If you work in the private sector, you probably don't know, but to travel, public servants need a mission order. And to have their expenses reimbursed, they must submit a duly completed request, submitted to a very precise calculation engine. These formalities, which are essential to the smooth running of the State, can take up a lot of time in their schedules, as well as in the schedules of their colleagues who work in human resources or accounting.
The Loir-et-Cher departmental council has made this process smoother, thanks to the implementation of a collaborative tool replacing the old 100% paper system.
"We wanted to decentralize, dematerialize and automate the management of our agents' travel," explains Séverine Perronnet, project manager at the Loir-et-Cher departmental council. "To achieve this triple objective, the best solution was to set up a travel expenses management tool and then a portal accessible to all stakeholders.” And with 1 800 agents in the field, automation can effectively represent substantial savings!
The Loir-et-Cher community has several major responsibilities: the social aspect, of course, with care for the disabled, the elderly, families in difficulty, social assistance for children and access to employment. But the departmental council is also involved in the maintenance and development of roads and manages the non-teaching staff, buildings and IT tools of high schools. It also undertakes actions to promote culture and local tourism. In the IT department, 25 professionals work to ensure good working conditions for their colleagues, from reprography to mobile telephones, as well as the tablets allocated to 200 fully mobile staff.
"Gfi Informatique suggested that we build a tool dedicated to agents in order to manage their missions and travel expenses," adds Séverine Perronnet. “No more going back and forth in the corridors, signature books or paper-based mail. Today, the agent connects to the agents’ portal of the travel expenses management tool, both before and after their mission. They can follow the evolution of their requests through the different levels of validation and can scan all the necessary documents themselves. They are informed as soon as their mission order is ready or their expenses are reimbursed."
The implementation of the new tool went through an intermediate stage in 2015, during which the agents sent their paper forms to the HR department, which then took over in semi-centralized mode. But quickly, in the autumn of 2016, the team chose to develop a simpler, more intuitive interface, which it was able to deploy directly with the professionals concerned. Family assistants were the first users.
"Our agents do not need to identify themselves because they are already connected to the network, and in principle they do not need training because the online experience has been simplified as much as possible. Ultimately, the most complicated remains the regulatory part: for example, ‘how many kilometers am I limited to if I use my personal vehicle?’ But these regulations do not depend on the tool. We can only facilitate their application; and this is one of our main objectives, along with time saving."
The HR department put a hotline in place, i.e. two people in the HR department who can be contacted by telephone every morning. "In view of the questions they are asked, we can confirm that the new tool is being used without too much difficulty. The difficulties encountered are essentially of a regulatory nature." says Séverine Perronnet.
The agent portal of the travel expenses management tool was quickly converted to a responsive design for tablets; and it will very shortly have the same advantage on smartphones for the validation missions and expenses. "I am particularly satisfied with the quality of my interactions with Gfi Informatique," concludes Séverine Perronnet. “We have maintained regular contact with the Gfi team in Reims and have created good team spirit, allowing us to move forward in a serious manner."
It is very possible that this project will be emulated, as departmental councils regularly share their best practices. In the meantime, the Loir-et-Cher agents are among the most modern in France; and their CSR and intranet are also being overhauled.