There is ample to be discussed with regards to the funding, or the lack thereof, of various areas of Seine-Saint-Denis. However, our study rather aims to focus on the cooperation between local actors as a means of improving the resources and tools that are already at the disposal of the department. We believe that by improving the coordination of the various actors at play, the department will see significant improvement in the implementation of public policies that have been less than successful thus far.
What drives the actors’ behavior in Seine-Saint-Denis?
The actors and stakeholders tend to be driven by individual interest. This often leads to inefficient competition, and incompletion of projects that are complex and require long-term work.
There are two tools that are available to actors to carry such projects out: city contracts, and the call for projects. As it happens, these tend to slow down cooperation.
What tools do the actors use to carry out projects?
First off: contracts, specifically known as city contracts. Since 2014, these instruments aim to put in place projects that advance social, urban and economic development. Here is why this contractual method is not optimal:
- These contracts tend to follow the funding, which in turn focuses on short-term fixes that do not necessarily take into account the long-term shared objectives of the project.
- They do not focus sufficiently on the high-priority populations, and may favour blanket solutions.
- Actors in the region can be unstable, lending a potentially volatile nature to the contractual agreements themselves. As an example, the department has switched between four different prefects in the past ten years.
The second tool is the call for projects. Favouring the strongest proposal, these tend to leave out actors from the Social and Solidarity Economy, as well as collective reflections about common objectives. Thus, actors in Seine-Saint-Denis rarely find themselves in a situation where they need to put their heads together and cooperate, even if they would benefit from sharing their respective know-hows and resources.
Nine priority areas for better collaboration
We have identified nine points on which the actors could increase their efforts for collaboration:
- HR management of public officials
- RSA funding
- instruments for French language learning
- options for people with disabilities
- childcare options for job seekers
- academic counseling
- options for job or business creation by job seekers themselves
- support for companies during the hiring processes
- security issues for big companies
We will zoom in on two of these elements: HR management of public officials, and RSA funding.
The lack of HR management strategy of public officials and civil servants seems to be a cause for the inefficiency of the government in the department, especially with regards to education. Oftentimes, young teachers are sent to the schools where the students are most in difficulty, which leads to a high turnover rate for teachers. 35.7% and 50% of primary and middle school teachers do not stay longer than two years in the same school. Moreover, there is only a 51.26% successful replacement rate for teachers who leave, as opposed to 78.41% in the rest of France. Sometimes students may miss out on a whole academic year due to this.