Published our First Report on the Rating of Municipalities

Our book “How to make Public Administrations efficient and transparent – First Report on Municipalities between commonplaces and surprises” has just been published (Rubbettino Editore).

The following is the preface written by Giovanni Bazoli.

The Report on the Public Rating of Municipalities is a journey through the stereotypes and long-standing problems facing Italian Municipalities. A journey that can present amusing traits, but it is always attentive to identifying data and informing citizens, as it is aimed more at improving the public machine at its various levels than at the facts.

One of the main merits of the Report is that of being able to reconcile the point of view of the employee with that of the citizen, thanks to a language that is simple and at the same time rigorous, because it is based on data and information processed with a scientific method. This is an innovative approach, which starts from an evidence that is too often ignored in Italy: even today a complete photograph of the PA universe is missing and therefore, before a therapy, a diagnosis is necessary.

This is what the Public Rating is trying to do, what the Report is based on, analyzing not only the balance sheet data of the Municipalities, as the Ratings of International Agencies do, but also qualitative data, such as governance, personnel management, the services offered, the transparency and integrity of tenders management, environmental sustainability. A complete analysis of Municipalities, which, unlike the existing ones, does not focus on partial aspects such as the economic-financial profile or the environment, nor on the perception and appreciation of the local community.

Another innovative aspect of the Public Rating is the adoption of a point of view that has so far been neglected: that of the stakeholders of the Public Administration. These are mainly citizens and businesses, to be considered not only users, but also “financiers” of the public machine through tax collection. In an age of progressive decrease of public resources, the PAs have the duty to account for how much they spend and, above all, for how and for what they spend. Transparency is not enough: it is necessary for Municipalities to learn to account for their work, based on the concept of accountability without whose implementation it will be impossible to reconstruct the trust towards the Institutions and oppose the climate of growing anti-politics.

The Report contributes to achieving this change of pace by providing stakeholders with a concrete tool to get to know their Municipality, to know how it works and, above all, to carry out that sort of widespread monitoring on the prevention of corruption through which recent regulations have wished to support the work of the Anac, In other words, the Public Rating is a tool for effective and positive participation, through which citizens can move from sterile criticism on bureaucracy to constructive proposals and the sharing of public decisions.

The Report is also a useful tool for the Administrations: through a ranking of the selected Municipalities, a benchmark is identified, that is a first classified to be taken as a model. The ultimate goal is to trigger a mechanism of incentives/disincentives that rewards the most virtuous Municipalities and penalizes the non-compliant ones. Only in this way can the spending review, evoked intermittently in our country, avoid linear cuts and finally be set on meritocratic criteria.

In this way, the Report contributes to creating healthy reputational competition between local Administrations, both by comparing the respective level of transparency, performance and prevention of corruption, and by highlighting the points on which each Administration must intervene to improve, also in view of the next annual Report.

Finally, the great passion for the “public” that emerges from the pages of the Report is a counter-trend: the creators of the Public Rating, even before being evaluators of the public machine, are firm supporters. Without it – they repeat – no social inclusion and no economic development will be possible: citizens must, therefore, expect the public machine to work and spend their money well, thereby returning the word “public” its original meaning which, according to the Constitution, it is to pursue the common good.

Link for purchase