the senators' bill will be studied in mid-October

The text "framing the intervention of private consulting firms in public policies" is on the agenda of the Senate on October 18 and 19.

Senators take action. A few months after the publication of a widely commented report on consultancies' 'sprawling' influence on the statethe elected members of the upper house will study, in mid-October, a bill "framing the interventionof these structures in public policies, we learned on Wednesday.

Carried by the former presidents and rapporteur of the Senate inquiry committee on the influence of consulting firms, Arnaud Bazin (LR) and Éliane Assassi (CRCE), the text, filed in June, is also signed by elected officials from several sides, such as Nathalie Goulet (Centrist Union), Valérie Boyer (LR), Jean-Pierre Corbisez (RDSE) or Franck Montaugé (Socialist, ecologist and republican). It aims to respond to several issues raised by the commission of inquirywhose "opacity» around these questions or the «uncontrolled expansion» of the missions, the senators having been surprised by the massive recourse to the cabinets by the State and its operators.

The bill will be studied by the law commission, then in public session, from October 18. The debates can then continue the next day, in the evening, specifies the senatorial calendar. From tracks presented in Juneit notably creates a “budget document listing the consultancy services ordered by the beneficiary administrations over the last five years", and further regulates the services, for example by prohibiting consulting missions carried out free of charge, known as "pro bono".

Supervision considered insufficient

Explosive, the use of consulting firms had sparked intense controversy during the presidential campaign, pushing the executive to react to the accusations. At the end of June, Eliane Assassi justified the filing of a bill by denouncing, on the government side, announcements "but few actionsand a power that "arched his back waiting for the wave to pass". The elected officials hoped that their text would be studied in Parliament this summer, without success.

Since then, the government has unveiled new measures: end of Julythe Minister of Transformation and the Public Service, Stanislas Guerini, said he wanted “provide a framework largely defined in its principles and amounts“, and established a cap on the cost of each mission, established at two million euros. The member of the executive specified that these announcements were complementary with the text of the senators, with which he had "no philosophical differences".

One thing is certain: several months after the publication of the senatorial report, the subject continues to fascinate the French. Mid-Julyfollowing an online consultation, the Court of Auditors announced that it was going to work on "the use by the State of private consulting firms“, by the end of 2023. The Court had not worked on this subject for several years and the report on consulting firms was supported on the platform by nearly 500 people and carried eight times, in particular by the association Anticor. For its part, the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, led by the rebellious Éric Coquerel, announced a fact-finding mission on these private entities, before turning aroundfaced with the indignation of the senators who recalled that this work had already been carried out by their teams: the fact-finding mission will therefore only be launched later, to see the effect of the reforms implemented in recent months.

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