The social and solidarity economy in the departmental competences
Kit departementalESS n°3
Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)
In connection with the renewal of departmental and regional executives in June 2021, the RTES is proposing a DepartmentalESS kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future teams wishing to support the social and solidarity economy (SSE).
This kit will include about twenty practical sheets, based on the principle of the MunicipalESS Kit published in 2020, illustrated with examples, and presenting in a synthetic and concrete way how a regional council can include the SSE in its policies.
Sheet No. 3 addresses the issue of departmental competencies.
Article L3211-1 of the CGCT specifies that: « [The departmental council] is competent to implement any aid or action relating to the prevention or management of situations of fragility, social development, the care of young children and the autonomy of individuals. It is also responsible for facilitating access to rights and services for the public for which it is responsible.
It is responsible for promoting solidarity and territorial cohesion in the department, while respecting the integrity, autonomy and powers of the regions and municipalities. « .
All levels of government are concerned by support for the social and solidarity economy, whose areas of action intersect with all public policies. Responsible public procurement is also a lever that can be used by all local authorities.
However, the NOTRe law of 7 August 2015 specifies several points:
The communes remain the only level of authority to retain the general clause of competence, i.e. a general capacity for intervention, without the need for the law to list its powers. Municipalities and EPCIs have the exclusive capacity to take initiatives in the area of aid for business real estate. The competence can be delegated to the department by agreement. Municipalities and inter-municipalities can enter into agreements with the regions to allocate other types of economic aid.
The departmental councils are a key player in the SSE, due to their competence in the area of human and territorial solidarity, and remain key players in this field, which combines the economy, social issues, general interest and territorial development.
The departmental councils cannot grant direct aid to companies. However, they can, in line with their competences, provide direct support to SSE actors on the non-economic aspect. They also have an important role in supporting the territories.
Regional councils draw up a regional economic development, innovation and internationalisation plan, which defines the guidelines for aid to businesses, support for internationalisation and aid for real estate investment and business innovation, as well as guidelines relating to the attractiveness of the regional territory and the development of the social and solidarity economy, based in particular on the proposals made during the regional conferences on the social and solidarity economy.
The actions of local authorities and their groupings in terms of aid to businesses must be compatible with the regional economic development, innovation and internationalisation plan.
The implementation of a SSE support policy can therefore be carried out at the regional level (mandatory), at the departmental level, at the intermunicipal level and at the municipal level. This policy can be formalised through the adoption of a scheme, a development plan, guidelines,…
Two characteristics of SSE policies
a policy co-constructed with local stakeholders (SSE network leaders, SSE stakeholders, residents, etc.)
a cross-cutting policy, as it concerns all thematic public policies. It is important to raise awareness of the SSE among all elected officials and departments, and working methods that allow for cross-cutting work can be implemented.
The importance of having an elected representative for the SSE
The experience of RTES local authorities shows that it is important to have a deputy or vice-president within the executive whose delegation explicitly refers to SSE, and departments with identified SSE competence.
The visibility of SSE in the technical and political organisation chart is an important dimension, both internally and externally to the community.
SSE actors can contribute to the policies implemented by the county councils, and the county councils have the possibility to support SSE actors. The diagram on the next page illustrates the main regional/departmental competences and the possible link with SSE.