Futuribles Journal n° 263


Quelle réforme pour l'État en France ?


In France, as in all the industrialized countries, the reform of governance has been a matter of concern, particularly over the last twenty years. This is reflected in the publication of many reports on the topic, including the recent book by Roger Fauroux and Bernard Spitz, Notre État (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2001).
Luc Rouban starts here by trying to define the subject, recalling that it covers a variety of questions ranging from the quality of public services and the ability to guide the state's action to the very raison d'être of the state.
Taking account of the reform policies in other European countries as well, he distinguishes three levels for the reform of governance: the organizational aspects, the institutional dimension and the transformation of the actions of the state, affecting even the basis of its legitimacy.
Rouban then argues that, while it is possible to act at these three levels (although this does not imply any direct causality), the French reformers face some fundamental problems, such as the fact that the notion of public service - as distinct from serving the state - occupies such a central place in French political culture, or that working for the civil service continues to have a certain cachet, or the view that the power of central government is indivisible...
After two decades of reforms or proposals for reform, Luc Rouban argues that vast sections of the public administration have indeed undergone fundamental change, but he also draws certain lessons from what has been done: applying managerial methods is not enough to achieve in-depth reforms; accepting the need for change is more important than the change itself...
Lastly, Rouban outlines some scenarios for the future: rather than British all-pervasive "managerialism", he prefers a "pluralist" approach to governance, and discusses some of the possible variants.

Mots clefs :État | France

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