Cronache amministrative 2012-2013

By D. Agus, B. Cimino, P. Cirielli, F. Di Cristina, C. Di Seri, B.G.M. Mattarella, V. Milani, M. Pacini


With regard to organization, a program of spending review involving all levels of government has been launched. In addition to this program interventions against corruption were also issued. In public finance, the process of reforming the accounting system has passed the milestone of the constitutional reform on the balanced budget. With regard to public goods, measures of rationalization, enhancement of value and of disposal of properties have been adopted.

As for the rules applying to administrative proceedings, their modifications have produced limited effects: administrative activities performed by private bodies must show the same level of protection as those performed by public bodies; a rule imposing abstention in case of conflicts of interest was introduced; the preliminary decisional meeting between public administrations in cases of project financing is now mandatory; and the Commission for

the access to administrative documents was reorganized.

The Italian legislator has paid much attention in the public procurement sector, with various objectives: simplification, shorter procedure deadlines, transparency and cost reduction. As for «responsibility and audit», Decree-Law n. 174/2012 allowed the Italian Court of Auditors (Corte dei conti) to perform several new types of audit on local authorities. With respect to administrative justice, Decree-Law n. 160/2012 was issued to enhance the Code of Administrative Procedure. Moreover, several legislative measures have been approved to reduce local authorities’ public expenditure: an example is the rearrangement of the Provinces, along with the reduction of their functions.

In the area of public order and safety, the main interventions strengthened the Agency for Seized and Confiscated Assets, reorganized the Ministry of Defence, reduced in the number of courts and the length of proceedings, and contained prison overcrowding. In the welfare area, the principal initiatives included an extensive reform of the National Health Service (Sistema Sanitario Nazionale), a reform of the system for evaulating schools, and the introduction of a «purchase card». Between 2012 and 2013, also because of the unfortunate economic situation in Italy, the law governing labour and self-employment have received considerable attention from the legislator. The most important legal innovations aimed to rationalize the organization of and reduce corruption in the public sector, and to reduce unemployment in the private sector by incentivizing the creation of new jobs. Important innovations have also been introduced in the sector of culture and media, most significantly the reform of the university and research system. As for public works and the environment, urgent decrees have become the most frequently used regulatory tool in each sector, and especially in waste management issues.

In the area of public services, legislative and regulatory initiatives were numerous but often incoherent, as was the case with local public services; the efforts to liberalize public services were further intensified and special powers (also known as «golden powers») were granted by law to the Italian Government over undertakings that carry out strategically significant activities in the fields of energy, transport and communications. In the area of private finance, the main intervention concerned the establishment of the Institute for the Supervision of Insurance (Ivass).

In the public economy sector, the main interventions concern the promotion of production activities and of a higher level of competition in the market. Measures were also taken to simplify procedures in construction law. As for consumer protection, the most important intervention concerns the conferral, upon the Italian Antitrust Authority, of the power to intervene with regard to unfair terms in agreements between professionals and consumers.