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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –
Source: Canton of Neuchatel Switzerland
Thanks to the additional control carried out recently by the cantonal social assistance office on the site of the social service of the City of La Chaux-de-Fonds, it was possible to define and quantify the damage caused to the harmonized social bill. A first amount of 1.4 million francs will be charged to the City as part of the closing of the 2020 accounts; a second residual amount will be the subject of an in-depth treatment in 2021. It should be noted that the situation of the service has improved markedly since the check carried out in May 2019, reflecting the efforts made by the City to restore its proper functioning .
While the social assistance authorities are the responsibility of the municipalities, the role of the Department of the Economy and Social Action (DEAS), through its cantonal social assistance office (ODAS), consists of advising and monitoring regional social services (SSR). In particular, the law entrusts it with the task of examining and controlling the management of SSR files and accounts, as well as of distributing costs between the State and the municipalities (harmonized social bill).
Since the harmonization of the social bill in 2015, expenses related to social assistance benefits have been included in a common pot with those of other social benefits (study grants, LAMal subsidies, etc.) and distributed to 60 % payable by the State and 40% payable by all municipalities, in proportion to their population.
Problem of the municipal social action service of La Chaux-de-Fonds Within the framework described above, the social service of La Chaux-de-Fonds was subject to an on-site check in spring 2019. This This turned out to be problematic in several ways: various dysfunctions were highlighted and a significant volume of non-compliant expenditure was detected.
In view of these findings, the need to further deepen this control has become apparent. In addition, as the supervisory authority, the DEAS demanded from the City of La Chaux-de-Fonds the immediate implementation of a plan to resolve the problems detected with the aim, on the one hand, of restoring the proper functioning of the social service in strict compliance with cantonal standards and, on the other hand, retroactively correcting detected problems considered to be correctable.
Throughout 2020, the DEAS remained in very regular contact with the City, in order to ensure that the resolution plan validated during the second half of 2019 was implemented in accordance with the terms set, despite the related difficulties. to the pandemic. The additional on-site control, operated by ODAS in September and October 2020, made it possible to take stock of the social service situation and to explore the issue of losses generated to the detriment of the social bill. This check thus confirmed that the decisions taken by the authorities of La Chaux-de-Fonds concerning the organization of the service have borne fruit. In-depth corrections were made in 2020 on many major and problematic points in the management of social assistance cases, which the 1st ODAS control had highlighted. While some aspects have yet to be addressed and improvements are still needed, the changes being made are significant and the service is clearly on track to “raise the bar”.
In addition, the findings established by the ODAS concerning the scope and quantification of damage resulting from past malfunctions of the SSR of La Chaux-de-Fonds were the subject of discussions with the city authorities and detailed information. to the Council of State, to the DEAS management sub-committee as well as to the Social Billing Council, allowing the DEAS to take a final decision on this subject.
Three types of damage identified During the past year, the SSR of La Chaux-de-Fonds worked to resolve the problem of the rents of beneficiaries paid twice over the years 2015 and 2016. If part of the amounts unduly paid have been recovered , a sum of 191,000 francs has not yet been recovered; it will be charged to the City when closing the Social Bill 2020. The cumulative amount for 2017 and subsequent years will be detailed in the context of operations still carried out by the SSR; the portion that will not be recovered by the end of next year will be charged to the City when closing the 2021 social bill.
For other “non-compliant expenses” (material aid costs that do not comply with strict compliance with cantonal guidelines), a full retrospective examination is not materially feasible. On the basis of the files examined, the damage to the detriment of the social bill which cannot be corrected subsequently was estimated at 460,000 francs. This amount will be taken out of the 2020 social bill and charged solely to the City of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Finally, concerning the files closed by the SSR of La Chaux-de-Fonds and which still have to be reimbursed by various debtor sources (“litigation files”), the irrecoverable damage resulting from the insufficient follow-up by the service was estimated at 790,950 francs. This amount will be taken out of the social bill when the 2020 accounts are closed and will be the sole responsibility of the City of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
In total, therefore, an amount of 1,441,950 francs will be charged to the City during the 2020 closing, to which will be added to the 2021 closing the residual amount relating to double rents. These amounts decrease the overall burden of the social bill.
New control and information report in perspective In its role of supervisory authority for SSRs and guarantor of the proper functioning of the harmonized social bill, the DEAS takes a severe look at the dysfunctions that have occurred within the SSR of La Chaux-de- Funds. However, he is satisfied that the La Chaux-de-Fonds municipal council has confirmed its agreement with the decision taken by the DEAS to prevent the state and other municipalities from suffering financial damage. And he is especially delighted that the measures taken at his request have enabled the City to re-establish healthy management of the social service that meets expectations.
A new on-site check will be carried out by ODAS in the course of 2021, in order to ensure that the management of social assistance in this SSR now falls within an acceptable framework and accepted by all. In addition, an information report will be sent to the Grand Council during the first quarter of 2021, in order to come back to this file in more detail.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.
MIL Translation OSI