« La Transfo » : changing the work of public agents to transform public action

Posted on 3 January 2019 par Sylvine Bois-Choussy


The French National Agency for the Improvement of Working Conditions recently invited us to contribute to the winter issue of its “Review of Working Conditions”, devoted to the transformations of work in public administration. Through about twenty articles, the aim is to shed light on the profound transformations that the public sector is currently undergoing in terms of context and organization of work for public agents.



This is the opportunity for us to make a first assessment of our experimental program La Transfo (still ongoing in Lille, Strasbourg and Metz) from the perspective of its impact on the work of agents. Initiated in 2011, La Transfo aims to support a group of local goverments in the prefiguration of their innovation lab. In doing so, it raises major questions concerning practices, cultures and working conditions in public organizations: how to equip our administrations and their agents to enable them to reinvent their ways of doing things? How to infuse a culture of “doing” that is both more motivating for agents and bring them closer to the users?

Between a learning programme, the experimentation of new methods and tools, and a collective experience in transversality and project mode, La Transfo is a program that brings meaning and emancipation for the agents involved. It is a recognition of their experience (and of the expertise that results from it), but also of their frustrations as well as their sense of public action, beyond the strict respect of existing procedures. It is a call, in an experiemental therefore protected framework, to a working culture based on trust and cooperation, on the mobilization of internal resources and the development of the capacities of the agents, whatever their function and their category, so that they can contribute to the future evolution of their organization.

It also offers the opportunity for them to take a step back and think in a collective manner about their practices, their role and the functioning of their administration, sometimes not smoothly. Experience shows that a structuring process of innovation can not be carried out without a parallel questioning on the evolution of the management, at the risk of discrediting durably this type of approach, and even to generate new psycho-social risks …

Finally, La Transfo draws an evolution of the profiles and professions wihtin public adminsitrations, inviting to reintroduce pluridisciplinarity and transversality in a rather homogeneous universe.

These are just some of the first lessons detailed in this article, which we will not fail to explore and complete in the coming months, with more of a retreat on the real and lasting evolutions in the communities that finished their Transfo in 2018.   


Download the full article (in French), or the review here: https://www.anact.fr/les-transformations-du-travail-dans-la-fonction-publique-experimentations-et-perspectives-de