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France

Involve Citizens in Cour Des Comptes Work (FR0007)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Cour des comptes

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Fiscal Transparency, Open Data, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: France End-of-Term Report 2015-2017, France Mid-Term Progress Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

STAKES The Constitution states that the Cour des comptes is responsible for making a free, independent and collegial assessment of the use of public funds. It is a key institution of the French Republic. It is an independent jurisdiction situated midway between the Parliament and the Government, which provides assistance to both. It plays an essential role in the functioning of our democracy and government modernization. The Cour des comptes further undertaking on opening its own data, on promoting analysis based on data sciences, on developing citizens’ involvement in its work, contributes to the institution's commitment to the French process of open government.

CONTEXT & AIM Every year, the Cour des comptes, the regional and local chambers of the Cour des comptes and the organizations that are attached to it (High Council on Public Finances, Court of Budgetary and Financial Discipline, Council of Compulsory Levies, etc.) publish judicial decisions, reports and notices on the Cour des comptes’s website. Articles 14 and 15 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which provide the legal bedrock for the missions of the Cour des comptes, have remained very modern: in a democracy, citizens have the right to ascertain, by themselves or through their representatives, the need for public taxation, to consent to it freely, to watch over its use, and to determine its proportion, basis, collection and duration. They have the right to ask a public official for an accounting of her administration. These provisions are the first manifestos in favor of the opening of public information and more open and more transparent governance. Following these principles, the financial jurisdictions took the initiative, from 2014, of opening first sets of public data. They will take this process further in the months to come. They will involve citizens more in their work, subject to the precautions inherent to the functioning of an independent jurisdiction, notably respect for secrets protected by the law.

ROADMAP
• Open some of the data collected during inspections and evaluations, as well as data specific to financial jurisdictions The Cour des comptes undertakes to regularly provide the following data sets:
- The budgetary data forming the basis of current or past analyses of State’s budget execution
- When possible, the data forming the basis of current or past themed investigations of the Cour
- The data forming the basis of current or past work on local finances
- Certain data on activity of the financial jurisdictions, notably the update to the list of publications from the Court and the resources of the financial jurisdictions The Cour des comptes will also study, together with the Prime Minister’s Office, the establishment of a data portal "data.ccomptes.fr", listed on the government portal (data.gouv.fr), in order to systematize a strategy of data management and the opening of public information.
• Further involve citizens in the work of the Cour des comptes This involvement could take several forms:
- Opinion surveys in order to better identify the expectations of citizens in relation to the work of the Cour des comptes, both in form and content
- A contributory platform could be introduced to enable feedbacks from citizens' on their concerns

IRM End of Term Status Summary

5. Involve citizens further in the work carried out by the Cour des comptes

Commitment Text:

ROADMAP

1. Open some of the data collected during inspections and evaluations, as well as data specific to financial jurisdictions.

The Cour des comptes undertakes to regularly provide the following data sets:

a. The budgetary data forming the basis of current or past analyses of State's budget execution

b. When possible, the data forming the basis of current or past themed investigations of the Cour

c. The data forming the basis of current or past work on local finances

d. Certain data on activity of the financial jurisdictions, notably the update to the list of publications from the Court and the resources of the financial jurisdictions

The Cour des comptes will also study, together with the Prime Minister's Office, the establishment of a data portal 'data.ccomptes.fr', listed on the government portal (data.gouv.fr), in order to systematize a strategy of data management and the opening of public information. 

2. Further involve citizens in the work of the Cour des comptes

This involvement could take several forms:

a. Opinion surveys in order to better identify the expectations of citizens in relation to the work of the Cour des comptes, both in form and content

b. A contributory platform could be introduced to enable feedbacks from citizens' on their concerns

Editorial Note:This is a partial version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text please see France's national action plan: https://bit.ly/2MTYhsR.

Responsible Institution: Cour des comptes

Supporting Institution(s): N/A

Start Date: Not Specified 

End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

The Cour des comptes – France's Supreme Audit Institution – is responsible for assessing the use of public funds, auditing the State and Social Security accounts, and evaluating public policies. Transparency and accountability are at the core of their mission but the institution is often perceived as complex by the general public audience. This commitment thus aimed to make the Cour des comptes more accessible for the public by opening data produced by the Cour des comptes and inviting citizen participation. The Cour des comptes sought to better include citizens in its activities through a citizen-feedback platform and opinion surveys.

Since 2014, the Cour des compts has opened a few datasets presenting the results of their work, including a dataset listing all the documents produced[Note54: “Productions des chambres régionales et territoriales des comptes, par chambre régionale et par type de production (2010-2015),” (data.gouv.fr, accessed 25 Mar. 2018), https://www.data.gouv.fr/fr/datasets/productions-des-chambres-regionales-et-territoriales-des-comptes-par-chambre-regionale-et-par-type-de-production-2010-2015/.] by the Cour and its regional chambers, the case law of financial jurisdictions, and all data regarding daily activities of the financial jurisdictions. The commitment aimed to further this transparency and open new data. The midterm IRM report found that the milestones lacked specificity and did not contain sufficient details about the implementation, timeline, or potential functionalities.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The completion of this commitment was limited by the midterm. By December 2016, the Cour des comptes had published 52 datasets on data.gouv.fr. In addition to opening new datasets, the institution organised a hackathon in May 2016 with data scientists, magistrates, public officials, and students to identify user needs for data access. In December 2016, the Cour des comptes participated in the General Interest Entrepreneurship program coordinated by Etalab. Lastly, the institution employed a data scientist for ten months to develop a tool for the public to easily extract data from the reports. For more information, please see the IRM midterm report.[Note55: Independent Reporting Mechanism, France Rapport D'ètape (OGP, 2017), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/France_Progress-Report_2015-2017.pdf.]

End of Term: Limited

In October 2017, the Cour des comptes had published 82 datasets on data.gouv.fr, mostly in .csv format. Etalab indicates that the Cour des comptes had opened all the underlying data used to produced its reports as well as the evaluations from local audit institutions. As noted in the midterm report, the lack of specificity of the first milestone (“open some data…”) makes it difficult for the IRM researcher to assess the completion of this commitment. 

Following the DataSession organised in May 2016, five projects were presented to the Cour des comptes:[Note56: See https://www.etalab.gouv.fr/datasession-a-la-cour-des-comptes-une-premiere-brique-vers-louverture-des-decisions-de-justice (accessed 9 Jan. 2018).]

· OpenBudget.fr: making local government budgets easier to understand for the public;

· Reco-tracker: making it easier to track if public agencies follow the Cour's recommendations;

· Datapartage: making it easier to explore the Cour's data

· FRAP making it easier to geo-reference reports and data; and

· Doctrine.fr: indexing of judicial decisions.

The IRM researcher did not find any public information on the follow-up to this event or on potential support provided to the projects. In June 2017, the Cour des comptes organised a second DataSession together with the Commission d'accès aux documents administratifs (CADA), the prefecture of the Occitanie region and Etalab, with the aim, inter alia, to better identify the actors in public transparency in France, to make the Cour des comptes' data more user-friendly and to track what tax revenue is used for. The event was organised in parallel in Paris and Montpellier. The IRM researcher could not find any public information regarding the results and follow-up to this event.

The Cour des comptes hosted an entrepreneur in early 2017 named Frédéric Bardolle. Bardolle worked with Cour des comptes officials to better organise the governance of the institution's data and developed an API. He also assisted the Cour des comptes in its efforts to open data, both regarding the production of its reports as well as its internal operations.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

This commitment made new data accessible to the public and strengthened the relationship between the Cour des comptes and civil society. As such, this commitment marginally opened government regarding access to information but did not change civic participation.

The Cour des comptes produces many reports and the implementation of this commitment moved the institution toward opening the underlying data for these reports and analyses. The dashboard indicates that 75 of these datasets have never been reused and the other seven have rarely been reused. There is no publicly available information regarding the criteria for releasing datasets. This raises the question of the relevance of the data opened by the Cour des comptes and awareness-raising efforts undertaken.

According to Etalab, the Cour des comptes has demonstrated a great interest in making its data available and usable. The IRM researcher could not find information regarding the Cour des comptes' strategy for releasing datasets. It does not appear that a mechanism exists to systematically open data. The project undertaken by Frédéric Bardolle should allow for a more systematic opening of data, but the results of his work were not yet known at the end of the implementation term. As mentioned above, the released datasets were barely used by the public, which questions the relevance of the data that has been opened and/or the efforts made to advertise the new data.

Regarding civic participation, the Cour des comptes has made new efforts to include civil society in its work through events and collaborations with data scientists. The results of these activities are yet to be seen, therefore it is not yet possible to find that this commitment is a major step forward for government openness.

Carried Forward?

This commitment was carried over to the new action plan. In the new action plan, the commitment focuses on publicising data opened by financial jurisdictions and improving data quality; on diversifying the methods used to communicate data and encouraging the reuse of opened data; and on testing new ways to inform and consult citizens.


Commitments

  1. Transparency of Public Services

    FR0030, 2018, E-Government

  2. Transparency of Public Procurement

    FR0031, 2018, E-Government

  3. Transparency of Development Aid

    FR0032, 2018, Aid

  4. Expand Open Data

    FR0033, 2018, E-Government

  5. Improved Data Policies and Administration

    FR0034, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Transparency of Public Algorithms

    FR0035, 2018, E-Government

  7. Open Data at Sub-National Level

    FR0036, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. State AI Lab

    FR0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Administrative Capacity-Building

    FR0038, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Public Service Incubators

    FR0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Streamline Data Flows

    FR0040, 2018, E-Government

  12. Open Etat Forum

    FR0041, 2018, E-Government

  13. Online Procedures Dashboard

    FR0042, 2018, E-Government

  14. Govtech Summit

    FR0043, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. Imrove Public Consultation Mechanisms

    FR0044, 2018, E-Government

  16. International Transparency and Citizen Participation

    FR0045, 2018, Aid

  17. Public Pariticipation in Sustainable Development

    FR0046, 2018, Capacity Building

  18. Open Science

    FR0047, 2018, E-Government

  19. Citizen Involvement in Cour Des Comptes

    FR0048, 2018, Capacity Building

  20. Private Sector Transparency

    FR0049, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  21. Access to Information on Public Officials

    FR0050, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  22. Open Regional and Local Authorities' Data

    FR0001, 2015, Fiscal Transparency

  23. Publish Municipal Council Decisions and Reports Online

    FR0002, 2015, E-Government

  24. Publish Building Permits in Open Data Format

    FR0003, 2015, Open Data

  25. Starred commitment Increase Transparency in Public Procurement

    FR0004, 2015, Open Contracting and Procurement

  26. Improve Transparency in International Development Aid

    FR0005, 2015, Aid

  27. Open Access to Public Policy Evaluations

    FR0006, 2015, E-Government

  28. Involve Citizens in Cour Des Comptes Work

    FR0007, 2015, Fiscal Transparency

  29. Access to Public Officials Transparency Obligations

    FR0008, 2015, E-Government

  30. Starred commitment Beneficial Ownership

    FR0009, 2015, Beneficial Ownership

  31. Transparency in Extractive Industries

    FR0010, 2015, Extractive Industries

  32. Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations

    FR0011, 2015, Labor

  33. Fix My Neighborhood

    FR0012, 2015, E-Government

  34. Digital Fix-It

    FR0013, 2015, Open Data

  35. Co-Produce Data Infrastructure with Civil Society

    FR0014, 2015, Open Data

  36. Starred commitment Open Legal Resources

    FR0015, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  37. Reform Participatory Mechanisms

    FR0016, 2015, Public Participation

  38. Mediation and Justice

    FR0017, 2015, Judiciary

  39. Starred commitment Open and Circulate Data

    FR0018, 2015, Land & Spatial Planning

  40. Open Calculation Models and Simulators

    FR0019, 2015, Open Data

  41. Open Platform for Government Resources

    FR0020, 2015, E-Government

  42. Improve Public Services Through E-Government and User Interaction

    FR0021, 2015, E-Government

  43. Empower Civil Society to Support Schools

    FR0022, 2015, E-Government

  44. Diversify Recruitment Within Public Institutions

    FR0023, 2015, Capacity Building

  45. Culture Change

    FR0024, 2015, Capacity Building

  46. Spread Public Innovation

    FR0025, 2015, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Protect Against Conflicts of Interest

    FR0026, 2015, Conflicts of Interest

  48. Civil Society & Transparency in COP21 Conference Planning

    FR0027, 2015, Environment and Climate

  49. Open Data and Climate/Sustainable Development

    FR0028, 2015, Open Data

  50. Collaborate with Civil Society on Climate and Sustainable Development

    FR0029, 2015, Environment and Climate