An excel sheet to stop rigged contracts
The relationship between Public Administration and companies is often associated by public opinion with news of bribes and rigged contracts. If it is true that the current procedures do not facilitate a healthy interaction between the two parties, it is also that greater transparency would be the most effective antidote.
In this context, transparency means that stakeholders are enabled to find answers to these few simple questions:
– How many supplies, jobs and professional services do the City assign by direct assignment procedure and how many with tender?
– Do tenders have names of companies awarded with an unusual contract?
– Are the supplier companies paid on time?
– Has the National Anti-Corruption Authority found irregularities?
If the data needed to answer these questions are not accessible, serious corruption prevention is unlikely.
At the moment, the only possible answer is to the third question. The decree 33/2013, in fact, with article 33 introduced the obligation to publish “annually, an indicator of its average payment times for purchases of goods, services and supplies, called Indicator of timeliness of payments” . Thanks to this simple rule, all the Municipalities of the sample have begun to disclose how long they can pay the suppliers.
So why not add the obligation to publish the information necessary to answer other questions? It would be sufficient for the Municipalities to publish an excel sheet containing information on the type of contract (tender or direct assignment), on the name of the assignee, on the amount of the tender and on the date of assignment.
All this, indeed, already constitutes an obligation to publish pursuant to decree 33/2013, which, in article 37, requires the PAs to publish “information relating to the procedures for the assignment of works and public works, services and “supplies. However, the implementation that was made by the Municipalities and the PAs in general is bleak.
Important steps forward were made with the legislative decree 33 of 2013, the so-called “transparency decree”, with the law n. 190 of 2012 on anti-corruption policies, but it is only with the legislative decree n.97 of 2016 that prevention of corruption and transparency have been explicitly related, to the point that the Transparency Plan becomes an integral part of the Three-year Corruption Prevention Plan ( PTPC).
Transparency, in fact, is indicated as the premise for «fostering widespread forms of control over the pursuit of institutional functions and the use of public resources» (article 1, paragraph 1 of the new transparency decree): it is not, therefore, a bureaucratic fulfilment, but an essential opportunity for accountability, as requested by Europe already with the Lisbon Treaty (Article 15 TFEU and Chapter V of the Charter of Fundamental Rights): “a means of democratic control over the work of the European administration, aimed at promote good governance and the participation of civil society “.
The aforementioned art.1 of the new transparency decree represents the indirect admission of the legislator that the prevention of corruption cannot be entrusted solely to the responsibility of the National Anti-corruption Authority nor to any other body. Rather, continuous and widespread monitoring is needed: alongside that carried out by the Office for Performance Evaluation and by the Anac, the monitoring carried out by citizens becomes essential. It is they, in fact, who can have a knowledge more adherent to the reality of a Municipality, a Region, an Asl, both for the territorial contiguity and for the daily interaction.
But transparency is not enough: we need continuous evaluation of administrative activity and measurement of results. A constant control not only on the budget numbers, but also and above all on the qualitative and performance aspects of the public action.
We have responded to this need with the Public Rating, which is, in fact, an assessment tool, transparency and integrity. It also allows the identification of a benchmark among Administrations also in the context of anti-corruption.