12. COUNT RY PROFI LE: FRAN CE
Int roduct ion: brief history of evaluation obligation s in France
At the instigation of Prime Minister Michel Rocard, a policy for the development of
evaluation was laun ched in 1990. Decree No. 90-82 of Januar y 22, 1990 creat ed "an
inter-m in ist er ial evaluation com m itt ee responsible for developing and coordinating
gover nm ent init iatives in th e evaluation of pub lic policies", " a Scientific Evaluat ion
Coun cil respon sible for pr omo ting th e developm ent of eval uation method s and d efining
a code of eth ics in t he m at ter", w here no elect ed repr esentative sits and, f inally, " a
Nat ional Evalu ation Development Fund” .
The I nt er -ministerial Circular of Decem ber 9, 1993 introduced an obligation for t he
Fren ch Regions t o evaluate State-Region plan contr act s for th e per iod 1 99 4-1 99 8 in
par t in response t o Eur opean req uests ( EEC Council r egulat ions of July 20, 1993) .
In 1998, a new evaluation reform was inst it ut ed in France by decree 98-1048 of
Nov em ber 18t h. I t s ligh tly m odi fies th e ob ject ive b y i ntr odu cing a not ion of eff icien cy150.
It replaces t he Scientific Evaluation Cou ncil wit h a Nationa l Evaluation Com mit tee that ,
in part nership wit h t he General Plan ning Commission, ev aluates " policies condu cted by
the State, local authorities and their respect ive public establishment s". The evaluat ion
program remains in the hands of the Min ist er s. For each assessm ent, the Planning
Com mission defines a team , made up of expert s, rep resen tat ives of the adm inistr ation
and elect ed officials, which must comply wit h some specifications. More than fift een
program s w ere evaluated between 1999 an d 2002.
The Com mi ssari at au Plan in all re gul ato ry te xt s bec ame , i n 2 017 , the Gene ral St rat egic
Plann ing and Prospective Com m ission ( Com m issariat g énéral à la St ratégie et à la
Prospect iv e, un der th e publ ic n ame of ‘Fran ce S tra tég ie’) w hich is att ach ed t o t he Prim e
Minister an d conducts, or pilots, evaluations of nat ional interest at the request of the
Prim e Minist er or t he Min istr ies.
At t he sam e t im e, th e d ecr ee n ° 20 05 -1 79 2 of Dece mb er 30 , 200 5 est abl ishe d a Gen era l
Dir ect orat e for the Modernisation of the St ate at t he Ministr y of the Economy, Finance
an d I ndu str y. Th is Di rect ora te Gener al is r espo nsib le f or eval uat ing th e ad min ist rat ion 's
"modernisat ion strategies". I t became by decree n ° 2012 -1198 of Oct ober 30 2012,
wi thi n a Gener al Secr etaria t f or the mo der nisat ion of pu blic action , t he Inter-m inisterial
Dir ect ion for the modernisat ion of public action ( DIMAP). I t "is responsible for the
coordination of audit and evaluation w or k on public policies" , which it carries out "b y
associating the administrat ions and inspect ion and cont rol bodies of t he m inistr ies
concerned". Th e go ver nm ent de cides on wh ich pub lic p olic ies t o assess . A mis sion let te r
and speci ficat ions are drawn up by t he d epar tm ents of th e Min istr y concern ed, the n an
evaluation committee, gener ally chaired by the Minister, is for med. Finally, an
ev alua tio n t eam ex te rna l t o t he Dir ecto rat e c arr ies o ut th e w ork , pro duce s t he r epo rt (s)
and proposes alt ernative scenar ios for the policy evaluated. The evaluation obligation
is reinf orced b y t he o rgan ic law of April 15, 2009 wh ich specifies th at “t he gov ernment
has t he obligat ion to tr ansm it to t he Council of St ate then to the Parliam ent in support
of each bill an im pact st udy in order to constitute an assessment and public decision
support tool” . From 2017, th e new gov ernment has m aint ained t he mandate of DI MAP
150 It states that "the ev aluati on of a public policy ai ms to assess t he effecti ven ess o f t his po licy by
com pari ng i ts r esult s wit h t he a ssigned obj ecti ves a nd t he m eans imp leme nted ".