What's it all about?Proactive administration reverses the usual administrative logic: rather than waiting for the user at the counter, the administration can, on the basis of the information at its disposal, anticipate the user's needs, rights and obligations. In this way, the administration can remind users of upcoming deadlines, notify them of rights they may be entitled to and show them how to assert them, or even one day grant them their rights without waiting for their request.The notion ofproactive administration lies at the crossroads of three recurring themes in public policy:Simplification: proactive administration follows on from the "Tell us once" program, which avoids the need for citizens to provide information or supporting documents already held by administrations, by relying on automatic data sharing.No access to rights. Whereas it is usually up to people to submit an application, which must then be processed, here it is the administration that informs people of their potential eligibility for aid and benefits, without waiting for them to take any action.Going towards: spontaneous notification by the administration of eligibility for certain rights, or automated access to certain benefits, are also, as the Défenseur des droits observes, "part of what is known as 'going towards' : a keyword that is now an essential part of the policies implemented in the name of access to rights and public services, designed in particular as a response to the failures of dematerialization".Work on "proactive administration " has several facets: technical, with data exchanges between administrations and dedicated developments; legal, in particular to deal with consent; and operational, with a wide variety of systems:Proactive error detection ;No need to declare, as long as the administration has all the information;Detection by cross-referencing data of people eligible for certain rights and pre-filling of forms: revenu de solidarité active, prime d'activité, aide personnalisée au logement ;Automatic payment of assistance or benefits without any prior action: energy vouchers, back-to-school allowance, school grants.Among its 12 proposals for guaranteeing the "last mile" of public policies, the Conseil d'État recently recommended the widespread use of "tell us once ".
A legal and technical foundation for proactive administrationThe "Tell us once" approach laid the technical and legal foundations for proactive administration. By doing away with the need to collect and analyze supporting documents from users, and by supplementing files with information retrieved "at source" from the administration of reference and therefore more reliable, the aim was to avoid citizens and businesses having to provide information or supporting documents already held by other administrations when applying online, by relying on the automatic sharing of data between administrations via APIs (programming interfaces).Implemented in 2014 for businesses, the "Tell us once" principle was extended to individuals in 2018 with the "Law for a State serving a society of trust". A decree in January 2019 defined the technical and organizational framework relating to information and data exchanges between administrations. The Digital Department (DINUM) then set up a "tell us once" counter with tools serving the circulation and exploitation of data: a single access point to the administration's APIs(Api.gouv.fr) and hubs for individual data(Particulier.api.gouv.fr), business data(Entreprise.api.gouv.fr ) and geographic data(Geo.api.gouv.fr).The "Tell us once" logic has entered a new phase with the law on differentiation, decentralization and deconcentration (known as the 3DS law) and two decrees published on May 11, 2023. Article 162 of this law further facilitates the exchange of information between administrations. Previously, each API had to be mentioned in a decree, submitted to the CNIL. From now on, openness is the rule. The first decree organizes data exchanges between administrations "when these are necessary to process declarations or requests submitted by the public, to inform people of their rights to a possible benefit or advantage, and to allocate said benefits or advantages where applicable". A second decree specifies the list of administrations that will have to share their data to enable the implementation of this proactive administration, as well as the nature of the information to be shared.A system governed by the CNILIn a deliberation dated October 6, 2022, the CNIL notes that data exchanges between administrations "help to simplify administrative formalities for users when their purpose is to exempt users, whether individuals or legal entities, from having to provide the same supporting documents several times". It notes that data collectedin this way " will not be used or reused for the purposes of 'detecting or punishing fraud'".
Proactive administration in action: first achievementsAutomatic payment of energy chequesGeneralized in 2018 to replace the social energy tariffs, the energy voucher is a means-tested aid paid to pay energy bills, buy fuel and carry out certain energy-related work. The cheque is nominative, i.e. the name of the beneficiary is indicated on the cheque. The energy voucher is intended for people of modest means. Each year, the tax authorities draw up a list of beneficiaries based on the household's reference tax income (RFR) and household composition determined in consumption units (UC). The energy voucher is sent automatically by post to the last address given to the tax authorities.Proactive error detectionIn the summer of 2019, the Caisse Nationale d'Allocations Familiales (CNAF) launched a nationwide spontaneous regularization campaign, enabling Cafes to target certain beneficiaries and invite them to report, even belatedly, a marital situation or the receipt by a dependent child of a salary exceeding 55% of the SMIC. And all this without risking a financial penalty (whereas a conventional inspection would have resulted in a penalty for fraud). The scheme was first tested for several months in Paris, before being rolled out across the country. The French tax authorities are deploying similar measures to combat tax evasion. Thanks to the more reliable Nominative Social Declaration (DSN), Urssaf can more easily detect material errors made by employers, which could have an impact on their social security contributions, thanks to more efficient data cross-referencing. They can then correct them by notifying the employer if necessary.Around 2 million errors have been proactively detected since 2019, including 75,006 thanks to the automatic search for inconsistencies between data, identified by URSSAF, with an online tool to facilitate the calculation and collection of social security contributions from employers (déclaration sociale nominative).Automatic granting of complementary health insurance for RSA beneficiariesThe French Social Security Financing Act for 2022 has made it easier for many recipients of minimum social benefits to access complementary health insurance. As a result, since February 2022, new RSA beneficiaries have benefited from an automatic allocation of complementary health insurance. In concrete terms, people who submit their RSA application online via the dedicated teleservice are systematically offered complementary health insurance at the end of this process. Unless they object, they and members of their household will then be entitled to it, provided they meet the conditions for RSA eligibility.Automatic payment of inflation compensationThe inflation allowance is an exceptional, individual aid of €100 paid to 38 million people living in France, to preserve their purchasing power in the face of sharply rising energy costs. From December 2021, the €100 inflation allowance has been paid automatically to people earning less than €2,000 a month, without them having to apply for it.Automatic intermediation of alimony paymentsSince March 1, 2022, child support payments set by a judge have been paid automatically by the CAF or MSA. This new public alimony service was set up to prevent late payments and unpaid alimony, protect single-parent families in precarious situations and simplify the daily lives of separated parents. From January 2023, the system will be extended to all out-of-court separations, as soon as a child support payment is due.Secondary schools: automating the allocation of scholarships to familiesFor the start of the 2024 school year, once enrolment at collège and lycée has been completed, families will have no further steps to take, and no supporting documents to submit, in order to obtain and renew scholarships throughout their school career(7th Interministerial Committee for Public Transformation).
Proactive administration and access rightsAs a result of the complexity of the social benefits system, non-use is a massive phenomenon with major social consequences.A number of recent studies on various social benefits show that non-use frequently exceeds 30% in France. This is the case for the RSA (34% non-use) and the minimum old-age pension (50% non-use for single people).Dematerialization complicates access to rightsNumerous studies point to dematerialization as one of the factors hindering access to rights.The Conseil national des politiques de lutte contre la pauvreté et l'exclusion (CNLE) refers to the sometimes "degraded" way in which administrations operate, with complex procedures, very few opportunities for physical contact, and increasing pressure to use online procedures.For theObservatoire de l'éthique publique (OEP), while " dematerialization is, in some respects, an additional guarantee of continuity of public service " (by making it possible to carry out procedures anywhere and at any time), it also brings with it, on the other hand, " an increase in the technical complexity of administrative procedures and technological dependence, likely to create new disruptions ".A study carried out in 2021 by Secours Catholique and Odenore found that " to access and maintain their rights, increasing demands are now being placed on recipients, who are being encouraged to demonstrate digital autonomy. They must have an e-mail account and know how to use it, keep logins and change passwords regularly, log in to update their file... So many 'implicit conditionalities' outside the law, which can cause difficulties and non-use for those who have not mastered digital skills"." Formerly perfectly independent when it came to dealing with administrative formalities, many recipients of social benefits are now confronted with social services that are only accessible online. A survey report commissioned by the Hauts-de-France Regional Department of Youth, Sports and Social Cohesion (DRJSCS) concludes that " the rate of non-use of social services is likely to increase for this precarious population, which is less equipped and less skilled in digital interaction than the rest of the population".A coordinating committee for access to rightsA Coordination Committee for Access to Rights was set up on January 30, 2023 by the Minister of Solidarity. Its mission will be to monitor the Territoires zéro non-recours (zero non-recourse territories) experiment, and then to build the vast reform of solidarity at source."Solidarité à la source ": a first step towards simplifying procedures from 2024 onwardsThe "solidarity at source " project will enable people to find out which benefits they are entitled to, regardless of which "social counter " they go to. This source reform will ultimately take place in two stages:The first, starting in the second half of 2024, will involve a massive simplification of the administrative formalities required to qualify for solidarity benefits: initially the RSA and the prime d'activité. The aim is to draw inspiration from the logic of the pre-filled tax return, to do away as far as possible with figures to search for and supporting documents to gather. RSA and prime d'activité application and renewal forms will be pre-filled with information declared by companies, and recipients will simply have to validate them. Thanks to the pooling of income data held by the various funds and administrations, data mining work can be carried out: people who are potentially eligible but not making use of the system can be identified, then contacted and invited to assert their rights.The second stage of "solidarity at source " involves rethinking the parameters of solidarity benefits, to harmonize their resource bases.The Conseil d'Etat, in its report on the "last mile " of public policy, recommends that there should be only two types of resource base:a first for all family and RSA benefits;a second for tax-based resources.
Promises and risks of proactive administrationA symposium devoted to the non-use of social benefits, organized by the DREES research department of the French Ministry of Solidarity, explored the " side effects " of automated social benefits.A first difficulty lies in the ability of algorithms to integrate complex situations: it is precisely the most precarious people who often have the most complex administrative files, due to changes in their employment, housing or family situation. For these people, automation could generate a need for support. Another difficulty arises from the method of calculating the monthly resources system (DRM), which underpins the solidarity at source project. Daniel Agacinski, Délégué général à la médiation auprès de la Défenseure des droits, warns of the risk of a "black box" effect. black box " The difficulty is "not having the possibility of entering this DRM to change and rectify errors".In a chapter of its 2021 annual activity report, devoted to the " promises of proactive administration ", the Défenseure des droits notes, like the CNIL, that "the information (...) thus collected (...) may not subsequently be used for other purposes, in particular to detect and punish fraud".According to the Défenseure des droits, "the lasting effects of automating the calculation and payment of certain benefits are questionable. On the one hand, automation does not rule out malfunctions, as we have seen since the introduction of the energy voucher or the recalculation of housing benefit. On the other hand, we run the risk of further erasing public services, and losing their relational dimension, which is so fundamental to the role these services play in fostering social cohesion and the sense of legitimacy that each and every one of us can feel when claiming and asserting our rights".
Next step: "Ten moments in lifeThe 7th Interministerial Committee for Public Transformation, meeting on May 9, 2023 at Matignon, decided to implement a new simplification method based on 10 "life moments": I' m becoming a student, I'm establishing my identity, I'm leaving-I'm living-I'm returning from abroad, I'm renovating my home, I'm losing a loved one, I'm becoming a parent, I'm voting, I'm getting involved in community life, I'm moving house, I'm retiring.For the year 2023, priority is given to five of these ten moments in life: I'm becoming a student, I'm establishing my identity, I'm leaving-I'm living-I'm returning from abroad, I'm renovating my home, I'm losing a loved one.