The BRGM's expert appraisals are conducted to provide clients, in response to their requests, with interpretations, opinions or recommendations. These expert studies are conducted on the basis of available knowledge and demonstrations, and accompanied by objective judgments founded on the best applicable practice.
As the French national geological survey, the BRGM applies its expertise to all of its fields of activity in the geosciences: geology and knowledge of the subsurface, groundwater management, risks and spatial planning, mineral resources and the circular economy, subsurface potential for the energy transition, digital data, services and infrastructure.
The BRGM’s conduct of expert appraisals is governed by the AFNOR NF X 50-110 standard. This is fully integrated into the BRGM quality management system, which has received ISO 9001 certification.
The beneficiaries of BRGM expertise
As part of its activities to support public policy development, carries out its expert evaluations as assistance to the Administration and to the services in charge of water policing. It also carries out third-party expertises concerning classified facilities for environmental protection, as well as expert evaluations of sites, situations, and various files and documents. BRGM can be mobilised for contributing collective scientific expertise, at the request of the public authorities and according to the regulations in force.
Any entity, whether French or foreign, institution or legal entity under public or private law, can ask BRGM to carry out an expert evaluation on a subject of its choice. This entity assumes all costs inherent at this request. A formal contract is then drawn up between BRGM and the beneficiary of the expertise.
BRGM is free not to answer a request, in particular when this creates a conflict with its mission with the public authorities. It notifies its decision of refusal.
General organisation of expertise work at BRGM
Expert-evaluation work is an integral part of the Quality Management System (QMS) of BRGM that has an ISO 9001-2008 certification. In addition to the general practice of the QMS, a specific set of texts is dedicated to governing the practice of the expertise, which is made available to BRGM staff.
An "expertise delegation" represents BRGM to outside instances dealing with expertise and the internal governance of expertise activity.
BRGM has set up a procedure for examining requests for expertise, which ensures that the client receives a rapid answer.
Designation of staff involved
The BRGM hierarchy establishes the forecast budget and planning for the expertise, and designates the interveners, based on the required competence and scientific disciplines as well as the degree of complexity of the subject. Their qualifications are communicated as detailed CVs to the client at his request. If necessary, BRGM will enlist the competences of outside experts.
All expertise will be governed by a contractual link discussed between the client and BRGM. This link can take on different formats: standardized forms for expertise work related to assisting local or central government departments, or specific contracts for third-party and other expert evaluations.
Carrying out the expertise
The expertise is carried out under the authority of a designated person. Outside regular advice given to the Administration, it is carried out as individual projects within the framework of the QMS. The confidentiality of the data provided by the client and of all files and information generated by the expert-evaluation work is governed by the terms of the contract.
Product of an expertise
The product of an expertise is a report. Its issue follows a validation process that guarantees the client its conformity in terms of the question asked. This process ensures the client of BRGM’s commitment to the answers provided. Barring specific legal, regulatory or contractual provisions, the final report is made public by BRGM.
General ethical principles underlying expert-evaluation work at BRGM
- An expertise aims at impartiality, reliability, and methodological transparency.
- The product of an expertise should allow its beneficiary to arrive at a clearer decision.
- The beneficiary benefits from BRGM’s knowledge in its fields of competence.
- BRGM binds itself to a duty of loyalty toward the beneficiaries of its expertise work.
- Before concluding an expertise contract, BRGM ensures itself of the conditions under which all parties concerned by the expertise will be associated; the ways and means of their implication or information will be determined by the party requesting the expertise.
- BRGM informs the parties interested in an expertise of the possible links between the subject of the expertise or the beneficiary on the one hand, and BRGM staff on the other hand, which might compromise their neutrality.
- Where the expert-evaluation work is subject to internal or external pressures that might adversely affect its quality, the work can be suspended.
- BRGM staff working on an expertise refuses all personal advantages or payments from the beneficiary of the expertise, or from any other third party.
BRGM charter on expert appraisals
The BRGM has adopted a charter on expert appraisals whereby it states its undertakings on the quality of expert appraisals delivered to its public and private partners.
The purpose of the charter is to:
- specify the different types of expert appraisals proposed by the BRGM,
- provide information to potential beneficiaries of BRGM expertise,
- guarantee the quality of expert appraisals by providing them with a coherent framework and clear organisational structure.
This BRGM charter applies the provisions of the National Charter on Expert Appraisals adopted by the Ministry of Research. The BRGM decided to adopt all 10 of its articles.
Public partners, local authorities: BRGM in support of public policy development
BRGM's public policy development support activity covers all the expert appraisals, monitoring and studies conducted in support of public policies.