Conference “Experiences in government structuring of the Republic of France"

Under the cooperative framework between the Institute for State Organizational Science (ISOS), Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and the Embassy of the Republic of France, a two-day conference entitled “Experience in government structuring in the Republic of France” (the Conference) was jointly organized by ISOS and the French Embassy in Hanoi on 28-29 October in Hanoi. 

Overall view of the Conference

 From the French delegation, Mr. Jean-Francois Verdier, former General Director of the Department of Administration and Public Affairs, Mrs. Monique Champagne Liebert, State Council’s Commissioner and representatives of the French Embassy in Vietnam came to attend the Conference. From the Vietnam side, representatives of MOHA’s directly controlled departments and the organizations and units of the Ministry, i.e. Department of Organization and Personnel, Department of Public Administration Reform, Department of Organization and Staffing, National Academy of Public Administration, the Hanoi University of Home Affairs, School of Training Cadres and Civil servants and the whole ISOS civil servant and public employees.

During the two days, the French experts introduced generally about the panorama of the French administrative organizations, theory of New Public Management and establishing “Autonomous administrative organizations”, State interventions into economic life. Besides, experts also provided actual specific evidences to help participants thoroughly grasp the French current management model from theory to practices.

Mr. Jean-Francois Verdier, former General Director of the Department of Administration and Public Affairs, Ministry of Public Administration of the French shared experiences in the Conference

Mr. Jean-Francois Verdier introduced generally the structural organization of the Central administration, and State agencies located in localities and State Specialized Organizations, with emphasis in the working collaboration and principles. Administrative levels in France comprises of (1) State and ministries (Central Administrative Organizations) and State Specialized Organizations; (2) De-concentrated units of the State (Governor Office and Departments (de-concentrated units of ministries) appointed by the Central Government; (3) Local Administrative Community comprises of regions, provinces, inter-communes and communes and the Community is elected by citizens. Instead of a fixed number, the quantity of ministries in the French Government varies in accordance with changes of the Government, with approximately 30 ministries. Despites changes in Government in each tenure, activities of ministries remain as their functions and duties of subordinate units of ministries stay unchanged.

Besides the establishment of ministries, to assist the Government to perform its functions, there exist other steering and coordinated organizations (State Council, General Secretary of the Presidential Office, Prime Minister Office, Government’s Secretariat, ect.), consulting organizations (Local Financial Committee; High-rank Civil service Council), specialized administrative management organizations in specific fields (water, energy and capital management, ect).

Mrs. Monique Champagne Liebert, State Council Commissioner presented on New Public Management

About the “New Public Management” trend, Mrs. Champagne shared that it was the doctrine where State focuses on sovereign activities, policy-making and granting autonomy to individuals working on-field (practically, close to citizens at localities) in order to execute public policies. Accompanying this doctrine, “autonomous administrative organizations” were formed (this model appeared in developed countries since 1970-1980. Autonomous administrative organizations were born for the following reasons: active in actions, relatively impartial, closest to citizens and daily life and socio-professional environment. In France, the establishment of autonomous administrative originated from the premise of founding public units taking charge of national public policies since the early of 20th century, then was further promoted since 1960, and became fast developed since 1990. Autonomous administrative organizations function in 6 patterns of work: production and service supply; examination and monitoring; engineering; finance; sharing means and network coordination. Autonomous administrative organizations are self-governed regarding responsibilities, operational costs, action mode, ect. However, in France, the State also meets difficulties in steering, monitoring, evaluation and dissolving autonomous administrative. Therefore, the State together with autonomous administrative organizations sign “Objectives and Management – COG” agreements, identifying objectives, means and actions for the autonomous administrative organizations to attain, and apply annual review to COG implementation. Autonomous administrative differed from the “Independent administrative authorities – AAI” in the way that AAIs have power to issue regulatory documents and to solve conflicts with sanctions. Additionally, to better illustrate, Mrs. Champagne introduced an AAI, that is, the Energy Regulatory Committee in the energy field.

Sharing the experiences about the State interventions into economic life, particularly the operation of entrepreneurs, the French expert generalized in brief the roles and supports of the State for entrepreneurs regarding capital contributions, timely intervention to rescue the entrepreneurs in difficulties, ect. The French Government established the State capital management Organization (APE) representing the “State share” with the objectives (1) Ensure the controlling level to be strong enough for strategic entrepreneurs in crucial fields such as national defense, energy, transportation, ect …(currently there are 77 strategic entrepreneurs, the highest level of State Capital for entrepreneur is 85% in atomic electricity field and there is no 100% state capital entrepreneurs); (2) Secure the existence of entrepreneurs in response to country fundamental demands. Strategic entrepreneurs are reviewed after periods and are subjected to change to match the national development status. Simultaneously, state capital contribution in entrepreneurs is not regulated in fixed rate, however, the shares must ensure the representative right of the State in the Board of Directors of the entrepreneur.

At the Conference, a bulk of questions were raised from the participants regarding French administrative units, administrative reforms by downsizing the structure of ministries, establishments of central administrative organizations, experiences in management, recruitment of personnel into consulting agencies and specialized organizations; monitoring the operation of autonomous administrative organizations, and percentage of state capital contribution to the entrepreneurs, ect …

French experts in ceremonial photo with participants in the Conference

In his concluding remark in the Conference, Mr. Tran Van Ngoi, ISOS President expressed his gratefulness to the French experts and the French Embassy. Mr. Ngoi highly appreciated contents and experiences provided by the French expert, the informative source of references to the public administration reform in Vietnam. Concurrently, Mr. Ngoi hoped that the French experts would have other working sessions with ISOS regarding issues of mutual interests in order to reassure, engage and strengthen relationship and to contribute to build a developed modern public administration for Vietnam./.

By Ngoc Khuyen - Photo Kim Lien

Translated by ISF/Duc Khanh