart from a few general initiatives, such as free admission to museums for
young people or, more recently, the “Culture Pass”, the policy of the Ministry consists mainly
in the continuation of a policy of subsidies and as a cash dispenser, with as a consequence,
in many cases, the increase of the financial expenditures weighing durably on its budget. The
development of a national cultural policy responding to the challenges of the time, or in phase
with it, is no longer perceived as the priority role of the Ministry, from which all the others would
The fact that the Act Establishing the New Territorial Organization of the Republic
established cultural policy as a policy shared between the State and the regions, departments,
and municipalities does not relieve the State of its specific responsibilities in this matter. All the
more so as the affirmation of this principle has not resulted in specifying the respective roles
or areas of expertise falling to each of these stakeholders. If the State can no longer claim to
act systematically as the leader of cultural projects co-financed by others, it nonetheless
retains, in addition to the powers of its exclusive jurisdiction, the legitimacy of carrying out a
political and societal project in cultural matters. And it turns out that, in our country, culture has
long been considered as one of the essential components of this social project, as the fight for
“the cultural exception”, of which France has been the spearhead, and as evidenc
ed, in
general, by the singularity of the profile and the role characterizing the Ministry of Culture with
regard to its foreign counterparts, but also of the expectations that it arouses.
The new situation resulting from the swarming and decentralization of cultural players
leads to questioning the need, or even the appropriateness, of maintaining this unique
positioning. One could indeed consider that by having contributed powerfully to the
development, structuring, and revitalization of a sector of the culture which has acquired in
many respects a capacity for autonomous functioning, the Ministry has, all in all, accomplished
the essence of its original mission and that its pioneering vocation must give way to a more
modest, even trivialized, conception of its action. But we can also imagine that cultural issues
have not lost any of their exceptional dimension with regard to developments in the
contemporary world.
The continuous expansion of the commercial sphere, the transformations induced by the
digital revolution and the conquering offensives of the GAFAM companies (Google, Apple,
Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft), the rivalry of the powers for which “soft power” has become
a weapon in its own right, or even the questions about the motives from which the perspectives
of “living together” raise many important questions, which call for answers in which culture
seems to be an essential component, and the Ministry in charge of it a necessary protagonist.
These are the new challenges which seem called upon to take over from the cultural landscape
development policy successfully carried out over the past decades. To be able to meet them
adequately, it appears desirable that the Ministry of Culture should initiate the transformations
that will allow it to concentrate on the missions to which they now refer.
A- Redefining the State's strategic objectives
Changes in the cultural landscape generated by the Ministry, changes in cultural
practices, even in the relationship to culture, and the major issues arising from globalization
are all factors which argue in favour of a comprehensive review of roles that the State will have
to assume in the decades to come. In its report released last June entitled, “Exiting from crisis:
A public finance strategy”, the Court called, particularly for the culture sector, for a review of
the roles of all public stakeholders, with a view to abandoning certain roles that the public
sphere would not necessarily be called upon to assume, to further streamline the powers
exercised by several categories of public administrations in charge of the cultural domain, to
decentralize activities which could be carried out more effectively by another public authority
or at another level, and to reorient public action towards vulnerable regions. An essential
exercise that should lead it to refocus its action on its strategic objectives, such a review of
missions appears to be the prerequisite which will allow the Ministry of Culture to resume its
place as a “pioneer”.
Establishing the objectives and renewing the tools of the national cultural policy should
proceed from a vision of culture participating in the general educational mission pursued by
the State and considered as a privileged vector of the collective bond
which particularly
implies a strengthening of actions aimed at young people. This vision seems inseparable from
the objective of providing access to culture for the greatest number of people through the
pursuit of cultural democratization efforts, the invention of new forms to develop artistic and
cultural education, as well as the promotion of inclusive initiatives, which requires a strategy of
targeting actions and aid aimed at disadvantaged regions and populations.
A review of the State’s cultural actions presupposes a methodical re
-examination of the
issues attached to each area of intervention: the conservation and transmission of the
collective heritage to future generations; support for the freedom to create and the
encouragement likely to be given to new forms of creation, by prioritizing taking charge of the
risks that only the State is able to bear; and the conservation, development and promotion of
know-how, by consolidating the arts and crafts sectors and by developing higher education in
the arts with the aim of excellence and its recognition at the worldwide level.
In accordance with the function of initiative and the role of coordinator that the Ministry
is required to play at the national level, it will be able to look into the conditions enabling it to
fully assume its role of “flagship” for those areas of culture that involve other ministries. The
Court was recently able to observe that, for all the monuments, buildings and heritage works
belonging to the State, or even higher artistic training, relations with the ministries responsible
for higher education and national education are almost non-existent. The federation of
initiatives to promote French and European culture on the international scene, by integrating
the importance of “soft power”, could be helpful in participating in this reflection.
It also appears desirable to include strengthening the management of the digital issue
among the priority focuses of its action, in order to make that a major lever of its programme,
particularly in terms of the conservation, promotion, and dissemination of culture, but also as
a vector for content densification. And, on a more general level, continuing the effort initiated
to strengthen the forward-looking function seems to be one of the major concerns of this
review, so that the ministry can be constantly at the forefront of its field, taking into account
technological, economic and societal changes.
B- Completing the movement of deconcentration and transfers to
local governments
In order for the Ministry to be able to effectively refocus on its missions of stimulating and
steering cultural policy, it appears necessary to continue to its conclusion the movement of
transferring operational activities that it used to exercise directly to operators under its
supervision or to local governments and that the remaining scope of its responsibility thus be
fixed unambiguously.
This perspective is particularly valid for the sphere of national museums, which, prior to
the 1990s, was almost entirely managed by the Ministry. Admittedly, if the largest national
museums have been, one after the other, transformed into public establishments and have, as
a result, acquired their autonomy of operation and, for the most important, of management,
there still remain some fifteen museums which fall under the Ministry. Although placed under
the status of service with national competence (SCN), in reality they do not have any room for
manoeuvre enabling them to develop. A similar observation was made by the Court during its
audit of Mobilier National, whose very great difficulty in reforming is essentially attributable to
its SCN status, which deprives it of room for action.
Moreover, the creation of cultural operators from the Ministry’s services has not
systematically resulted in the transfer to all such establishments of the personnel who work
there. Despite recent movements in this direction
(Musée d’Orsay, Versailles Palace public
agency, and National Monuments Centre), and for which the Court had stressed the need,
there are still, mainly in the museum sphere
not counting museums with SCN status
establishments (Musée Picasso, Musée Guimet, Mucem, Fontainebleau Palace public
agency), some of whose staff continue to be paid and administered by the ministry (so-called
“title II” officials). Completing the transfer of such staff should enable the establishments
concerned to conduct a real human resources policy, and therefore to have all the levers to
optimize their overall management.
In the same vein, the attempt by the State, under the aegis of the commission chaired
by René Rémond in 2003, to transfer national monuments to local governments that appear
to be more closely related to local management met with a very weak positive response from
the latter, obliging them to remain in the fold of the National Monuments Centre. Such an
undertaking should be relaunched, however. It would also apply to certain museums still
classified in the category of national museums, but which, in view of the collections for which
they are responsible, could be decentralized and thus benefit from more dynamic management
thanks to local support from local governments. Return to the policy of transferring to local
governments “national” monuments or museums whose development would be better able to
make clearer the dividing line between the national and territorial levels.
It therefore seems essential to complete the logic of deconcentration and transfers to
local governments of operational management activities, the usefulness of which remains
ensured by the State at the central level is hardly evident.
C- Reorganizing the Ministry around its core vocation
Beyond the desirable transfer of certain operational activities still managed at the level
of its central administration, it appears that the failures of its organization, the excessive
mobilization of its agents on daily management and reporting work prevent the Ministry of
Culture from focusing on the political priorities of its activity and taking full advantage of the
potential for very high-level technical expertise at its disposal. This situation argues in favour
of reforming its organization and its functioning, based on the prior redefinition of its core
vocation resulting from a review of its missions.
To this end, a comprehensive reorganization of the processes that structure the activities
of the Ministry seems inevitable. Based on the findings that the Court established during its
audits, it appears that this public transformation project should lead, as regards the missions
which continue to fall under State intervention, to a re-examination of the investigation,
decision-making and management process in order to increase its efficiency and fluidity, and
this with a view to leading to the implementation of a comprehensive multi-year management
mode based on objectives and results.
The objective of concentrating the activity of the central administration on tasks at the
strictly national level may involve pushing the deconcentration of decision-making and
management processes as much as possible to the level of the DRACs and draw the
consequences, in terms of the human resources allocated to them, from the subsequent
development of their missions. As a consequence, adjusting the scope of activities incumbent
on the central administration will encourage a better articulation of the duality of business
management (general departments) and that of resources (general secretariat), through a
redefinition of the scope of the departments.
In addition, insofar as the operators under its supervision participate in the action of the
ministry, a review of their business model would benefit from being integrated into this reform
process. These operators have indeed been undermined by the pandemic, with recent flash
audits showing that museums and live performance operators have seen their own resources
collapse without future attendance forecasts allowing to expect a return to the previous level.
They would therefore benefit from pooling the functions that are common to them in order to
reduce their overall costs (particularly in the museum sphere) or to facilitate their exercise
thanks to the provision of collective services (particularly among small operators). In addition,
the establishment of a general management control framework could enable them to have a
shared repository.
Finally, the prospect for the State to ambitiously assume its refocused missions seems
to have to go through the development of a human resources policy specific to the category of
senior executives, based on the enrichment of managerial tasks, the development of a real
forward-looking management of jobs and skills, and an incentive remuneration policy with the
aim of increasing the fluidity of the pathways between the ministry and its operators.
The necessary transformation of the Ministry of Culture to adapt its functioning and its
organization to changes in its new system and better fulfil certain missions which come under
its sole impetus has not escaped the notice of its managers. The “ministry transformation plan”
launched in July 2019, with the triple objective of strengthening interdepartmental policies,
making culture a priority for young people, and repositioning the action of the State seemed to
want to provide answers to this diagnosis. While some of the avenues then opened up led to
ad hoc reforms, the pandemic and the change in the teams in charge of steering the overall
process seem to have led to the freezing of the plan. However, the possibility of the State
regaining a new impetus in the field of cultural policy is not conceivable without a preliminary
reform of the Ministry, which leads it to refocus on a limited number of roles and to perform
them in a more strategic way.
The Court of Accounts, and the regional and territorial chambers of accounts, have
carried out a great deal of work in recent years on which the drafting of this report has been
based, particularly:
Regarding the Court of Accounts:
State heritage support during the pandemic
, flash audit,
November 2021;
The Ministry of Culture’s support for the performing arts during the COVID
-19 crisis
, flash
November 2021;
The State budget in 2020 (results and management)
Culture role
, April 2021;
The Public Information Library,
February 2021;
Higher education in plastic arts,
communication to the Senate Finance Committee, January
The National Higher School for Industrial Creation
, final observations, July 2020;
The State budget in 2019 (results and management)
Culture role,
April 2020;
Mobilier national, the national furniture department and the National Manufactures of
Gobelins, Beauvais and Savonnerie
, annual public report, February 2020;
The international promotion of engineering and cultural brands. The case for National
, communication to the Senate Finance Committee, June 2019;
The real estate issue within the establishment of the Palais de la Porte Dorée,
referral, May
The State budget in 2018 (results and management)
Culture role
, May 2019;
The National Archives. The ways and means of a new ambition,
communication to the Senate
Finance Committee, November 2017;
National theatres
, annual public report, February 2016;
The Paris National Opera,
special report
September 2016.
The report is also based on the results of numerous audits by the Court of bodies
which have not given rise to publication.
About regional and territorial chambers of accounts:
Île-de-France region - Cultural policy
Regional Chamber of Accounts (CRC) Île-de-France,
November 2021;
Lyon National Opera Association (Lyon metropolitan area)
CRC Auvergne-Rhône- Alpes,
November 2021;
Limoges Opera House (Haute-Vienne)
CRC Nouvelle Aquitaine, October 2021;
Public establishment for cultural cooperation (EPCC) "Louvre-Lens Museum" (Pas-de-
CRC Hauts de France, September 2021;
“National Choreographic Centre, Roubaix Hauts
France” Association (Nord)
- CRC Hauts
de France, July 2021;
Contemporary music authority of Grand Angoulême “La Nef”
- Angoulême (Charente)
Nouvelle Aquitaine, June 2021;
Public establishment of cultural cooperation “La condition publique” (Nord)
CRC Hauts-de-
France, May 2021;
Public establishment for cultural cooperation (EPCC) Le Quai - National Dramatic Centre
(CDN) - Angers (Maine-et-Loire)
CRC Pays de la Loire, May 2020;
“Beauvais Theatre Management Committee” Association (Oise)
CRC Hauts-de-France,
November 2020;
r cultural centre Association “Le Manège” in Maubeuge (Nord)
CRC Hauts-de-
France, May 2020;
Public establishment for cultural cooperation (EPCC) “Heritage trails in Finistère”
- Daoulas
(Finistère) - CRC Brittany, December 2019;
Brittany Regional Contemporary Art Fund (FRAC) in Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine) - CRC Brittany,
October 2019;
Association for the development of musical activities in the Aisne (Adama) - CRC Hauts-de-
France, October 2019;
Mixed union of the “Ardèche music and dance” conservatory in Pri
vas (Ardèche) - CRC
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, May 2019;
New Caledonia Conservatory of Music and Dance
Territorial Chamber of Accounts (CTC)
New Caledonia, May 2019 ;
“Arts, Leisure and Culture” Association of Méru
-les-Sablons (Oise) - CRC Hauts-de-France,
April 2019 ;
Réunion Local public company of regional museums (SPL RMR) (Réunion) - CRC La
Réunion, February 2019;
“Lille 3000” Association (Nord)
- CRC Hauts-de-France, February 2019;
“La Renaissance” of Mondeville Association (Cal
CRC Normandy, October 2018;
Cabourg Film Festival Association (Calvados)
CRC Normandy, October 2018;
Te Fare Tauhiti Nui (TFTN) - House of culture (French Polynesia)
CTC French Polynesia,
July 2018;
Fontevraud-Cultural Center of the West Association (Maine-et-Loire)
CRC Pays de la Loire,
June 2018;
“Picardie Orchestra” Association (Somme)
CRC Hauts-de-France, June 2018 ;
The Compass Rose -
Villeneuve d’Ascq (Nord)
CRC Hauts-de-France, May 2018 ;
“The Channel, national stage” Association (Pas
CRC Hauts-de-France, May
2018 ;
Amiens House of culture (Somme)
CRC Hauts-de-France, May 2018.
This report is available
on the Court of Accounts website: