The French Senatorial Delegation to local authorities published last summer a report on the status of local elected officials, which can be downloaded from the Senate website. It is entitled “Facilitating the implementation of local mandates: challenges and perspectives”.
This report is the result of work carried out in 2017-2018 by a Delegation working group, following evidence of unease among many local elected officials regarding the exercise of their mandates. Hearings were held, in the form of round tables, which studied questions of compensation, social protection, ongoing training, retraining, the penal system and the ethics of local elected officials. Two members of the ANR ELUAR project (Didier Demazière and Rémy Le Saout) were interviewed on 12 April 2018 by the Delegation.
A questionnaire was also sent in December 2017 to local elected officials, who responded in large numbers. From a total of 17,500 respondents, there were 9,800 municipal elected officials, including 4,200 mayors, 5,400 inter-municipal elected officials, including 1,400 presidents or vice-presidents, 560 departmental elected officials and 210 regional elected officials.
The elected representatives consulted mentioned five main difficulties in carrying out their mandate: the difficulty of reconciling the mandate with professional life (13.64%); the level of demands of citizens (13.38%), the legal and criminal risk (12.65%), the complexity of their responsibilities (12.60%) or the difficulty of reconciling the mandate with personal life (12.29%). Consequently, they identified five priority areas for action: legal protection and status regarding criminal law (19.07%), reconciling the mandate with a professional activity (18.61%), the compensation scheme (16.41%), training (15.62%) and social protection (8.49%).
A comparison with the status of local elected representatives in other European countries was also made, more particularly with Italy.
Following this study, Jacqueline Gourault, Minister for Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities, received on 5 November 2018 the main associations of local authorities (Régions de France, ADF, AdCF, AMF, France Urbaine, Villes de France, AMRF) for a long discussion about the conditions for exercising local mandates. This meeting is described in the AdCF newsletter of 9 November 2018, in an article entitled “Conditions for exercising local mandates: Jacqueline Gouraut receives local government associations”.
As indicated in this article, during a round table discussion, most of the participants agreed on the prognosis and the importance of rethinking the status of the elected representative, in order to face demotivation and fatigue, but also to ensure the renewal of assemblies and executives: feminization, participation of people in work, young people…
Discussions were held on whether or not to maintain the voluntary nature of the local mandate.
Representatives of associations of local authorities also expressed their views on the legal and social protection of local elected officials.