What remains of the legacy of the former digital agency, created in 2015 and then dismantled five years later? The Court of Auditors has scrutinized the balance sheet of this disappeared institution which, at the time of its creation, had the strong ambition to bring together under a single entity several strategic pillars of the digital transformation at work in France.
In its annual report made public this Thursday, March 18, the Court of Auditors criticizes the former digital agency (ADN) for the lack of synergy between its various missions, bringing together the France Très Haut Débit plan, the initiative. French Tech and the promotion of digital uses within the population.
If the DNA has made it possible to put on track a number of missions essential to the digital transformation of the country, recognizes the Court of Auditors, it notes on the other hand that its disorderly management and the use of “unnecessarily complex” tools also have it. weakened. From now on, the DNA has been replaced by the national agency for territorial cohesion (ANCT), created last year, which took over the missions relating to fixed and mobile infrastructures and digital inclusion, and the DGE, responsible for steering French Tech.
THD plan: the Court observes mixed results
In its report, the Court of Auditors observes mixed results concerning the deployment of fixed and mobile infrastructures. It considers that ADN has incurred significant expenses without however assuming budgetary and accounting responsibility, and has had recourse to external resources under questionable conditions. “The creation of the ANCT, the exhaustion of the funds of the DSF [Fonds pour la société numérique, NDLR] and the acceleration of the rate of payments are an opportunity to simplify and secure the support system for public initiative networks, as they are unnecessarily complicated, unorthodox in terms of public accounting and budget management and source high operational risks ”, underlines the report.
After this observation, the Court of Auditors considers that it is henceforth “essential that the technical management and the administrative and financial management be reunified” under the control of the ANCT, “without calling into question the governance, which allows the consultation with local communities and the necessary coordination between stakeholders (operators, DGE, Arcep) ”.
In the future, the report recommends that the ANCT be entrusted with the administrative and budgetary management of credits financing very high-speed fixed and mobile infrastructures, which are now carried out by the CDC.
Results below expectations in terms of digital inclusion
On the aspect of digital inclusion, the Court of Auditors once again noted “barely perceptible results” in the past. The Court observes that in four years, the digital inclusion policy carried out by DNA, which has mainly focused on the digital pass and Mednum (a cooperative aimed at bringing together all stakeholders in digital inclusion) “Did not give any convincing results”.
The health crisis has highlighted the acceleration of public policies in this area, while the number of people far from digital remains high. The recovery plan includes a budget of 250 million euros to fight against the digital divide, the majority of which is devoted to the creation of 4,000 digital advisor positions in the territory.
In view of the development of these inclusion actions, the Court of Auditors considers that “it is necessary to examine how the personal training account (CPF) could be adapted to this new issue, without going through the manufacturing process. and the distribution of a check ”.
Dissolution of SAS Station French Tech?
Regarding the efforts deployed around French Tech, the Court of Auditors is also severe, and underlines a “disorderly management”, despite the indisputable support put in place. Now fully integrated into the DGE, this strategy must “give a better framework to its interventions, so that they do not fall only in the field of communication and events”, recommends the report.
The Court of Auditors observes in passing that French Tech must also review its location at Station F, the 35,000 m2 campus.2 inaugurated in 2017 in the 13e district of Paris. She points out that the presence of public services in this place dedicated to meetings and synergies is questionable in view of the arrangement chosen and the rules of good public management. It notes, in fact, that “it is not the role of the public authorities to own a company whose activities are those of a space rental company and an event service provider”. In addition, the Court of Auditors considers that the current economic model could be called into question beyond 2020 (end of the first service contract), “because of competition from places of the same nature, of the decline the attractiveness of the site due to its novelty and the health crisis ”.
The Court of Auditors simply recommends “dissolving the SAS Station French Tech”. On this point, the government has confirmed that the State will “soon” withdraw from the governance and capital of SAS Station F. “The State real estate department will be consulted to define, if necessary , the rental conditions of the future location of the mission ”, assure the members of the government.