ANSES has signed its first ‘goals and performance’ contract with the French State
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News of 01/03/2013
On 26 February 2013, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) signed its first goals and performance contract (COP ) for the period 2012-2015 with the French government, represented by the Ministers of Agriculture, the Budget, Consumer Affairs, Ecology, Health and Labour.
The contract with the government is designed to consolidate the new Agency's previously distinct missions of scientific watch, expert appraisal, research and reference in terms of strategic priorities. It identifies three main guidelines aimed at: (i) consolidating the Agency's cross-cutting, interdisciplinary activities in a global approach to counter risks to humans from the environment, including the occupational environment; (ii) reinforcing vigilance schemes in order to rapidly detect weak signs and emerging risks; (iii) adapting the scope of intervention of its laboratories so as to address changing health risks affecting animals, plants and the entire food chain.
The contract also sets ambitious goals in terms of effectiveness, by attempting to optimise all of the Agency’s internal processes.
Following its approval at the end of 2012 by the Agency’s Board of Administrators, a goals and performance contract has just been signed by ANSES and the French government. It covers the period from 2012 to 2015 and brings ANSES’s missions (scientific watch, surveillance and vigilance; expert appraisal and risk assessment; reference and research; information and communication) into line with the major public health policies in which it plays a role: France’s Occupational Health Plans (PST ), environmental health (national environment round-table and the French National Environment and Health Action Plan, or PNSE ), the National Health and Nutrition Plan (PNNS ), the National Food Plan (PNA ), a reduction in the use of plant protection products (Ecophyto) and antibiotics (Antibio 2017), reforming surveillance and preventive measures for protecting animal and plant health (National Consultation in the Health Sector), etc.
The contract mentions five major requirements that cut across the Agency’s different activities and spheres of competence, stipulating that it:
- be able to carry out its health and safety missions with advanced scientific appraisal and research activities,
- satisfy the requirements for independence, transparency and openness to all stakeholders, by maintaining tight control of its internal processes,
- develop the requisite knowledge and resources for maintaining a health watch and issuing warnings, especially regarding emerging risks (e.g. concerning nanomaterials, electromagnetic fields and endocrine disruptors),
- extend its participation and influence on European and international levels,
- increase its effectiveness, especially by developing cross-disciplinary actions.
The COP then sets 33 goals, grouped to match the different activities, namely surveillance and early warning, risk assessment, granting marketing authorisations for veterinary medicinal products, running reference laboratories, carrying out research, and disseminating information in support of the Agency’s core activities.
In order to track progress in attaining these objectives, the contract specifies 22 indicators and 12 milestones, among which:
- the time necessary for processing reports concerning nutritional vigilance; formal requests for Opinions and processing of files from industry on regulated products (plant protection products, biocides and veterinary medicinal products),
- observance of ethical requirements and, in particular, regular updating on the Internet of public declarations of interest,
- scientific production, measured by the number of scientific publications in international journals in categories A and A+,
- transparency and openness, measured by the number of meetings for informing stakeholders and discussing issues with them,
- the position of ANSES in Europe, measured by the proportion of dossiers for which France is the coordinating Member State in the field of veterinary medicine.
Each of the objectives set by the COP will be reviewed annually by the Board of Administrators.