Citizens’ Consultation on Pension Reform

Date
1 May 2018 - 31 December 2019
Customer
High Commissioner for Pension Reform (Ministry of Solidarity and Health)
Intervention
Strategic support, facilitating the regional workshops, facilitating the citizens’ juries, synthesis work
When preparing the draft law on the universal pension system, the French President and Prime Minister decided to consult the people. A far-reaching national consultation was launched in 2018, comprising four elements: an online consultation, a workshop looking to the future, eight participatory workshops in the regions and a citizens’ workshop led by the Interministerial Directorate for Transformation of the Public Sphere (DITP). Missions Publiques provided support for the strategic and methodological design of the face-to-face citizens’ consultation and then led the eight regional workshops (in Montreuil, Arras, Lorient, Toulon, Dijon, Angoulême, Strasbourg and Toulouse) and the citizens’ workshop. Missions Publiques then produced an analytical summary of the regional workshops. The results were presented at a public event attended by the citizens who had taken part, members of parliament, journalists, the Health and Solidarity Minister, Agnès Buzyn, and the High Commissioner for Pension Reform, Jean-Paul Delevoye.

CONTEXT AND GOALS

The citizens’ consultation on pension reform was launched on October 3 by the French President as part of the preparations for the draft law. It should give everyone a chance to stay informed and to put forward their questions, hopes and concerns about the future universal pension system.

“A social project of this scope affects the future of our children and grandchildren and can only be built collectively. Thank you all for your analytical thinking, your critical sense, your stories and your contributions.

Jean-Paul Delevoye

former High Commissioner for Pensions

PROCEDURE

Missions Publiques was called on to provide strategic support for the High Commissioner for Pension Reform, Jean-Paul Delevoye, with the design of the citizen workshops: we helped mobilize citizens, define the workshop objectives and facilitation protocol, and worked to make sure the information provided was accessible.
The workshops led by Missions Publiques brought together between 55 and 93 citizens for one day. The workshops comprised informative and discussion sessions on the pension reform project, alternating with sessions where the group expressed their joint proposals and signaled the watch-points.
The citizens’ workshop brought together a panel of 15 citizens over two weekends in Paris. They interviewed experts and social partners before drafting an informed joint opinion at the end of the citizens’ consultation process.

OUR ADDED VALUE

The discussions between members of the High Commissioner’s team and participants in the regional workshops helped improve the presentation of the draft reform (initial observations and intentions clarified, accuracy and accessibility of the subject matter, the hypotheses put forward for debate and invariants) and the participants were able to make practical, collective and well-argued proposals on the debate themes (considering new forms of work, solidarity between working people, marital and family rights, the transition from work to retirement, inclusion of disability and family carers, age and conditions of retirement, etc.). The citizens’ workshop drafted an opinion in response to the question: “What conditions are required to renew everyone’s trust in the pension system?”, insisting on the principles of universality, solidarity, transparency, and governance of the future system.
The reform and the institutional consultation were enhanced with input from the future beneficiaries of the planned pension scheme. The outcomes of the face-to-face and online consultations have been published on the consultation platform.
In his recommendations published in July 2019, the High Commissioner illustrated his proposals with highlights from the consultation.
In addition, more than 90 facilitators (most notably pension scheme employees) were trained during this process to provide support at the in-person discussions. These facilitators have therefore helped spread good citizen participation practices.

OUTCOMES

This initiative enabled participants to identify the strengths of the universal pension system project, as well as any points requiring clarification, areas of concern and the red lines. The divisive issues were explored together, thanks to carefully pinpointing of the issues raised during the workshops.
Multimodal information materials were designed to enable greater understanding of the subject and its issues.
Greater publicizing of these results and more thorough use during the institutional consultation and, more generally, in the public debate could perhaps have helped to ease some of the tension surrounding the draft reform.

KEY FIGURES

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DELIVERABLES

  • Report on the regional workshops (link here).
  • Information documents.
  • Information videos.