1.4 Youth policy decision-making
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Youth policies are defined and encouraged by the central authority and implemented regionally. Local authorities are also involved in drafting public youth policies and work in partnership with the ministry responsible for youth. It should be borne in mind that, at local level, the French administrative system depends on the State (Government and ministries) and local public authorities alike. Moreover, it exists various local public (adminitrative) authorities as the Région, the Département, the municipality and the intermunicipality, each has its own political areas.
1) The Interministerial Delegate for Youth
Since 2014, there has been an interministerial delegate for youth. This delegate, whose role was previously carried out by the director of the Directorate of Youth, Popular Education and Associative Life (DJEPVA) within the ministry in charge of youth, is now attached to the Prime Minister's office according to the decree of 30 November 2022.
This delegate coordinates the implementation of actions carried out by the various ministries in favour of young people, ensuring that all ministerial players are involved in the framework of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Youth (CIJ).
National (central) authority : The Ministry in charge of youth and and its deconcentrated department
2) The Ministry responsible for youth
The main authority which has the general competence of definition of the national strategy, regulation and control of the youth policy is the Ministry of Education and Youth. Decree 2022-833 of 1 June 2022 on the powers of the Minister for Education and Youth sets out his powers.
To develop and implement its youth policy, the Minister of National Education, youth and sports relies on the Department (directorate) for Youth, Non-Formal Education and Voluntary Organisation-DJEPVA (Direction de la Jeunesse, de l’Education Populaire et de la Vie Associative) which draws up and implements youth policy. The Order of 24 December 2015 amending the order of 30 December 2005 sets “the organisation of directorate and sub-directorate of the ministry in charge of youth”.
The structure of the DJEPVA
The DJEPVA comprises:
- the subdirectorate for interministerial youth and community life policies ;
- the sub-directorate for popular education
- the sub-directorate for universal national service, created in January 2021;
- the National Institute for Youth and Popular Education (a national competence service) attached to the Director of Youth, Popular Education and Associative Life
The DJEPVA supports the actions of youth and popular education associations, which are key contacts for this department. It is responsible for the civic service agency and acts as the national authority for the implementation of the European "Erasmus + Youth" and European Solidarity Corps programmes.
The DJEPVA supports the educational continuity of children and young people between school and non-school time.
It also supports young people in their access to autonomy and equal opportunities, through support for integration, information and guidance schemes.
The DJEPVA also participates in the elaboration and implementation of the policy for the development of associative life by ensuring, in particular, the simplification of the legal framework in which associations develop, by promoting associative actions, in particular voluntary work, and by recognising the importance of associative actors and popular education, which it also supports financially.
As part of the promotion and development of commitment, this department oversees the development of civic service (a mission of general interest offered to young people aged 16 to 25) and other commitment schemes such as the Universal National Service (SNU). The DJEPVA also ensures the educational quality of the stays and the safety of minors attending the collective camps for minors and implements territorial educational policies (PEDT) in partnership with local authorities, associations and schools.
3) The National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires - ANCT)
The ANCT was set up in 2020 by merging the General Commission for Territorial Equality (Commissariat général à l'égalité des territoires), the digital agency and the public establishment for territorial planning of restructuration of commercial and artisanal spaces (Etablissement public d'aménagement de restructuration des espaces commerciaux et artisanaux - Epareca). It sustains exchanges and links with local authorities.
4) Deconcentrated departments
Deconcentration is a process of state planning that consists of establishing administrative authorities representing the state in local administrative districts, known as deconcentrated services. These authorities have no autonomy or legal personality of their own. The aim of this process is to improve the efficiency of the state by speeding up decision-making at local level.
As part of the reform of the territorial organisation of the State, since 2021, the missions relating to the field of youth, commitment and sport have been integrated into the regional academic delegations for youth and sport (DRAJES), under the dual authority of the academic rector and the prefect. The regional or departmental prefect has functional authority over the regional academic delegation for youth, commitment and sport for the missions within his or her competence.
These directorates are present in each regional 'capital' and are responsible for steering and coordinating the implementation of national youth policy.
The decree of 9 December 2020 on the competences of the academic authorities in the field of youth, popular education, associative life, civic engagement and sports policies and the organisation of the services responsible for their implementation, presents the missions of the DRAJES.
At departmental level, the departmental services for youth, commitment and sport (SDJES) are placed under the authority of the academic director of national education services (DASEN). The prefect of the department, for the missions within his or her competence, has functional authority over the departmental service for youth, commitment and sport.
This was specified in Decree No. 2020-1542 of 9 December 2020 on the competences of the academic authorities in the field of youth, popular education, associative life, civic engagement and sports policies and the organisation of the services responsible for their implementation.
Since enactment of Law no.82-213 of 2 March 1982 bearing on the rights and freedoms of municipalities, départements and regions, the State has reinforced and developed its decentralisation procedure by transferring some of its administrative competences to the various territorial authorities : regions (13 in all since January 2016), departements, municipalities and intermunicipalities.
The Law of 16 January 2015 bearing on delimitation of regions and regional and départemental elections and modifying the electoral calendar, and the Law of 7 August 2015 on the Republic’s new territorial organisation have further reinforced regions’ competences.
The law of 21 February 2022, known as the "3DS" law on differentiation, decentralisation, deconcentration and various measures to simplify local public action, gave local elected representatives additional scope for action.
In 2022, France is organised into 18 regions (13 regions in metropolitan France since January 2016 and 5 in overseas France), 101 departments, 34,955 communes and 1,254 public establishments for inter-communal cooperation (EPCI).
Such bodies have a measure of local autonomy (Art. 72 s. of the Constitution; European Charter of Local Autonomy, 1985), although such autonomy is exercised in compliance with the law and under State control. This “control of legality” may also be carried out by the departemental or regional Prefect.
Regarded as pertinent echelons of action, local authorities are of key importance to the success of youth policies, and their competencies in this field tend to get reinforced. Their various levels (regional, departemental, municipal and intermunicipal) make them all the more likely to implement actions designed to benefit young people.
Such local-level decision-making relies on complementarity and cooperation between the ministry and the deconcentrated deparments in charge of youth. Local youth policies are implemented in partnership (collaboration between local authorities) and are intersectorial. They are characterised by their wide diversity and depend, among other things, on each area’s stakeholders, resources and specificities.
France is composed by 13 "metropolitan" Regions" and 5 "Overseas" Regions and Départements.
Regions’ competences are essentially centred on territorial development and spatial planning; vocational training, management of lycées, and public transport.
The region is considered to be the "leader" of actions mobilised by local and regional authorities, including in the field of youth. The Equality and Citizenship Act of 27 January 2017 also introduced the principle of a "structured territorial dialogue" on youth policies between the public authorities (State and region), civil society and young people.
According to the article Réforme territoriale et réorganisation de l’État: quels enjeux pour les politiques de jeunesse ? (Territorial reform and reorganisation of the State: what challenges for youth politics?) by the researcher Jordan Parisse of the National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education (Institut national de la Jeunesse et de l’éducation populaire – INJEP), published in February 2019, “Regional councils therefore inherit not so much a general competence in the field of youth policies as a function of “conductor” of the various local authorities actively involved with young people”.
Départements are responsible for so-called “solidarity” and specialised preventive actions (in particular on behalf of minors placed under judicial protection).
Departemental Councils act on behalf of youth through their role in the building and maintenance of lower secondary schools (collèges) and drafting of local social policy, implementation of child welfare services in particular. “Child welfare” refers to social action on behalf of families experiencing major material or educational problems with regard to their children. Départements implement the RSA – minimum income scheme, which young people of 25 and over can apply for, as well as providing them with ad hoc financial assistance. Young people between the ages of 18 and 25 experiencing social and/or financial problems may make use of the FAJ – Youth Assistance Fund (Fonds d’Aide aux Jeunes) . This départemental fund finances aid to social and professional integration of young people in economic difficulty and, if necessary, provides them with temporary financial help.
3) Municipalities and intermunicipalities
Municipalities and intermunicipalities (intermunicipalities are groups of municipalities that pool management of public services) are the smaller local administrations.
(Inter)municipal youth polices bear largely on social and educational action, prevention of delinquency and civic commitment. Among other things, municipalities’ social services, (with the Departement’s agreement) grant aid from the FAJ and can decide on social accompaniment of young people in major difficulty. Municipalities also provide young people with information on existing schemes related to employment, healthcare, accommodation, mobility and social rights via dedicated information facilities.
5) Government body
The National Refoundation Council is a body created in September 2022 by the President of the Republic to bring together institutional players, social partners, local elected officials, associations and representatives of the economic world to discuss solutions to the challenges of the ecological transition.
Following the example of the thematic NRCs already in place since the start of the 2022 school year, a NRC on Youth has been created to build, as close as possible to young people, concrete solutions to the major transformations to come.
This method is used at national level via workshops and consultations with all stakeholders and at local level via consultations with local players on subjects such as health or school.
The consultations began in January 2023 in the presence of the Prime Minister, members of the Government, young people aged between 13 and 29 involved in civil and political life, local elected representatives, associations and professionals from the youth world.
The emancipation of young people emerged as the guiding principle of these debates around four major concerns:
- the daily life of young people,
- the construction of their professional future,
- ecological action,
- civic commitment.
The debates are due to start in spring 2023.
The government and other institutional actors in youth policy give pride of place to the education and training of young people, which are the main themes of youth policies that concern young people's autonomy, mobility and participation in society. This work has adapted in its elaboration to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on young people since 2020, by proposing a stronger focus on inclusion and educational success.
Indeed, youth policies aim to
- Enable young people to succeed at school and to enter the labour market;
- Promote young people's autonomy;
- Promote the ability of young people to act in society, develop their commitment;
- Promote the mobility of all young people;
- Informing young people about the public schemes that concern them and their (social) rights.
Policy development draws on data, statistical data in particular, much of it produced by the Ministry of National Education’s Directorate for Evaluation, Forecasting and Performance (Direction de l'évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance – DEPP), as well as on work carried out by the National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education (INJEP) attached to the DJEPVA, and on analysis of data produced by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques – INSEE) and Ministerial Statistical Departments (Services statistiques ministériels – SSMs).
Such studies bear on youth policies and young people’s living conditions.
Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds confronted with social and economic problems and the question of inequalities between young people are also the subjects of studies and reports, such as INJEP’s work on young people with fewer opportunities and their unequal access to various public schemes.
Since 2016, the DJEPVA and INJEP, in partnership with the Research Centre for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (Centre de Recherche pour l'Étude et l'Observation des Conditions de Vie – CREDOC), have carried out an annual survey among over 4000 young people between 18 and 30 years of age living in France, enabling obtainment of qualitative information on youth: the Baromètre Jeunesse (Youth Barometer).
This work provides youth policy developers with objective quantitative and qualitative data highlighting the problems encountered by young people and their aspirations regarding international mobility, recreational activities, culture, commitment and access to social rights.
National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education
France does not have a youth “agency” as such. Public policies on youth are developed and coordinated by the DJEPVA’s departments.
Since 1 January 2016, the National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal Education (Institut national de la jeunesse et de l’éducation populaire – INJEP, created in 1953), which is a Government Agency with National Authority (Service à compétence nationale – SCN) has been attached to the Director of the DJEPVA. Its missions and operation are set by Decree no.2015-1771 of 24 December 2015 on creation of a government agency with national authority called “National Institute for Youth and Non-Formal education”.
Its role as observatory is given concrete expression by production of analyses and statistical data, the research work it carries out, and its studies and assessments in the fields of youth, education, associations and sport.
It is also a resource and expertise centre for professionals involved with youth and non-formal education, associations, public decision-makers and representatives of civil society. In this respect, one of its mission is to “collect, summarise, disseminate and promote knowledge on youth policies” in particular through publications and events.
The Institute comprises five missions:
1. The Surveys, Data and Statistical Studies Mission (Mission des enquêtes, des données et des études statistiques –MEDES)
2. The Study and Research Mission (Mission d'étude et de recherche – MER)
3. The Experimentation and Evaluation of Public Policies Mission (Mission d'expérimentation et d'évaluation des politiques publiques – MEEPP)
4. The Valorisation and Dissemination Mission (Mission de valorisation et de diffusion – MVD)
5. The Documentation/Resource Centre Mission (Mission de la documentation/centre de ressources – Mdoc)
The Institute plays a key role in knowledge and analysis of youth policies, as “a resource and expert assessment centre for all stakeholders in youth affairs, non-formal education and voluntary organisations, for parliamentary assemblies and bodies representing civil society”.
INJEP’s role is “to observe and analyse young people’s situations and youth policies at all territorial levels from local to European”. At the Prime Minister’s request, it carries out studies and drafts assessments relating to cross-ministerial youth policy, and oversees specific activities of observation or expert assessment of public action in favour of youth from the local to the European level.
At the request of the Prime Minister, it carries out studies or evaluations related to interministerial youth policy and sets up "at the request of the Minister for Youth, alone or in partnership with any public or private legal entity, specific observation or expertise activities for public actions in favour of young people".
In addition, INJEP runs the Experimental Funds for Youth (Fonds d'Expérimentation pour la Jeunesse -FEJ), a fund that finances experimental projects concerning youth.
Assessment and analysis of public youth policies in France have been developed and systematised over the last dozen or so years. Assessments, which may be quantitative, statistical or qualitative, are carried out by various public and private bodies (laboratories and academic research centres, research firms, etc.) Among other things, they seek to assess the impact of youth programmes and policies, and make recommendations.
A variety of institutions and organisations participate in the assessment and monitoring of policies, including Ministerial Statistical Departments, studies institutes, Ministerial Inspection Departments and consultative bodies. The public authorities may also call upon the services of external policy assessment agencies to monitor their youth policies.
Indicative list of youth policy assessment bodies
Each ministry has its own ministerial evaluation and statistical department, able to produce data and assess policies and programmes likely to concern young people.
At the DJEPVA/INJEP, the Surveys, Data and Statistical Studies Mission (MEDES) produces statistics in collaboration with the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). Its role is to produce and disseminate public statistics on youth, non-formal education and sport.
- Ministry of Agriculture and Food: Department of Statistics and Foresight Analysis (Service de statistique et de la prospective – SSP)
- Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities: Department for Local Studies and Statistics (Département des études et des statistiques locales – DESL)
- Ministry of Public Action and Accounts: External Trade Statistics and Analyses Division (Département des statistiques et des études du commerce extérieur – DSECE)
- Ministry of Culture: Department of Studies, Foresight and Statistics (Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques – DEPS)
- Ministry for the Armed Forces: Defence Economic Observatory (Observatoire économique de la défense – OED)
- Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition: Data and Statistical Studies Department (Service de données et des études statistiques – SDES)
- Ministry of National Education: Directorate for Evaluation, Forecasting and Performance (Direction de l'évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance – DEPP)
- Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation: Information Systems and Statistical Studies Sub-Directorate (Sous-direction des systèmes d'information et des études statistiques – SIES)
- Ministry of Justice: Statistics and Studies Sub-Directorate (Sous-direction de la statistique et des études – SDSE)
- Ministry for Solidarity and Health: Directorate of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (Direction de la recherche, des études, de l'évaluation et des statistiques – DREES)
- Ministry of Labour: Directorate of Research, Economic Studies and Statistics (Direction de l’animation, de la recherche, des études et des statistiques – DARES)
The Advisory Council on Youth Policies
The advisory council on youth policies (Conseil d’orientation des politiques de jeunesse -COJ) is an administrative advisory body, placed under the authority of the Prime Minister, created by Decree n°2016-1377 of 12 October 2016. Its missions were renewed in October 2021 (see below part 1.5 Approach, interministerial dynamics)
The COJ has three main missions:
- it may be consulted on legislative and regulatory projects connected with youth, and discuss any questions of general interest concerning youth policies;
- it may make proposals to the Government to improve young people’s situation
- it has to send an annual report to the Government.
COJ website: http://www.jeunes.gouv.fr/spip.php?rubrique1188
The Interministerial Directorate for Public Transformation
The Interministerial Directorate for Public Transformation (Direction interministérielle de la transformation publique – DITP) is a Prime Ministerial department that assists the French Government in the implementation and assessment of public policies.
Ministerial Inspection Departments
Several administrations (ministries) have inspection departments or inspection bodies responsible for carrying out inspections or producing assessment studies. In the field of public youth policies, the Minister of National Education and Youth’s “Youth and Sport” inspectors make up a civil service corps in its own right which participates in the implementation and assessment of public policies adopted by ministries. It may be required to carry out advisory, study and research missions in the fields of youth, non-formal education, physical and sports activities, collective recreational activities, and associations). Since September 2019, it has been merged with three other inspection bodies – the Inspectorate General for National Education (Inspection générale de l’éducation nationale – IGEN), the Inspectorate General for National Education and Research (Inspection générale de l’administration de l’éducation nationale et de la recherche – IGAENR), and the Inspectorate General of Libraries (Inspection générale des bibliothèques - IGB) – to form the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research (Inspection générale de l’éducation, du Sport et de la recherche – IGESR).