The “Inspection Générale des Affaires Sociales” (“General inspectorate for social affairs” or IGAS) is the office of the French government in charge of audit, evaluation and inspection for health, social security, and social care ; in addition to employment and labour policies, programs and services.
Established in 1967, IGAS is responsible for oversight of the €800 billion portfolio of the French Ministries of Labor, Social Affairs and Health’s programs, operations and services. IGAS has jurisdiction over all institutions, whether public (governmental, regional and local authorities, agencies, joint commissions, etc.) or private (companies, NGOs and charities, etc.), if they receive public funding or appeal to public generosity.
Approximately 130 professionals from diverse backgrounds work for IGAS (graduates from INSP - formerly ENA, hospital managers, labour administration officers, medical doctors, pharmacists, engineers…), with expertise in law, economics, public policies, technology, medicine, strategy, management and administration. 45% of IGAS professionals are women.
IGAS is an essential source of information and advice for the Government in the area of social policy. It is also one of the most trusted sources of expertise in France for all public and private stakeholders. The mission statement of IGAS is to support systemic improvements, improve compliance and implementation in the field of social services on top of delivering general guidance in this area IGAS identifies opportunities to improve budget management and the efficiency and effectiveness of social policy programs, services and government decision-making.
IGAS reports to the ministers of health, social affairs and labor about program and management issues as well as any difficulties regarding public policies and recommendations. IGAS may also be consulted and tasked with specific missions by the Prime Minister and other ministers (for example : ministers of housing, urban policy, immigration and civil service).
Key areas of intervention include : health, social security (pensions, health insurance, etc), social care, poverty reduction, children in care, labor and employment, vocational training, public management and public sector strategy and management.
Main types of interventions include : audits, evaluations, consulting, inspections, disciplinary actions, support to high-level personalities and/or committees as well as interim management.
IGAS is also in charge of managing :
- the inspection and control of the field offices of the health, social and labor ministries ;
- the European funds audit office ;
- the occupational health service of the health, social and labor ministries.
To achieve its assignments, IGAS has developed a comprehensive and effective quality audit, evaluation, and inspection methodology which consists of meetings and investigations based on documented evidence and on-site reviews. It is conducted over several weeks by teams of experts who are in charge of writing the report. Subsequent peer review of the analysis and recommendations of the report is also included in the process as well as a parallel procedure involving the audited party for some reports.
The independence of IGAS professionals is protected when they write their reports.
IGAS operates an internal ethics committee for dealing with possible conflicts of interest.
Since 1967, around 6 500 assignments have been fulfilled in the different areas of intervention. Between 2019 and 2022, 250 reports have been published on the IGAS website (www.igas.gouv.fr).
Recent reports of interest (please click to read the executive summary in English) :
End-of-service leave for truck drivers
Review of socio-fiscal expenditures in favor of family policy
Apprentices in higher education
Hospital supply and care for psychiatric patients
Vouchers for sustainable food supply
Pediatrics and the organization of child health care in France
Audit of the management of the risks of conflicts of interest in the national administration
Health product supply vulnerabilities
Evolution of the nursing profession and training
Organized cancer screening in France
The costs of managing public pension schemes
Certification of State diplomas in social work by decentralized State services
Continuing education in the public hospital service
Means and governance of environmental health policy
Inspection of the Marseille IHU (managed by professor Didier Raoult)
Control of the ORPEA group (largest private nursing home operator in France)
Since its establishment, the international dimension of IGAS has played a significant role. IGAS has been involved in benchmarking reports and other international assignments for the French government. IGAS staff have also been cooperating with international expertise missions for bilateral and international agencies and organizations such as AFD, Expertise France, ILO, WHO, the World Bank, and CIPRES.
Reports including a strong international dimension are as follows (please click to read the executive summary in English) :
2002. Supervision and control of outpatient medicine - comparative administration study : Germany, England, United States, Netherlands
2004. The financing of trade unions : a comparative study of administration
2004. Age management and employment policies in the European Union
2007. Elements of international comparison on the management of arduous work
2007. Support services and benefits for jobseekers : international comparisons (Sweden, the Netherlands, United Kingdom)
2009. International comparison of complementary health coverage
2013. The professional equality policy in France - elements of comparison with Quebec, Belgium and Sweden
2020. Reform of support for the family and social reintegration of former migrants in their country of origin (ARFS)
2022. Structuring an academic field in global health
2022. International mobility of apprentices in Europe
2023 (forthcoming). Comparison of Public employment services (PES) in Europe