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Civil service has so far shunned change

Heirs to a millenary State tradition, civil servants occupy an important position in the French system of governance as a whole. The idea that public sector employment is not comparable to that in the private sector has its roots in the Monarchy, and was reaffirmed by the French Revolution, the following regimes, and has grown stronger ever since.

The structure of the French civil service is characterised by its fragmentation, due to several factors. First, the large range of hiring bodies (ministries, local governments, health facilities, branch offices, établissements publics) and the existence of three different sections of civil service (State, Local governments, health). Second, within the State civil service (i.e., with tenure), corps, grading and hierarchy are precisely defined and strengthen the esprit de corps, while contract employees remain second class citizens.

Yet, several evolutions are building a case for deep changes in a structure whose pillars have not been altered significantly over the last two centuries in spite of the evolution of the role of the State, and of human resources management methods. First, the new budget management system requires change to adapt the current civil service to the new performance management rules. Second, the European integration changes some rules (mostly access) and rationalisation takes its toll on tradition and esprit de corps. France would thus join the rest of the European club, whereas for the time being it is the only major European country not to have undertaken a significant overhaul of its civil service.


Jean-Marie Auby. Droit de la Fonction publique, 4ème éd., Paris, Dalloz Précis droit public science politique, 2002.

Conseil d'Etat. Rapport public 2003 : perspectives pour la fonction publique. La Documentation française, 2003

Cour des Comptes, La Fonction Publique de l'Etat (deuxième rapport public particulier), avril 2001

Leroy, Anne-Marie. Une révolution peut en cacher une autre, Cadre CFDT, n°407, octobre 2003.

Ministère de la fonction publique et de la réforme de l'Etat. Fonction publique: faits et chiffres 2003. La Documentation française, Paris, 2004.

Mukherjee, Ranjana, Sundaram, Pachampet. Senior civil service: comparative administrative practice, World Bank, May 2005.

Pochard, Marcel. Quel avenir pour la fonction publique?, AJDA, janvier 2000, p.3.

Rouban, Luc. The French civil service. La Documentation française, 1998.

Silguy, Yves-Thibault (de). Moderniser l'Etat: le cas de l'ENA. Commission sur la réforme de l'ENA et la formation des cadres supérieurs des fonctions publiques. La Documentation française, Paris, avril 2003.

Silguy, Yves-Thibault (de). Moderniser l'Etat: l'encadrement supérieur. Commission sur la réforme de l'ENA et la formation des cadres supérieurs des fonctions publiques. La Documentation française, Paris, décembre 2003.

1 - A Diversified and Numerous Civil Service

1.1 Three civil services

The notion of civil service is commonly understood inFrance as personnel in general administration, education, hospital, police. Technically, it also refers to personnel of military status, as well as of judiciary status. Nonetheless, they are usually counted separately, as they have their own statutory law, different from that of the Civil Service General Statute  (statut général de la fonction publique, CSGS). Legally, it refers to public sector employees ruled by the CSGS and contract employees ruled by public law.

There are three sections of the civil service. Each of them has its own national statute that is established on the basis of the CSGS.

french Graph

Source: DGAFP, 2003. (For more recent figures, click HERE).

State civil service (fonction publique d'Etat). It covers the State's central administrations and their branch offices, at the region and département level. This also refers to employment within public services structures such as établissements publics in the field of education and research (universities, research institutes), as well as établissements publics directly under Ministries' responsibility.

Local government civil service (fonction publique territoriale ). It was created in 1984, as part of the decentralisation process. It includes all employment in local governments: (commune, département and regions) as well as in their établissements publics.

Public health civil service (fonction publique hospitalière ). It includes all employment, except medical staff (doctors, biologists, chemists and orthodontists), in public hospitals and other public structures in the sectors of health and social care, such as pension homes, shelter homes, etc.

1.2 Size of civil service

Reliable figures of public employees are difficult to establish. The boundaries of the civil service are debated, as the notion of civil service may encompass many different employment statuses.

However, there has clearly been a rise in the numbers of civil servants stricto sensu. From 250,000 for State and local administration, equivalent to 1.6% of total labour force, in 18501, the number of civil servants rose to 900,000 in 1936. The figure was nearly 2 million in 19482, then reached 3.8 million in 19803, equivalent to 17.8% of total labour force, and 4.7 million in 1990, equivalent to 19% of total labour force. Figures show an increase of 150% between 1948 and 1990.

In 2002, the three statutory (civil services) elements of public sector employment represent 4,925,100 persons, representing 20% of total labour force in France. 51%, that is 2,530,600 people, work in the State civil service; of which 49% (1,233,350 persons) work in the education sector and 16.5% (418,600 persons) are military personnel. The local government civil service has 1,460,100 people, or 30%, of the total civil service, while 19%, or 934,300 people, work in the public health sector.

Since the Second World War, the increase in the numbers of civil servants has been a general trend in Western Europe. Even though the weight of civil servants in the total workforce has steadily increased in France, this has occurred in the context overall growth of white collar workers. Also, total French population growth (29.5% between 1956 and 1992) resulted in an exponential rise in demand for public services. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of central government civil servants with tenure rose by 110%, which demonstrates that the increase in the total number of public sector employees is not only due to recruiting more contract personnel.

It is important to note that 90% of State civil servants work in services attached to only five ministries: Education, Defence, Economy and Finance, Interior, and Infrastructure and Transport. Seventy percent of State civil servants are to be found in only 27 of the existing 900 corps. The trend also shows that the number of senior executive agents (Category A) has increased, while the part of clerks (Category C) has decreased.

2 - The cost of State civil service

State civil service expenditures in 2003 account for 45% of the State budget (€124 billion) (40% in 1993), divided in 53% for salaries (54% in 1993), 26% for pensions (20% in 1993), 11% for social contributions and social allowances, and 10% for other expenditures.

2.1 Salaries and benefits/bonuses

Each year, the government and civil service unions negotiate salary levels, based on the following wage framework. Until today, bonuses have been the answer to the issue of how to increase salaries without increasing the pensions and how to attract highly qualified individuals inn a corps. How to switch to a bonus system that awards performance remains open. So far, the corps seem to resist any tentative of reform.

All State civil servants are classified in a unique salary scale. The different elements used to calculate the total pay consist of a basic index in euros, a multiplier corresponding to the civil servant's corps and grade, diverse benefits and indemnities relating to family situation (e.g., housing), as well as deductions, such as contributions to pension and taxes, and bonuses varying by corps.

This egalitarian system entails that civil servants at the same hierarchy level receive the same basic pay, within the same corps in the same Ministry, irrespective of the quality of their individual work. It is a global system, in which each group pay is related to all other groups' pay. These patterns make the system difficult to reform.

In addition to the salary, a system of bonuses, based on the special conditions of the corps, and not at all on performance assessment, complements remuneration. Some bonuses used to be paid in cash and were not taxed. Official figures are never published, which creates an opaque system, especially their financing. At the Ministry of Finance, where bonuses are particularly high, these were mainly financed by customs and taxes penalties. Another example: bonuses for State engineers were financed by a percentage (7%) of the costs of the works done for local administrations by the branch offices they belonged to. Since 1999, this bonus system has been reformed progressively to impose transparency across the levels and encourage individual performance, notably at the management level.

2.2 Pension system

The pension system is based on the principle of immediate redistribution (répartition), by which active civil servants' contributions are used to pay the pension of the retired civil servants. The State budget also contributes to the payment of pensions. The demographic pressure has become an increasing concern for the sustainability of the pension system. Civil servants are ageing, and the ratio between civil servants in activity and pensioners is constantly decreasing. This means that the part of the State budget in the financing of the pension system will rise. This is why a reform was adopted in 2003, bringing the age requirement for civil servants's retirement closer to what is applicable to private sector employees.

As a general principle, civil servants can retire from the age of 60 years. However, certain jobs, because of the risks and tough conditions they imply, allow earlier retirement, at 50 or 55 years; for instance, policemen, prison warders, nurses. The minimum age of retirement is established for each category of employment. There is also a maximum age.

Retiring pension is calculated as a function of the number of years in service. The 2003 reform brought this number to 40 years, and more, as in the private sector, instead of 37.5 years formerly. The basis for calculation is the last salary index that applied to the civil servant over the last 6 months in office.

3 - The pillars of the system are 200 years old and very much alive

See section on Civil Service Management for details on management rules. 

3.1 Career-based civil service

A majority of employees of central or local administrations are civil servants who are guaranteed a career in the administration. In the course of their career, civil servants may access to superior grades, corps or jobs; or within the same grade or corps, they may take up different jobs. In all cases, they are guaranteed to climb the steps within a grade, on the basis of seniority. Civil servants are given a grade within the corps hierarchy. As a rule and as a practice, grade (assigned to the individual and confers him/her rights) and job (the function) are different and independent from each other. Unlike the alternative position-based system, whereby civil servants are appointed to a specific position, the career system is valued as protection against political changes.

Most European countries, including Germany and the UK, have adopted a career system for their civil service. Career systems also exist in countries such as Belgium, Greece and Germany. However, in Germany, for instance, career system only applies to the category of public sector employees legally qualified as civil servants (Beamte), who represent 40% of the public employment. They enjoy job security and statutory protection. The other employees, considered either as ordinary employees (Angestellte) and workers (Arbeiter), are appointed to a position for a limited period. They are subject to more flexible rules, associated to the position-based system. However, after a number of years in service, they may be granted permanent jobs.

3.2 Competitive examination as a mean of entry

The 1789 Declaration of rights of Man and Citizen, which is not part of the French Constitution but is recognised as part of the constitutional corpus, establishes the principle of equal access of all to public employment. To ensure that, competitive examination is the instrument generally used for the entry and promotion in civil service. Originally, this was seen as the best guarantee for a system based on merit and equal opportunity.

The first competitive entry exams were organised in the 1850s, for the grands corps. Competitive examinations take place each year. They are widely advertised, as well as the number of positions available. Two types of exams are organised: external exams, open to everybody, provided they fulfil the requirements (age, nationality, degree) and internal exams, for public-sector employees who seek promotion and meet the criteria (age, seniority). Application criteria and exam content depend on the given corps for which the exam is organised.

Competitive exams are presented as an opportunity for social promotion as well. However, upper social classes are over-represented within higher civil service. This trend also reflects the social origin of higher education graduates in the country.

Specifically designated top managerial positions are filled by a presidential decree proposed by the Prime Minister and adopted in a formal cabinet meeting. Other managerial positions are filled by the Minister or the head of the agency, by delegation. The list of positions at the discretion of the government is defined in a 1985 decree (in application of article 13 of the 1958 Constitution): around 500 posts, notably central government directors, general secretaries, ambassadors and prefects. This list is non-exhaustive and the government may add other positions should their nature require so. Generally, appointees are already civil servants, and/or issued from civil service schools, meaning that they usually have passed a competitive exam in the past.

3.3 Public law as the single source of law for civil servants only (i.e., with tenure)

Working in the civil service means exercising the prerogatives of the State as executive branch, and/or carrying tasks of public service. Therefore, a special legal regime has been designed for civil servants, which prevail over regular rules of labour law and civil code. As a matter of law principle, civil servants are not equal to private sector employees. This has been the case since the end of the XIXth century.

Civil servants are subject to regulatory and statutory dispositions. They do not sign contracts. The rules governing their employment status are unilateral acts (laws and various regulations), of public nature. The current system was established in 1946, when the Civil Servants General Statute was adopted, following negotiations between trade unions and the government. Likewise, in Germany, public law only applies to civil servants only.

3.4 The distinctive grands corps de l'Etat (grand corps of State)

Amongst the corps, a few are qualified grand corps of State” (grands corps de l'Etat), because they traditionally enjoy particular prestige linked to their upper level responsibilities. There is no legal definition of a grand corps. Some were established early in the history of State building and have gradually reached a dominant position in the administrative structure: the corps of bridges and roads engineers dates back to the XVIIIth century Monarchy. Grand corps are only a fraction of the higher civil service.

There are administrative and technical grand corps. The first category includes magistrates of the Council of State, the National Auditor (Cour des comptes), and Inspectors of the IGF. The latter includes State engineers, notably the corps of Mines, of Bridges and Roads (Ponts et Chaussées), of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests (Génie Rural, Eaux et des Forêts).

Members of the grands corps are as a rule graduates from a specific grande école or have benefited from internal promotion, in which case in some rare but prominent instances the newly appointed benefited from patronage. Grands corps are characterised by their high selectivity and strong esprit de corps. They also enjoy auto-regulation and management, which can be illustrated by the absence of performance evaluation and promotion roster, but the consultation of a committee to decide upon matters of career advancement.

Elgie says that they have colonised particular parts of the administration and fiercely defend what they deem to be their own fiefdoms.4 This is very apparent for technical grands corps, which hold a quasi monopole over managerial positions within relevant ministries, such as the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Industry, as well as State-owned enterprises. While members of the grands corps have a vocation to work for their corresponding institution or Ministry, they are also likely to work outside where their expertise is sought after, including the private sector

One can easily observe the importance of the grands corps of the State under the Fifth Republic, both in the immediate collaborators of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, as well as in the Parliament.

4 - Higher civil service

Higher civil service (HCS)5 is understood as this group of personnel who plays an active role in policy design and management, rather than interacting directly with public service users. They constitute a heterogeneous group whose members are difficult to identify. A common definition of French HCS(haute fonction publique) is: civil servants belonging to the grands corps or in higher management positions Indeed, future HCS is mainly selected very early, by recruitment at the entry level through competitive examinations, with a very small proportion entering in the course of their career through promotion. This means that even if they are junior in civil service, these people will be considered higher, or senior, civil servants.

HCS has no specific statute; the distinction comes from the position they hold. They are appointed to a management position for a specific duration, and if not satisfactory, go back to their own corps. The major part of higher civil servants passed the entry exam of and was trained at prestigious highly selective civil service training schools, mainly ENA and Ecole Polytechnique . Top positions in the civil service include also these few posts for which recruitment is left at the discretion of Government (Cabinet's appointment). However, appointees are picked among members of the ENA and Ecole Polytechnique graduates too. Thus, it is very difficult not only for highly qualified persons outside government, but also for high performers from other cadres/services, to get selected for top positions.

Mobility is another feature of the HCS. As a rule, top executive staff based in central government organisations rotate every three to six years. As a result, many of them have moved within the administration, more rarely abroad, although there are legal opportunities to switch between the civil service and private and public industry such as secondment (détachement), temporary and liberal posting out of one's administration (mise à disposition), leave without pay (mise en disponibilité).

Higher civil servants, and members of grands corps in particular, have often taken a leave to go work in State owned enterprises or private sector firms (called by a derogatory/slang word pantoufler” based on the French word for slippers). It is not surprising knowing that high-level administrative positions have constantly been, until the mid- 1990s, paid much less than the equivalent positions in private firms, but also that further career opportunities become scarcer and scarcer as the individual climbs up the scale. This custom has implied too close interrelations and conflict of interest between financial, industrial, political and administrative circles which were highlighted by scandals, among which the Crédit Lyonnais bankruptcy is the latest. The law on the prevention of corruption and on the transparency of public life and public procedures (January 29, 1993, followed by a decree of February 15, 1995), has instituted a consultative committee charged with giving an opinion on the possibility of conflict of interest when a civil servant leaves his/her office to join a private firm. A ruling by the Council of State (12/06/96, Société Lambda”) has imposed a very strict interpretation of the law, to the extent that it is now extremely difficult to get the authorisation to pantoufler in private companies with which the civil servant has had to deal in recent years.

Politicisation is very apparent within the administrative elite. A large part of higher civil servants constantly work closely with political managers, and serve periodically in the ministers' private offices (cabinets). Some may choose to join politics.

5 - Employees not subject to civil service law

Some employees of the public sector are not ruled by the general statute, therefore are not civil servants. These persons, who are hired as contractual, auxiliary, or temporary” (vacataire) employees and workers (ouvriers), may have a contract under public law or private law (if they work for a public enterprise operating under private law). The civil service statute does not apply to them.

However, those working for the State do have a statute set by a decree, and their situation is hybrid: the Council of State jurisprudence specifies that, even though contract employees are hired on the basis of work contracts (under public law), they are considered placed in a legal, regulatory or statutory position. This allows, for instance, unilateral changes to the texts regulating their category; including modification of salary, when their salary is determined in reference to a statute (which is often the case). Regularly since 1946, government has granted tenure to a number of contract employees, the best example being the National Education Ministry integrating auxiliary teaching staff.

These mechanisms, parallel to the CSGS, allow the administration to respond to new or unplanned needs, and offer greater flexibility in staff management. Depending on one's point of view, this demonstrates either the rigidity or the capacity of adaptation of the French civil service system. The absence of, or inadequate, strategic planning of human resources is the most common reason why administrations have recourse to these alternative statuses. In the Ministry of Education, it is often the case that a contract teacher covers for a teacher with tenure who is absent. Innovative or highly specialised tasks may also be carried out by contract employees, because there may be no relevant corps or recruitment competitions, e.g. computing and urban planning.

In 2002, public employees without tenure accounted for 13.1% of the total workforce within the State civil service; 20%, within the local governments civil service; and 5.7%, within the public health civil service.6 In State government, they are concentrated in the ministries of Education, Finance and Infrastructure.

In Germany too, the rest of personnel qualified as employees” and workers” (equivalent of 60% of public employees) work exclusively under contracts, ruled by regular private labour law. The distinction between civil servants and public sector employees under contract, though, is blurred by the fact that the latter, although subject to private law, benefit from job security after a certain period of service. In addition, formerly, the status of Beamter was more liberally bestowed, and as it cannot be taken away there are still a lot of Beamter among the older people working in post offices, railway, Deutsche Telekom, public utility companies, etc.

6 - Tight relations between civil service and political power

Public administration relies heavily on political power, because the legislative and the executive powers decide upon their framework of organisation and actions. Parliament (National assembly and Senate) is involved in defining the statutory rules for the civil service and voting the budget that may affect job creation within the civil service. Parliament also has a power of control over the administration, as Ministers must report to it. In addition, Parliament enacts laws that public administrations have to implement.

The executive branch has a far clearer impact on public administration, since, according to article 20 of the 1958 Constitution, the government has the administration at its disposal”. Ministers have direct hierarchical authority over the staff working within ministerial departments.  There is no such institution as the Permanent Secretary of the Westminister system although the budget reform has already led to creating a Secretary General in each Ministry, to assume Programme Manager functions. The Executive branch is also responsible for appointing a number of higher civil servants.

An important feature of the French administration lies in its general stability, having survived all the changes of political regime and governments since the early years of the Third Republic (1880s). It is known for a fact that the administrative staff of the Monarchy was kept in place under the new Republican regime, after the French Revolution. Today, the existence of the General Statute of Civil Servants brings an additional protection against political interference.

Compared to private sector, the level of unionisation in public sector, including the production sector, is still high. Public-sector groups and unions are strong and active lobbies that may have a very strong influence on the government's policy and reform agenda. It is worth noting that union opposition never targeted the system as a whole, but most of the time, small groups' interests.Left-wing political parties, in particular, maintain more or less close links with unions, notably public-sector unions, as large parts of the civil service (e.g., teachers) are traditional left wing voters.

As for HCS, political criteria may be taken into consideration for the appointment to positions left at the discretion of Government. At the local level, the executive branch appoints to high ranking positions.

In addition, because of the expertise and technical skills they have developed, some civil servants become indispensable resource people to deal with complex government issues. As such, they may be in a position to influence ministerial decisions and proposals. They may also become members of Ministers' private offices (cabinets ministériels), which in a large part are staffed with senior civil servants.

High-ranking civil servants, and especially those graduated from ENA belonging to the grands corps, are strongly represented in political, parliamentary and governmental positions. The system, through the leave for personal reasons (disponibilité pour convenances personnelles), allows civil servants to preserve their positions, while elected politicians. The penetration of politics by civil servants has increased: over the last 50 years, an average of 50% of Ministers and 15% of Members of Parliament (MP) had a background in civil service.7

7 - Civil service reform

The need for civil service reform began to emerge in the 1970s, when the global economic crisis and the crisis of welfare State affected France. The EU also generated additional pressure. There is now in France a consensus to reform the current human resources management system, built on decades of frustration both on the employees and the employer's side:  it is administrative instead of functional, egalitarian instead of performance oriented, lacks prospective, leaves little to performance evaluation and last but not least, is adverse to wage bill growth control.  The reasons are well known too: overimportance of legal management, hyper centralisation or management authority, too many particular statues.

Three structural features are pushing for major changes: demography, budget reform, and the European Union process.

7.1 The demographic challenge

Demography is going to play a major role in the coming years. Civil service is aging rapidly, and retirement attrition is planned to grow from 50,000 in 2002 to 65,000 in 2007-8, and 62,000 in 2010. Territorial civil service will be affected as strongly. A total of 40% of current payroll will have retired between 2003 and 2010. This will pose challenges to the civil service internal structure and provide opportunities for re-deployment. The demographic overturn is expected to happen in 2007, where active population will start decreasing, at a rate of 30,000 a year, putting therefore pressure on available labour, and increasing competition between private and public sector: the latter hires more higher level staff (45% of payroll) than the former (12% of payroll). All these parameters render even more urgent and critical the development of previsional HR management (gestion prévisionnelle des effectifs et des compétences).

7.2 A more cost-efficient and accountable administration

The concept of New Public Management (NPM), based on productivity and performance, has been introduced in France to a limited extent so far, if compared with the United Kingdom and Italy, for instance. In France, the first attempts in the 1970s focused on rationalising budgetary choices (rationalisation des choix budgétaires). In the mid-1980s, emphasis was put on changing working methods and mentality within the civil service. A more ambitious step was taken with the adoption of the 2001 Organic Law, relating to budgetary reform.

Even though the text does not deal with the matter of human resources (HR) explicitly, it is clear that HRM will be affected. This reform introduces the concept of performance in public management, which may imply a revolution of public management on the whole” (Leroy, 2003). The law will be fully implemented in 2006, yet there is no official draft reform laws relating to the necessary adaptations of the civil service system.

Budget programmes include appropriations relating to HR. Therefore, employment should be managed directly by programme managers and budget operating programme operators, whose role is to evaluate their needs in personnel and skills to fulfill their objectives. A window of opportunity is opened for transferring HR management at branch office level. Yet, de-concentration of personnel management has always been a difficult issue in France.

These consequences should not threaten the career system of civil service. They should instead push for reforming the system of corps and centralised management. In its 2003 annual report, the Council of State recommends to abolish corps-based management, which it considers outdated, costly, cumbersome, and too rigid. The idea would be to replace the existing corps with broader function frameworks. This would tremendously simplify the structure and management of the civil service, as civil servants would be grouped within about 50 function frameworks, instead of the existing more than 900 active corps. This would offer greater flexibility for managers, as well greater inter-ministerial mobility for civil servants. In the summer of 2004, a reform project based on these proposals has been presented by the Minister of the Civil Service to the trade unions. Although the political situation inFrance makes it unlikely that the project will be carried out before the next general elections (in 2007), it is a clear sign that the situation is changing rapidly and that the debate is open.

A performance-based public management also calls for more individualised and differentiated solutions, in terms of career advancement, pay and sanctions, in order to take better consideration of the difficulty of the tasks and the efforts of the civil servant. At the stage of recruitment, especially of managers, it would be indispensable to focus tests on skills such as team management, and leadership, instead of technical knowledge.

Pochard explains that neither statutory rules nor the principle of equality of treatment of civil servants should hinder the introduction of a performance-based management. The real problem comes from the actual implementation of these rules and principle, as illustrated by the generalised use of seniority, not performance in the areas of pay and promotion. In addition, the fact that millions of people are subject to the same rules, of legislative and regulatory nature, makes it difficult to reform. And pilot experiences, innovations as well as individualised solutions are extremely difficult to introduce. This may also explain why the reforms of the pay and pension systems have never been globally addressed. In these areas, the smallest compromise represents additional expenditures in the range of millions of euros.

7.3 Adaptation of civil service to the European Union's requirements

European law supersedes French law since France is a member of the EU. The founding treaty of the European Community lays down the principle of freedom of movement for workers, meaning that EU citizens have the right to serve in the French civil service, except for functions relating to national sovereignty and State's prerogatives. The number of non-French EU citizens in the French civil service remains modest. Major constraints remain clarifying equivalence of qualifications required for eligibility, and naturally, the language.

The jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice often helps clarifying the extent of this right. For instance, it has considered that a person qualified to hold a post of manager of a public hospital inPortugal is not compelled to pass the competitive exam of the French National School of Pubic Health to have a similar job within the French health civil service.8 To take into consideration the EU law, it is necessary to analyse the French civil service system in terms of jobs and functions, not of corps, which can increase pressure to change the current the career system. Moreover, EU directives and labour regulations have influenced the French civil service law in many areas, including the status of contractual employees, non-discrimination against women, personnel representation right, etc.


1. In Auby.

2. In Rouban.

3. Ministère de la fonction publique et de la réforme de l'Etat.
Fonction publique: faits et chiffres 2003. La Documentation
française, Paris, 2004.

4. In Elgie, p.138.

5. For an international comparison of higher civil service, see Mukherjee
and Sundaram, 2005 (link to document).

6. From DGAFP 2003.  (For more recent figures, click HERE).

7. In Elgie p.147.

8. ECJ, case C-285/01 Isabel Burbaud v Ministère de l'Emploi et de
la Solidarité, September 9, 2003. Available on

Contents of this page have been prepared by Blandine Bouniol, consultant, and Catherine Laurent, Senior Public Sector Management Specialist, MNSED (November 2005).

Civil Service & Change

French Administrative Traditions