“Since 2018, we have seen a significant increase in the consideration of social and environmental impact in public policy, says William Bottaro, Mazars’ health partner and medical and social staff. This social approach, which can be considered very French, actually comes from the Anglo-Saxon countries. In the 2010s, it first spread to the social and solidarity economy sector and then to other segments of the public sector. » Initially, the actors involved in the implementation of public policy sought to improve their social influence in order to differentiate themselves. The latter has gradually established itself as a key argument for the sustainable strengthening of the competitiveness and attractiveness of the public sector, in particular in terms of recruitment. “This is a crucial and priority issue for all NGOs, especially for sectors under high pressure, such as health or the social sphere, which are struggling to recruit.”illustrated by William Bottaro.
In addition to this desire to restore interest, there is growing pressure from civil society and stakeholders in favor of more responsible behavior, which must go beyond the insufficient stage of commitment and translate into tangible action for the general public. “ It is important to remember that public policy works through redistribution mechanisms. However, it is sometimes difficult for citizens to see the concrete consequences of such a redistribution in their daily lives, to imagine and materialize why their taxes contribute. Working to improve the social impact of public policies also means trying to show how they can, for example, benefit local employment or preserve the environment. “, Explains Jean-François Trey, a partner in the public sector Mazars.
After the will, a place to fulfill
Thus, public policy with influence is a public policy that goes beyond its main mission, such as guaranteeing access to quality care or education, in order to obtain positive end-to-end effects for the benefit of society as a whole. “The government has given a deep impetus to this search for social and environmental impact, which a few years ago was abstract. Today, various action plans unfolding across the country demonstrate that public sector actors have gone far beyond the stage of laudable and symbolic intentions. “, Analyzes William Bottaro.
Among these responsible initiatives is the National Sustainable Procurement Plan (Pnad) for the period 2022-2025. Among other things, it stipulates that by 2025, all public procurement contracts to be notified during the year must include at least one environmental consideration, and 30% of contracts must include at least one social one. “Public procurement now integrates more and more diverse and complementary subjects of common interest, such as gender equality, anti-discrimination, unfair social competition, development of education, respect for ethical requirements … Although we can only be delighted with These necessary changes make it clear that the step that needs to be taken to reach the 30% target remains particularly high. In 2019, only 12.5% of contracts included social aspects, while the target was 25%. emphasizes Jean-François Trey.
Another initiative, this time joint: a social impact contract, which aims to promote innovative social and environmental projects. “We are talking about the implementation of charitable projects funded by private or public actors, projects that the state undertakes to reimburse if the goals set at the beginning are achieved.”says William Bottaro. To date, several competitions have been published to show interest and winners have been identified.
Acceleration levers still need to be explored
However, in addition to these actions, both experts agree that the real expansion of the impact of percussion devices will require the introduction of methodologies and measurement tools needed to monitor effectiveness. “Maturity, obviously, is not the same for all projects and not for all spheres of public activity. From now on, the challenge is to create a structured, standardized universe that already exists in the private sector. In order for the boom to be real and for progress to be visible to the greatest extent, social consequences need to be monitored and piloted, which means they can be measured. ”insists Jean-François Trey.
It is clear that tighter regulations can accelerate the introduction of more responsible practices, as is once again the case in the private sector. Restrictions on which experts do not necessarily declare themselves approving, preferring to highlight to the public the economic benefits that can be gained from impact initiatives or even the labeling process. “For sustainable transformation, the public sector must adopt a global and holistic approach that integrates all the value of projects, which is not yet the case. For example, setting up an on-site health center is certainly an advantage in terms of access to care, but also in terms of employment and local communities – hence schools and transport. The challenge is to take a fresh look at these impact projects, because understanding their real scale will help them invest more than ever. ”sums up William Bottaro.
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