Skip Navigation

France Transitional Results Report 2018-2020

Introduction

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. Action plan commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Civil society and government leaders use the evaluations to reflect on their progress and determine if efforts have impacted people’s lives.

The IRM has partnered with Sofia Wickberg, Sciences Po Paris, to carry out this evaluation. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around the development and implementation of future commitments. For a full description of the IRM’s methodology, please visit https://www.opengovpartnership.org/about/independent-reporting-mechanism.

This report covers the implementation of France’s second action plan for 2018-2020. In 2021, the IRM will implement a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh.[1] The IRM adjusted its Implementation Reports for 2018-2020 action plans to fit the transition process to the new IRM products and enable the IRM to adjust its workflow in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on OGP country processes.

Action Plan Implementation

The IRM Transitional Results Report assesses the status of the action plan’s commitments and the results from their implementation at the end of the action plan cycle. This report does not re-visit the assessments for “Verifiability,” “Relevance” or “Potential Impact.” The IRM assesses those three indicators in IRM Design Reports. For more details on each indicator, please see Annex I in this report.

General Highlights and Results

France’s 2018-2020 action plan contained 21 commitments. Two thirds (14 out of 21) of commitments were substantially or completely implemented. This is an improvement from the previous action plan, for which only 17 out of 29 (59%) commitments were assessed as at least substantially completed.[2]

The level of completion can be attributed to the fact that the design of the 2018-2020 action plan was largely government-driven, with administrations including activities in the action plan that they were already planning. As highlighted in the Design Report 2018-2020, the OGP process had largely lost momentum at the time the action plan was drafted, and many civil society actors had withdrawn from the process,[3] leading to relatively unambitious commitments in terms of OGP values (15 commitments were assessed as having minor or no potential).[4] Thus, the implementation of this action plan only resulted in a few changes to access to information and civic participation, and did not yield any improvement with regards to public accountability. The implementation of commitments 17 on public participation in decisions on energy transitions and sustainable development and 20 on the transparency of the interest representatives’ activities stood out as initiatives that opened government in terms of access to new information on private influence on public decision and of public participation in public decision-making (see section 2.4).

The administration experienced a significant turn-over both in terms of OGP overall responsibility and open government contact points within individual administrations and agencies.[5] Etalab was the OGP Point of Contact (PoC) until late 2019. A period of approximately nine months ensued without anyone overseeing the implementation of the action plan, until someone was appointed in September 2020. This made coordination and gathering information on the implementation of OGP commitments particularly complex,[6] and did not allow for the OGP process to gain new momentum. Most civil society representatives interviewed for the production of this report indicate that they had very limited exchanges with the administration regarding OGP and that the OGP process was stalled – while also flagging that a new dynamic seemed to be taking off with the appointment of a new PoC, although it is still too early to assess.[7]

COVID 19 Pandemic impact on implementation

The PoC indicated that the COVID-19 crisis did not fundamentally affect the implementation of the action plan.[8] However, COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings led to the cancellation of a number of commitment milestones (especially public events), such as the ‘data sessions’ that would have encouraged data reuse as part of commitment 21 on improving access to public information on elected representatives and public officials.

France adopted restrictive measures on freedom of movement to hold back the spread of the virus including national lockdowns and curfews since March 2020. Civil society organizations raised concerns about changes in response to the COVID-19 crisis to the normal obligations in the Public Procurement Code that risk undermining the transparency of public procurement. The thresholds for contracts that require publication rose from €25,000 to €40,000.[9] The crisis and rush to procure personal protective equipment and other materials related to the COVID-19 pandemic inevitable affected the capacity for government to implement commitment 2 on increasing transparency in public procurement, which was only implemented to the limited extent.

[1] For more information, see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/

[2] Wickberg, Sofia. Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): France End-of-Term Report 2015-2017 (Washington, DC: Open Government Partnership, 2018), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/France_End-of-Term_Report_2015-2017.pdf (accessed on November 30th 2020)

[3] Wickberg, Sofia. Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): France Design Report 2018–2020 (Washington, DC: Open Government Partnership, 2019), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/France_Design_Report_2018-2020_EN.pdf (accessed on 6 November 2020)

[4] Ibid.

[5] Clémence Pène, OGP point of contact for France. Phone interview with author. 6 November 2020.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Employee, Transparency International France. Email communication with author. 19 November 2020; Lancelot Pecquet. Email communication with author. 11 November 2020; Valentin Chaput, Open Source Politics. Email communication with author. 12 November 2020; Armel Le Coz, Démocratie ouverte. Email communication with author. 12 November 2020

[8] Clémence Pène, OGP point of contact for France. Phone interview with author. 6 November 2020.

[9] Kevin Gernier, Transparency International France. Email communication with author. 19 November 2020; Anticor. Loi ASAP : ANTICOR et TI France dénoncent l’intention du Gouvernement de réduire dangereusement l’encadrement des marchés publics et le droit d’accès aux documents administratifs. 28 September 2020. Online, available at: https://www.anticor.org/2020/09/28/anticor-et-ti-france-denoncent-lintention-du-gouvernement-de-reduire-dangereusement-lencadrement-des-marches-publics-et-le-droit-dacces-aux-documents-administratifs/ (accessed on 25 November 2020).

Downloads

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Open Government Partnership