In a “point of view” published on April 19, 2021, in The echoes, Michel Bon affirms: “Our public service needs real bosses! “Known as” boss “, precisely, of France Telecom, this senior official has always had one foot in the administration and another in the company: it was after having completed ESSEC, one of our leading business schools, that he went to ENA, and he was at the head of Carrefour as well as at the finance ministry. It was he who led the transition from France Telecom to Orange. Few men have this double experience to such a degree. Which encourages them to take their message seriously.
The attempts to reduce the number of civil servants
François Hollande had undertaken to stabilize the workforce of the three public functions – state, local and hospital – and the corresponding expenditure. Despite this, between 2012 and 2015, the number of positions that were created for all three fat (I’m making a bad pun, not a spelling mistake) stands at 140,000.
In September 2015 the young Minister of the Economy, a certain Emmanuel Macron, made a common sense statement: the civil servant status is no longer suited to certain functions. This observation was not followed up. Two years later, the project of the candidate for the presidency of the Republic ceased to relate to a suppression of hiring under statute for certain posts; it became – theoretically, of course – the reduction in the workforce of two public functions, that of the State and that of the local communities (the “territorial public service”). The objective was to reduce the workforce under statute of 50,000 for the State and 70,000 for the communities. The coronavirus has exempted the Presidency and the Government from having to provide explanations relating to the abandonment of this objective, an abandonment which seems to have been decided in April 2019.
What should be the goal?
Reducing the number of public service posts cannot in itself be a goal. The goal for our leaders is to provide good public services at a reasonable cost: good value for money. Take the hospital public service: we don’t have too many nurses and orderlies; on the other hand, as the professor (of medicine) Michaël Peyromaure explains very well in his book Hospital, what you have never been told, there is a profusion of paper scrapers in hospitals that are not only unnecessary, but annoying. Paid to make the operation of the hospital a caricature of the worst bureaucracy! It is therefore not a question of making savings on care, but on the administrative system which, instead of being at the service of medicine, costs “a crazy dough” without providing what patients and caregivers have. need.
An example of what not to do
Isabelle Saporta, in her book Give us back France, gives an example of technostructural caporalism which too often undermines the efforts of “the base” to find solutions, whatever it may be. Let us quote it. ” At the height of the crisis, the University Hospital of Tours offered to the University Hospital of Reims, then overwhelmed by patients, to take eight patients in intensive care. (…) A bus is chartered to make the transfer. Except that, an hour after his departure, and while he is already well on the highway, the technostructure requires him to turn back. (…) It was an order that came directly from the crisis headquarters in Paris, which absolutely had to validate EVERYTHING. The transfer was therefore suspended because “it needed to be better coordinated”.
This caricatural silliness, linked to the desire to reduce the actors in the field to the role of simple executors of directives coming “from above”, shows that we are still at the stage described in 2010 by Zoé Shepard in her book-testimony relating to the functioning of a regional administration: ” Plunged into a universe where incompetence rhymes with sycophancy, her days are punctuated by meetings where no decision is ever taken, reports that she must write in ten days (when two hours are enough), welcome, departure, birthday drinks . “
A revolution is needed – but not just any!
Faced with such an observation, the objective can only be radical: France must equip itself with senior officials prepared to work and make work seriously, adopting an effective managerial behavior, focused on reality, deaf to calls for snobbery and conformism.
“ It’s not a revolt, Sire, it’s a Revolution »: This response from the Duc de la Rochefoucauld to Louis XVI the day after July 14, 1789 should guide us. We need, like the Ancien Régime, major changes, carried out without waiting for society to fracture and tear itself apart.
In 2007, Jean-Michel Fourgous published The incompetent elite, subtitled work How senior officials are leading France to bankruptcy . The competence of the elite is certainly not the only condition for France’s recovery, but it is probably the most important. And when the King is not able to launch the necessary revolution, others rush into the space left unoccupied, which can lead to the worst misfortunes.