France Services, in support of the (first) line procedures in Nièvre

Dornes, on a Wednesday in October. In the fog that wraps itself in gray scarves around the trees of the town hall square, there is only the yellow sun of La Poste to shine.

In these rooms that house the France service counter, Aurélie Gauthier and Brigitte Bouchoux light up the residents who wander the dark alleys of administrative procedures from Monday to Saturday.

“We receive many poor people, who do not have a computer or who use the Internet very badly”, explains Aurélie Gauthier. She and her colleague guide users in their relationships with an entire team of partners, from Pôle Emploi to health insurance and family allowances.

Respond to multiple requests

Faced with the boom in the use of dematerialization, many citizens are pushing the door to the service space in France as they take refuge in the driving rain of pixels.

In addition, the agents are transformed into real Swiss army knives, ready to cut the knots of problems. “Sometimes people just can’t take it anymore … We can fix everything in an hour. And then we follow in time. For the withdrawal, for example, I accompany them throughout the procedure, do I not abandon them along the way ?! »Assures Aurélie Gauthier.

Headlights in the digital night, Aurélie Gauthier and Brigitte Bouchoux see as many elderly people disembark with their touchscreen smartphones as young people who are not very enterprising in the use of IT tools, not knowing how to tie a curriculum. “Sure, we’re not bored …”

It is virtuous, of course, but it is not a universal solution

The deployment of French services, now 32 in the Nièvre, was conceived as a response to the scarcity of public services and the difficulties encountered by the population in accessing them, including online. From La Charité-sur-Loire, for example, it is now necessary to go to Cosne or Nevers for physical appointments regarding administrative acts. “And the transport has a cost…”, comments the mayor Henri Valès.

“I must tell you that the first inaugurations, I did not experience them as victories”, testifies Senator Nadia Sollogoub. “But we have to find solutions. It is virtuous, of course, but it is not a universal solution and should not replace public services. “

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The latter are therefore transforming their working methods, adapting to this new world of flexibility and roaming. Valérie Oppin, public finance controller, has been traveling every week to four French departments of the Nièvre for two years.

For her, the quality of contacts is superior to that of old treasures, due to the time she can devote to users. “Let’s cut taxes. There is a human face that answers you, the people I receive never go out without having understood. There is a lot more following here than in large structures, where you are just a number. “If you like this autonomy,” it is true that there we are no longer in large offices where the colleague next door can help you. “

The Senate makes recommendations

A “human dimension”, however, underlined by a report presented this summer by the Finance Committee of the Senate. This document sets out several recommendations for improving the efficiency of the network. On the list is the strengthening of communication at the local level.

“It is true that in our country there are still people who try to put checks in the mailbox of the former treasury closed last year”, reports Maryse Peltier, mayor of Corbigny. “Change is not easy to accept. ”

“French services are not sufficiently identified in the landscape”, acknowledges Nadia Sollogoub. “France also needs hyper-competent and high quality services. Why do we not forget that we often talk about fraud, but there are situations of poverty due to the lack of use of the law, is it a real topic ?! “

The gray cards are the gas factory …

So, on the side of the 81 Nivernais agents, versatility is a must. “For the CPAMs, the CAF is quite classic,” explains Aurélie Gauthier. And sometimes it’s a bit of a hassle. “About pensions, you learn as you go. On the other hand, the gray cards are the gas system … We are somewhat left to ourselves. “

Reception staff should provide “level 1” information. For more complex cases Brigitte Bouchoux and Aurélie Gauthier “call a friend”: “We have correspondents with our partners. She is doing very well with them. They know we never call them for nothing: if so, is it because we’ve tried everything before ?! “I often tell them they are not superheroes,” observes Alexandra Bonneau, facilitator of the French services department.

“Reception”, “mediation”, “substantial mastery of procedures” and “social support” for the missions: we understand the observation of the senators who ask to “stabilize the teams”, “train them better and better recognize these professions that have become essential”, limiting short contracts and civic services.

Better support communities?

Also noteworthy, as regards the surveillance points, is the increase in the burden represented by French services for local authorities. “With the rise in energy prices, we are quite shocked,” says the mayor of La Charité, who does not deny the social advantage of such a structure.

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Furthermore, the Senate report asks for the joint participation of the state and operators to be raised to 50% of the minimum cost of a space (today the average annual cost of operation of France Services is 110,000 euros).

If the word “home” has disappeared from their name, France Services holds the door open. It remains that all the hosts work together, around the table, so that they do not have only a precarious function of shelter from the strong winds of digitization.

Train agents to be highly versatile

With the latest wave of labeling, all French service agents in Nièvre will be trained by the end of the year.

The educational cost of the training is fully covered by the National Center for the Territorial Public Service (CNFPT). Mandatory, it is divided into two modules.

“Let’s start with a common ground,” says Cécile Marceau, head of the Nivernese branch. “The goal is to teach them the role of a reception agent in a public service. Welcoming people well is one thing, but the person must also walk away with the information they came for. Students first attend a webinar to get started with the agent’s platform.

They continue with 15 hours of training within the CNFPT. There, various points are addressed, from the “qualities necessary for the exercise of the function” to the “fundamentals of communication” passing through “the definition of reporting and its components”. Identify and understand the expectations of users, adapt their reception to different situations, many skills to be acquired.

In a second phase, “the agents follow what is called SPOC, an online course closed to a group. They have a few weeks to complete this last part, which addresses the challenges and best practices of digital mediation. “

All of this, “is extremely dense and requires a lot of versatility. “Agents can rely” on memories, they know who to turn to if they have questions. They, or rather they, this profession being particularly gendered for women.

For Cécile Marceau, however, it is an “interesting device to sensitize an audience that enters directly, without competition. It is not uncommon for us to see them again later … “

Alice Forge

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