Services publics: un rapport accablant passe au crible deux décennies de politiques publiques

The alarm is raised by a group of civil servants. In their « Report on the state of public services » in France, the group « Our public services » expresses concern about a « minimum and degraded service ». They state that « the resources of public services have been increasing at a slower pace than social needs for the past twenty years, and the gap between the two is worsening. » This report examines two decades of public policies (in education, health, justice, security, and transportation) and is based on the testimonies of around a hundred researchers, public officials, and citizens.

Indeed, acknowledges the collective, which brings together public servants from the state, local authorities, and hospitals, public spending has increased over the past twenty years, as well as the number of public servants, estimated at 5.5 million. Alas! The needs of the population have also grown: it is aging, climate change is intensifying, and there is a massification of access to higher education.

« Attrition ». Faced with this situation, the collective « Our public services » observes a decrease in public services « compared to the strong trend in evolving user needs ». « The financial prospects for the coming years predict a very marked accentuation of this gap in public resources, » it notes, citing an example: « The time it takes to judge a civil case before the high court was fourteen months in 2019 compared to seven months in 2005, » it explains as an example.

The trend is towards a mismatch where « there is an increasing space for private provision of care needs ». Far from the mission of public services, these services « are characterized by higher costs […] and a lack of unconditional reception, » says the collective « Our public services ». And the authors cite education: the « proportion of children with high cultural capital » in privately contracted schools has increased from « 29% in 2003 to 40% in 2021 ».

The health sector is also taken into account in this analysis. « The private sector, particularly for-profit clinics, focuses on surgery, which is highly programmable and profitable. The most vulnerable patients, emergencies, and heavy care, such as intensive care, are left to public hospitals, » explains Arnaud Bontemps, a magistrate at the Court of Auditors and spokesperson for the collective, to franceinfo. « This development of a niche private sector gradually leads to the transformation of the public service into a minimal and degraded service, » regret the authors in their report.