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Evaluating complex interventions : the case of the Animation of Social Life policy

Projects holders:

  • Virginie GIMBERT (CNAF, DSER)
    Virginie Gimbert is head of the research and scientific development department at the Caisse nationale des allocations familiales. She's a doctor in sociology, and her work focuses on public action and social issues. In particular, she has produced (or contributed to) a number of reports on health policies, dependency care, adapting to ageing and encouraging physical activity and sport, for France Stratégie and the Haut conseil à l'avenir de l'assurance maladie.

Research team:  

    Cécile Ensellem is a doctor in sociology and in charge of research and evaluation at the Department of Statistics, Studies and Research (DSER) of the Caisse nationale des allocations familiales (Cnaf), responsible for the Territorialisation of Public Policies, Childhood and Youth themes. Her sociology thesis published by Presses universitaires de Rennes in 2001, Naître sans mère? Accouchement sous X et Filiation analysed the socio-political debates surrounding births under X as revealing representations of the family and the individual. Before joining Cnaf, she worked as a researcher (including a post-doctorate), consultant (for consultancies, Injep and local authorities) and head of a network of associations (the national federation of schools for parents and educators). Her career is structured around four activities: research and action research, evaluation, training and project support. Her books and articles focus on public policies and professional practices in the field of social action. In particular, she has published an exploratory study in the Dossiers d'étude de la Cnaf on the evaluation of the effects of social activity structures and an evaluation of departmental family services plans.

  • Corentin PECOT

  • Héloïse LUCAS

  • Saad LOUTFI (CNAF, DSER). 
    Saad Loutfi is a graduate of EDHEC with a specialisation in applied economics from the Norwegian School of Economics. He is currently in charge of research and evaluation in the Department of Statistics, Studies and Research (DSER) at the Caisse Nationale d'Allocations Familiales (CNAF). 

    Specialising in quantitative methods for evaluating public policies, his work focuses on various social and family policies implemented by the CNAF. In particular, he has contributed to the ISAJE project, which aims to evaluate the effect of obtaining a nursery place on children's development using a randomised allocation algorithm, and to the RELIANCE project, which aims to evaluate an intensive support programme for single parents on long-term RSA benefits using a randomised controlled trial.


Caisse Nationale des Allocations Familiales

Project description: 

In partnership with the Cnaf (Caisse Nationale des Allocations Familiales / National Family Allowance Fund), LIEPP works towards the design and implementation of an evaluation of the AVS (Animation de la Vie Sociale / Animation of Social Life) policy. 

The AVS policy aims to promote social inclusion and socialisation, the development of social links and social cohesion in local areas, the assumption of responsibility by users and the development of local citizenship. Guided by the CAFs (Family Allowance Funds) at departmental level, this range of social services is delivered through local structures, such as social centres and social living spaces. 

As stated in the agreement on objectives and management (2018-2022) between the French State and Cnaf, the evaluation of the policy of animation of social life aims to "better appreciate and qualify the contributions of the sector and the action of actors, partners in this field of intervention in terms of social investment" ( Convention d'objectifs de gestion entre l'Etat et la Cnaf. 2018-2022. Family branch).

The animation of social life is recognised as a complex intervention: It is based on a common framework set by the Cnaf and the CAFs, which is sufficiently flexible to respond locally to heterogeneous territorial diagnoses, giving rise to a landscape of highly varied configurations. In fact, the very issues at stake in this public action are not easy to untangle, and analysing its effects and impacts is particularly tricky.  

The LIEPP-Cnaf partnership therefore aims to define a methodological framework that workds with  complex subjects, making it possible to evaluate the animation of social life policy and to produce results that are both scientifically valid and useful to those involved in the AVS. 

The aim of working on the case of the animation of social life policy is therefore to enable the two partners, LIEPP and Cnaf, to gain more general skills in the development and use of specific evaluation tools adapted to complex interventions. To this end, methodological reflection will be deepened at every stage of the project.