The Protocol department is responsible for preparing and accompanying Presidential journeys outside France, together with bilateral and multilateral summit meetings attended by the President. It also organizes the visits to France of Heads of State and Government and very important persons, as well as national commemorations, the New Year ceremonies, presentations of diplomats' credentials, and all official events and receptions held at the instigation of the French President. The department provides answers to questions of etiquette and precedence. Under the authority of the Chief of Protocol, the department is staffed by diplomats seconded to the President's Office for the above purposes.
Finance and personnel
This department performs two series of functions: first, it is responsible for execution of the budget (revenues and expenditures) of the President's Office, and for keeping the accounts of these operations. This department is also responsible for the administration of civilian staff of the President's Office.
This department is staffed by France Télécom personnel and is responsible for three areas:
- The technical centre installs and maintains telecommunications and video equipment in all Presidential residences.
- The operations centre is responsible for operating the switchboards and telegraphy unit at the Office of the President.
- The general affairs centre places orders for lines and equipment.
Archives and documentation
This department is responsible for maintaining papers transmitted to it by the French President and his staff. At the end of each Presidential term, the department hands over these papers to the National Archives, where they become available for public consultation after 60 years.
The department also administers the Elysée Palace library. In this capacity, it facilitates the conduct of documentary or historical research on behalf of the President's staff.
The department is headed by a Curator of the National Heritage, and has a staff of 8.
The Office of the President uses more than 500 computers, linked either in local area networks (LANs), or to departmental servers or a mainframe. The computers are used for office purposes, administration (inventories, pay, accounting, etc.). Some computers are used for applications more specific to the work of the Office of the President (Presidential correspondence, archives, design and printing, Palace entrances, etc.). The computer department is responsible for maintaining these computers in proper working order.
This department serves as a link between the President of the Republic, the French citizens and foreign correspondents who write him by e-mail or by post. It is responsible for preparing answers to the letters sent by elected officials, non-profit associations and private citizens in the form of requests or opinions. It keeps the President closely informed about the observations and concerns of his correspondents through periodic memos.
President Chirac received 1 216 677 letters between the date of his inauguration on May 17, 1995 and December 31, 2000.
The catering department organizes official receptions at the Elysée Palace, the accommodation of foreign Heads of State in official residences, and receptions on the occasion of official visits by the French President in France or abroad. The catering department organizes the private catering arrangements of the French President. It is also responsible for contracting with the various suppliers to the Office of the President.
Working closely with the Grande Chancellerie de la Légion d'honneur, the department of official decorations is responsible for applying the Head of State's policies in this regard.
It contributes to the preparation of honours lists for the two national orders (the Légion d'honneur and the Ordre du Mérite), and corresponds with the various persons concerned.
The French President is the Grand Master of the Ordre de la Légion d'honneur and of the Ordre national du mérite.
Administration and preservation of the Presidential residences
This department is seconded to the Office of the President by the Ministry of Culture. It is responsible for managing the estates and the preservation of the Presidential residences, including the buildings and collections deposited therein by the Mobilier national (furnishings), the Manufacture de Sèvres (porcelain), the Musées nationaux and the Fonds national d'art contemporain (artworks).
It is also responsible for material aspects of the organization of events attended by the Head of State.
This department collaborates with the other departments concerned and with the Ministry of Culture in the administrative and financial control of negotiated contracts, amenities and for other works and services.
The day-care centre was opened in October 1985 for the children of the staff of the French President and personnel of the Office of the President. It is located in a separate building and is staffed by qualified personnel.
The day-care centre is open to parents throughout the day, according to their needs.
The medical unit
The medical unit of the Office of the President is run by the Armed Services medical corps. The medical staff plans the medical logistics for official visits by the French President and accompanies him when he travels.
The audiovisual department was set up in 1984 and is responsible for compiling audiovisual archives on magnetic and audio media, and for producing a daily review of radio and TV broadcasts for internal use. The department also compiles an audiovisual library of the main national broadcasts, for consultation by the staff of the Head of State during a specified period. It assists the heads of broadcasting channels on the occasion of official journeys by the Head of State.
Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République (GSPR - Presidential Security Unit)
The GSPR was set up by decree of January 5, 1983 to provide close personal protection for the French President in France and when he travels abroad. It is staffed by members of the Police and the Gendarmerie.
Service de Protection des Hautes Personnalités (SPHP - VIP protection department)
The SPHP is responsible for devising measures pertaining to the general security and material organization of official journeys by the French President in France and abroad.