Public Finance Data

The French Court of Auditors (Cour des Comptes) commits to strengthen the publication of financial courts’ data and to innovate in the way it interacts with civil society, in order to enable it to track public finance data [OGP 19].

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This commitment is specific, because it targets a concrete and sufficiently narrow anti-corruption mechanism: the “publication of financial courts’ data”. The commitment also states that it is connected to commitment 19 in the French OGP Action Plan 2018-2020, “Involving citizens further in the work carried out by the Cour des Comptes”.[1]

[1] OGP, France National Action Plan 2018-2020, p.54,

The commitment does not explicitly state clear measurable actions. However, since it relates to commitment 19 in the French OGP Action Plan 2018-2020, it is possible to identify more concrete and measurable actions relating to this commitment.

Last updated: 22 October 2022
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The Cour des Comptes is an independent institution in charge of auditing the French administration, public agencies and local governments (through the regional audit courts). It is the supreme body implementing and controlling the audits of public funds, and therefore has a crucial role in ensuring that funds are not embezzled and in guaranteeing the integrity of public actors.[1] The court has been publishing datasets since 2014, in particular on “the budgetary data on which the analysis of the execution of the State budget is based; whenever possible, the data underlying the Court’s thematic surveys, data underlying the work on local finances; specific data on the activities of the financial jurisdictions, in particular updating the list of the Court’s publications and the financial jurisdictions’ resources”.[2]

The commitment is measurable through actions promised in the roadmap of the French OGP Action Plan 2018-2020, commitment 19, “Involving citizens further in work carried out by the Cour des Comptes”.[3]

1.1  “Disseminating certain data resulting from work carried out by financial courts in opening data, reinforcing data quality and diversification requirements at the same time”. Fulfilled

By the end of 2021, the French Court Auditors had published 204 datasets on the platform. The number of publications was very high in the 2016-2018 period because the court published datasets from before 2014. After 2018, the variation corresponds with the published work of the court (there is no fixed number of studies or audits per year). [4]

1.2 The OGP Action Plan further lists several actions around how France plans to innovate in the way it interacts with civil society and enables civic actors to track public finance data.

a)             Organising open events.



The court organised open events to improve citizens’ access to public information and data. It ran two hackathons in June 2018[5] and January 2020, providing an opportunity for data specialists, developers, researchers, journalists and even curious citizens to take up challenges based on the financial data of local authorities – including the execution of local authority budgets, the impact of public policies on local finances, and financial relations between the state and local authorities.[6] The Cour des Comptes also co-organised a hackathon with the Ministry of Finance on local public finances in December 2021,[7] and ran an online public consultation in 2022, to fix its topics of control for the upcoming year.[8]

b)             Developing tools and applications facilitating reuse of data. Fulfilled

All datasets published by the court are available at with a built-in app.[9] Different tools have been published to facilitate the reuse of data. In 2018, the Cour des Comptes published on GitHub the source code of its financial analysis software OpenAnafi,[10] which automatically uses local authority accounting data to produce financial analysis grids.[11] This source code was crucial for civil society to understand how the financial analysis of the court was carried out.

In December 2021, the court published a dashboard of the state public finances.[12] According to official statistics on, most open datasets have never been reused.[13] However, it is difficult to assess reuse, because the platform only concerns re-usage which users post on the platform or studies published on it, which is unlikely to cover most cases.[14]

1.3 Further developing citizens’ interest in the court’s work, in accordance with the institution’s principles and procedures, by trying out new ways of informing and consulting citizens. Fulfilled

The court’s priority has been to increase communication on its outputs and activities. As a result, it has taken the following actions:

–   The court advertises all its reports in the media, issuing a press release after each publication. The financial jurisdictions received more than 27,000 items of print, audio-visual and online press coverage in 2020. Although this is 30 per cent less than in 2019, it is almost as much as the number of publications.[15]

–   The court has become active on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter.[16] It posts about the activities of the court’s first president and other court events. The social media accounts also inform users about new reports or other publications.

–   In April 2019, the court organised a one-day workshop on building a visualisation platform for online contributions by citizens to the Grand National Debate. Some 130 people gathered to design a platform to analyse and visualise the 14,000 online contributions mentioning France’s financial jurisdictions.[17]

This commitment is considered fulfilled. Also, the 2018-2020 OGP evaluation report assessed progress towards the commitment as “substantial”.[18]


Challenges to effective commitment implementation
Open data publication: The main challenges to publishing open data are the legal constraints, because data from audits comes from third parties, and the court is not authorised to publish it.[19] However, there is also a lack of an “open data culture” within the administration.[20]

Interaction with civil society: Public policy evaluations incur substantial cost, which prevents the court from launching more than two per year under its current budget.[21]

“Open-washing”: Despite attractive visuals, datasets are often limited “where the final beneficiaries are aggregated at too large a territorial scale and where the amounts allocated are not always specified”. Greater precision is necessary to move beyond a public communication tool to real proactive data transparency.[22]


Opportunities to accelerate commitment implementation
The premier opportunity to advance this engagement is through the 2025 Financial Jurisdiction roadmap, which has the publication of financial data at its core and contains the court’s action plan.[23]

  • Improve the use of datasets: The court is working on developing data visualisation platforms to increase the reuse of its data by journalists, academics and civil society.
  • Develop new publication formats and shorter, more engaging content, to increase the visibility of the court’s activities and its role in the public debate.
  • Publish all the reports: To date, only a third of reports have been published. This is partly due to secrecy around defence audits of military organisations, but also to the lack of an open-data culture within the administration.
  • Develop public policy evaluations that include a citizen panel: There has been an average of around two evaluations per year in the last 4-5 years.



  • Improve the quality of the datasets to foster their use by citizens: The court should keep in mind that datasets need to provide high-quality, structured and well-documented data if citizens are to use them. It should further ensure data is presented in a disaggregated form, to avoid “open-washing”.
  • Exhaustive publication of data and reports: This is already in the court’s 2025 action plan, and is crucial to achieving transparency.
  • Greater public policy evaluation involving citizens: The state should dedicate more resources to evaluation and citizen panels.
  • Increase cooperation with civil society: Involve more CSOs advocating for open data, such as Ouvre-Boîte and La Quadrature du Net, and take their recommendations into account when designing and implementing strategies, action plans and commitments.

[1] Cour des comptes,

[2] Cour des comptes, Public data,

[3] OGP, France National Action Plan 2018-2020, p.54,

[4] Open platform for French public data, Cour des comptes,

[5] Cour des comptes, Take part in the 1st #Datafin hackathon “Exploit public financial data”,

[6] Cour des comptes, 2nd edition of the #dataFin hackathon, dedicated to local finances,

[7] Direction générale des Finances publiques, Hackathon DGFiP x École 42,

[8] Platforme citoyenne, Thank you for contributing to our work programme,

[9] Open data catalog API –,

[10] Cour des comptes, News, The Court opens the source code of the OpenAnafi software,

[11] GitHub, Cour des comptes,

[12] Dashboard of State accounts,

[13], Cour des comptes,

[14] Interview with a representative from the NGO Ouvre-boîte, November 2021. L’Ouvre-boîte is an association whose purpose is to obtain the effective publication of administrative documents, and more particularly of data, databases and source codes, in accordance with the texts in force.

[15] Written answer to Transparency International questions to the Cour des Comptes, December 2021.

[16] Twitter, Cour des comptes, https ://

[17] Innovations in Eurasia, Newsletter, August 2019,

[18] OGP, France Transitional Results Report 2018-2020,

[19] Interview with Cour des comptes, November 2021.

[20] Cour des comptes, JF2025, The strategic project for financial jurisdictions,

[21] Interview with Cour des comptes, November 2021.

[22] Transparency International France, Position of Transparency France on France’s 2021-2023 commitments within the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP),

[23] Cour des comptes, JF2025, the strategic project for financial jurisdictions,