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27 November 2012

MPs call for external scrutiny of public policies (France)

The French National Assembly (Evaluation and Control Committee), in its 22 November meeting (minutes just published) continued discussion of options for the modernisation of public action, the new concept which has replaced administrative reform in France. Two MP rapporteurs who had filed a December 2011 report on the comprehensive operation of general review of public policies (RGPP in French) have updated their analysis and now recommend that any future modernisation strategy be preceded by a systematic evaluation of the public policies concerned. What is new is that the Mr Cornut-Gentille suggests that the evaluation be done not as usual by an administrative body but by an independent "personality" (=VIP) "invested with a degree of legitimacy within the administrations based on their authority and willingness to reform." See reactions (including international comments) on the MP's official website. The Commitee endorsed the new report and set up a small parliamentary team to supervise its implementation. This keen interest of Parliament in administrative reform illustrates the importance of the institutional design issues at stake, and more specifically the "multi-level" issues of local governance, which will be revisited again in coming reforms. Last week an amendment was introduced by Parliament into the 2013 Budget act to oblige government to provide more regular information on progress of administrative reform.

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