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France End-of-Term Report 2015-2017

France’s first action plan was ambitious regarding the number of commitments and areas included but was limited by focusing largely on open data reforms. A majority of commitments were substantially implemented thanks to concurrent legislative reforms. The implementation of new open data rules might be a significant obstacle to be considered in the next action plan.

Commitment

Overview

Potential starred *

Major or Outstanding Results? **

1.1. Open Regional and Local Authorities’ data

Improve the financial transparency of local government through the proactive publication of this information in open data format.

 

No

Yes

✪2. Increase transparency in public procurement

Standardize the format of public tender data, encourage increased publicity of awarded public tenders, and include open data clauses in contracts awarded by public authorities.

Yes

Yes

11. Co-produce with civil society the data infrastructure essential to society and economy

Involve civil society in the development of central and local governments’ data infrastructure.

No

Yes

✪23. Empowering and protecting public officials in preventing conflicts of interest

Update the ethical rights and obligations of civil servants and strengthen preventive measures against conflicts of interests.

Yes

Yes

* Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as being specific, relevant, and potentially transformative
** Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as having major or outstanding results in terms of the ‘Did it Open Government?’ variable
✪ Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as being specific, relevant, potentially transformative, and substantially or fully implemented

The government did not maintain any regular multistakeholder forum during the action plan. During the second year of implementation, the government launched “Open Ministry”, to at serve as a dialogue forum for implementing institutions, civil society, and experts. “Open Ministry” held four meetings, though these meetings were largely not focused on reviewing the first action plan.

France did not act contrary to OGP process

A country is considered to have acted contrary to process if one or more of the following occurs:

  • The National Action Plan was developed with neither online or offline engagements with citizens and civil society
  • The government fails to engage with the IRM researchers in charge of the country’s Year 1 and Year 2 reports
  • The IRM report establishes that there was no progress made on implementing any of the commitments in the country’s action plan

While most of France’s commitments in the first action plan saw substantial implementation, only a few were fully implemented. The action plan saw improvements on defining conflict of interest for civil servants and increasing transparency in public procurement.

Commitment Title Potential starred * Complete Major or Outstanding Results? ** Overview
1.1. Open Regional and Local Authorities’ data No No Yes Local governments are now legally required to publish financial and operational data. OpenData France notes that the threshold for opening data (3,500 residents) represents a significant step forward for transparency at the local level.
1.2. Publish decisions and reports of municipal council meetings online No No No The 2015 NOTRe Law (which entered force in February 2016) requires municipalities to publish information on deliberation and meeting minutes. However, the law does not require disclosure of this information in electronic format.
1.3. Publish information relative to building permits in open data No No No While the government launched a database for building permits (Sit@del) and organized a hackathon, the working group to facilitate the publication of building permit data was mostly inactive during the reporting period.
✪2. Increase transparency in public procurement Yes No Yes The government set legal requirements to open data on procurement and concession contracts, and standardised data for disclosure. However, these activities are scheduled to be completed outside the reporting period.
3. Improve transparency in international development aid No No Yes The French Development Agency and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs now publish data on development projects in open and reusable formats and on a single platform. This marks a significant improvement from the status quo.
4. Open access to evaluation of public policies and their conclusions No No No While the Secretary-General for Government Modernization has published new public policy evaluations on its website, a free library of public policy evaluation reports already existed prior to the action plan.
5. Involve citizens further in the work of the Cour des comptes No No No Cour des comptes (France’s supreme audit institution) made new data available to the public, and collaborated with data scientists. However, the datasets have rarely been used, and there is no evidence of improved civic engagement with Cour des comptes.
6. Facilitate access to public officials’ transparency obligations No Yes Yes Decree N° 2016-570 (May 2016) requires public officials to declare their declaration through an online reporting platform (ADEL). By October 2017, 761 declarations were available in open data format on ADEL, representing a significant improvement to transparency of this information.
✪7. Identify beneficial owners of legal entities registered in France Yes No No Decree no. 2016-1635 requires companies and corporate groups to identify and register their ultimate beneficial owners by August 2017. Citizens must demonstrate a legitimate interest to make an information request through a judicial ordinance, though the term “legitimate interest” is undefined.
8. Transparency in extractives Yes No No This commitment called for France to join the Extractives Industries Transparency Industries (EITI). However, efforts towards EITI accession have stalled due to disagreements between the government and civil society over the parameters of EITI in France.
9. Increase transparency in international trade commercial negotiations No No No By the end of the action plan period, the government has made only limited amounts of information on trade negotiations available to the public, and this commitment has not improved transparency in this area.
10.1. Fix my neighborhood No Withdrawn No The “Fix my Neighbourhood” project aimed to help local government dispatch alerts to relevant departments. This commitment was officially withdrawn at the midterm.
10.2. Digital Fix-it No No No Digital Fix-it sought to develop a pilot application to allow citizens to report incidences of cybervandalism on state-controlled and semi-public websites. However, the project has not been started.
11. Co-produce with civil society the data infrastructure essential to society and economy No No Yes The government opened several sets of reference data and consulted the public on the development of the country’s essential data infrastructure. Despite the consultations with stakeholders, it is unclear how these inputs were included in the criteria for releasing information.
✪12. Open legal resources & collaboration with civil society on opening the law Yes No No The passage of the Digital Republic Law in November 2016 represents a significant step toward improving access to legal information. However, at the end of the action plan period, the law has yet to be fully implemented and public consultations on bills are not institutionalised.
13. Leverage previous consultations and reform participatory mechanisms No No No This commitment aimed to improve public consultations through digital tools. However, by the end of the action plan period, there was no change in the level of centralisation or accessibility of information on public consultations.
14. Strengthen mediation and citizens’ ability to act in matters relating to justice No No No While the law on modernising justice and the Digital Republic Law contain major steps forward regarding access to judicial decisions and access to justice, the relevant clauses have not been implemented at the end of the action plan period.
✪15. Strengthen government policy on the opening and circulation of data Yes No No The 2016 Digital Republic Law entrenches the principle of default open data and represents a significant change in government practice. However, the law has yet to be fully implemented.
16. Open calculation models and simulators No No No While the OpenFisca platform was extended to new areas of legislation and new codes were published, this commitment remained limited in scale and scope.
17. Transform government’s technological resources into an open platform No Yes No The government launched an e-government portal France Connect and carried out awareness-raising activities. However, no new information has been disclosed through his commitment.
18. Strengthen interaction with the user and improve public services through e-government No No No The government updated the digital public services dashboard and carried out a survey for feedback on users’ habits and satisfaction with the services provided. However, the information on user satisfaction for the services on the dashboard is very general.
19. Empower civil society to support schools No No No This commitment sought to allow citizens to contribute to youth education. However, the activities did not create new opportunities for citizens to engage in the decision-making process for education.
20. Diversify recruitment within public institutions No No No The government made preparatory steps towards improving diversity in the civil service, this commitment did not establish public-facing mechanisms to hold officials accountable for discriminatory practices within the civil service.
21. Grow a culture of openness, data literacy and digital technologies No No No While digital literacy trainings for civil servants took place, there is no clear evidence that they lead to any significant change in government practices.
22. Spread public innovation, and develop research on open government No No No The commitment aimed to spread digital innovation across the public sector, particularly at the local level. However, the activities carried out for this commitment were limited in scope and did not meaningfully contribute to opening up government.
✪23. Empowering and protecting public officials in preventing conflicts of interest Yes Yes Yes Law n° 2016-483 has for the first time clarified the definition of “conflict of interest” for civil servants” and clarified ethical standards in the public sector.  there is no public information on measures to strengthen whistleblower protection through this law.
24. Involve civil society in the COP21 conference and promote transparency regarding the agenda and negotiations No No No While the Ministry of Environment, Energy and the Sea published a participation charter after consulting relevant stakeholders, no new tools or platforms were created to encourage public participation on environmental policy. 
25. Open data and models related to climate and sustainable development No No No This commitment opened a number of new datasets on climate and sustainable development. However, the criteria of the data to be publish is unclear, as is the regularity of which the data will be updated.
26. Initiate new collaboration with civil society to develop innovative solutions to meet the challenges of climate and sustainable development No No No While this commitment encouraged a participatory approach and civil society-led solutions to environmental issues, it is unclear if the activities carried out contributed to permanent changes in government practices.  

* Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as being specific, relevant, and potentially transformative
** Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as having major or outstanding results in terms of the ‘Did it Open Government?’ variable
✪ Commitment is evaluated by the IRM as being specific, relevant, potentially transformative, and substantially or fully implemented

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