La recherche d’économies dans les collectivités territoriales : quels dispositifs pour quelles rationalités ? Plus de contrôle ou plus de pilotage ?

Abstract : Considering the burden of financial assistance from the central government and the effect of tax transfers on the central government's budget position, local finances are an important part of the interrelated set of public finances. Therefore, expenditure containment by local government is a necessary contribution to reducing public account deficits and complying with France's EU commitments. In this constrained context, specialist literature seems to indicate two major pathways for containing local spending. Firstly, it is possible to strengthen expenditure control, for example by making sharp cuts to current operating costs, deferring or cancelling investments, decreasing public subsidies and aid, raising local taxes, putting more pressure on suppliers, or increasing the prices of services rendered. Secondly, it is possible to increase local steering capacity by selectively intervening on government action and expenditure in a differentiated manner, by analysing the social value created for users at the lowest cost, by implementing deliberate choices, by deciding on the implementation of budgetary processes, or by restructuring the local service offering thanks to better knowledge of users' needs and level of satisfaction. The results of our research show that a very wide majority of French local authorities have been aware of the importance of looking for savings solutions for the past decade, due to the deterioration of their financial situations. It also turns out that the tools and devices used are mainly guided by a resource control rationale. Thus, our findings highlight the weakness of the steering paradigm, which is characterised by tools and actions that have a strategic and political dimension. The solutions currently being implemented are focused on the short term and are more oriented towards control. Thus, these actions could ultimately have a negative impact on the local services offering without proper prior control.
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David Carassus, Marcel Guenoun, Younes Samali. La recherche d’économies dans les collectivités territoriales : quels dispositifs pour quelles rationalités ? Plus de contrôle ou plus de pilotage ?. Gestion et Management public, AIRMAP, 2017, 5, pp.4 - 2017. ⟨hal-01794397⟩

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