The Different Forms of Supervision Between Administrative Function and Organization

By Marco Antonioli

The term “supervision” has been used in national legal acts for some
time, and to an increasing extent. In the past, several scholars of administrative
law have resorted to such a formulation. However, its content was not (is
still not) easily identifiable. Originally, in a context shared with autarchy,
supervision concerned the reports on bureaucratic decentralization, including
the controls exercised by the State over the action of Municipalities and
Provinces. It then evolved, becoming “informative”, “regulative” or “inspective”,
as occurred in the legal framework on credit and savings. Consequently,
this particular form of interference also developed in the relations between
the relevant Ministry and the public bodies for business activities, through the
use of directives. The supervisory function then went on to affect the pursuit
of activities of private law having fundamental public interest, thus ensuring
the autonomy of the supervised bodies. It is precisely this guarantee that
appears to be at the core of the supervisory function, despite its fragmented
articulation, correlated to the different degrees of autonomy granted to the
entity subjected to interference. This framework contains, in addition to
foundations (especially banking foundations), chambers of commerce, port
authorities, social security institutions, universities and professional associations.
Therefore, the development of the function is enhanced by the diffusion,
especially in recent times, of independent administrative authorities, that hold
powers defined as neutral. Supervision has thus had to combine with regulation
in a space dominated by European Union law. European Supervisory
Authorities (ESAs) are, therefore, the result of a “common supervisory
culture,” that appears largely to be as yet in its gestational phase