The action of the Ademe “generally satisfactory,” according to the Court of accounts

The environment Agency and the energy management has been scrutinised by the audit Court judge for his action as “overall satisfactory” for the many missions assigned to it. However, special attention must be paid to the evolution of the financial resources of the agency. Check out the good and bad points awarded by the financial institution.
Ademe is an unavoidable actor of the ecological transition. This is a public institution with industrial and commercial character (Epic) employs more than 1,100 agents, and manages an annual budget of more than€ 500 Million. The Court of auditors is, thus, focused on its mode of management, in order to discern possible avenues for improvement. The summary of the report of a hundred pages summarizes : “At the end of this control, the Court considers that the Ademe manages to assume in a manner satisfactory to the many missions which have gradually been delegated by the State“. Experts list these activities : the main operator of the transition following the Grenelle of the Environment, a major player of the future investment programme (PIA), role in the implementation of public policies devoted to the promotion of sustainable development… A satisfactory result is appreciated by Bruno Lechevin, president of Ademe.
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The problem of the melting of the fund


However, the copy is not perfect. The Court of auditors considers that a “particular attention must be paid to the development of the financial resources of the agency” and that the latter “must make significant progress” in the management of its human resources, its plants and real estate procedures implemented for public procurement. On the first problem, the authors of the report emphasize, first, that the status of Epic appears to be little justification in view of the low amount of own revenue generated by the Ademe, on the order of 1% of its resources. Another note, over the period studied, between 2010 and 2015, “the agency has received a financial comfort is undeniable, despite the progressive removal, from 2011, subsidies paid by the Ministry of the Environment“. The working capital would be increased, continuously, until 2014. But, a difference between the amount of the commitment approvals decided by its umbrella (more than 650 M€/year since 2013) and the payment appropriations allocated to the agency (only 500 M€/year), is likely to lead to a “chisel” that would lead to a shortage of funds starting in 2017. In a letter of response, Bruno Léchevin explains : “The past as current working capital is a result of choice of the guardianship, first after the round table, to give the Ademe payment appropriations (CP) in parallel to the permissions of engagement (AE), which lead to further expenditure, and then, from 2011, does not allocate ‘immediately’ to the Ademe, the CP corresponding to the AE. This always leads logically to see the working capital decrease. The guardianship is to always remain committed to ensure that the policies brought by the agency and to ensure that its financial equilibrium is preserved“. The report calls for more rigour on the part of the guardianship and of the Ademe.


The settlements too many


On the other hand, the Court of auditors noted deficiencies in various areas that need “urgent and imperative” to be improved. In the field of human resources, she noted that in order to maintain a calm social climate, the annual working time of a part of the staff is significantly lower than the legal duration (1.513 hours against 1.607, or 6% difference) and that the absences of 48 hours there was no justification. The president of the Ademe replies : “The management, for several years, is striving to develop the human resources management (…) These actions have been carried out in the framework of the Convention of Work dating back to 1993, which presents some rigidities or measures favourable to employees“. It advocates for changes that must occur within a framework negotiated with the social partners. On the choice of projects, the Court of auditors called the agency to continue its efforts, “streamline the management of aid” and “strengthening of control a priori and a posteriori” of the operations supported, including those financed by the Heat Fund. It is even recommended to seek complementarities with the Caisse des Dépôts and the public investment Bank for the projects that are most important.


Another point of contention : the real estate strategy of the Ademe. A previous report recommended the consolidation of its central services, to Angers, to abandon the site of Valbonne (Alpes-Maritimes) and not to let it remain as an antenna light to Paris. The Court of accounts note : “Despite the pooling of several regions, which intervened this year, the Ademe no plans to close any delegation established in the capitals of the regions which have now disappeared“. Bruno Léchevin defends itself : the closure of the site in the French riviera, a time considered, was abandoned but substantial savings will be realised through a redevelopment of the premises. The paris site will be moved to mid-2018, again for cost savings and join a site most exemplary in the environmental point of view. As for the regional delegations, the president of the agency pleads for the maintenance of proximity with the actors of the territories (communities, companies).
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Purchases professional only since 2016


Finally, the last failure is pointed by the Court of auditors, the management of contracts awarded by the Ademe, which would be disorganized and too weakly centralized, hampered by a poor information system. The report calls this time the “function Purchases” to be reorganized before the end of the first half of 2017 “to ensure the observance of the rules of the public order and ensure a regular follow-up“. A note, in fact, that Bruno Léchevin : “The deficiencies (…) have been filled with the centralization of the purchasing function (…) today is fully effective“. The tool has been modernized, starting in 2012-2013 and to be fully operational in 2016. “These advances will improve, undeniably, the steering and the tracking of purchases of the agency“, he says. Enough to satisfy the requirements of the financial institution ?

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