Éric Ardouin was National Representative of BEST from January 2016 to October 2017.
Interviewed in November 2016.
What is the purpose of the BEST network?
BEST is a place where colleagues can talk freely and openly, focusing mainly on managerial or institutional issues. The informal nature of the network allows this freedom and, precisely because it is not institutional, it owes its long existence to the satisfaction that the participants derive from it. This is the best proof that the discussions are interesting and fruitful.
How do you address the different topics?
For the most part, we focus on developments that are beyond our control. We talk a lot about how we adapt our organizations to legislative changes affecting local and regional authorities. On several occasions we have discussed the rise of the digital economy and the sharing economy, which are beginning to impact our organizations and our relationships with local people. Those around the table are attentive to changes in the local environment and they wonder how best to respond.
What do you learn from the European benchmark?
The European dimension is one of the specificities of the BEST network. It allows us to step outside our specifically French concerns and gain a new perspective on our way of doing things. Is there really a French exception? The problems we encounter are the same in other European countries. There are certainly differences in the proposed solutions, but none of them are perfect and we are all looking for the optimal institutional organization.
What lies ahead for BEST?
We always learn a lot from the talks by our European colleagues. We are therefore tempted take the discussion further by going outside of France to see for ourselves. But, of course, our current mode of operation, which allows us to (re) discover a French city at every meeting, is also of great interest!