Public Governance

How to innovate the Public Administration

Open Gov 28120

In his debut at the OpenGovernment Forum, which took place in Rome on January 28, Minister Dadone spent two hours listening to the requests of the foundations and civic associations that make up the table, personally responding to every single problem and proposal that emerged during the meeting. None of the previous Ministers had ever…


With the inauguration of the new Government, the work of the Open Government Forum was resumed, the initiative of the Ministry of Public Administration that falls within the international character of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The latter aims to obtain concrete commitments from Governments in terms of promoting transparency, supporting civic participation, fighting corruption…

stack of messy file folders and documents,free copy space

The need for due diligence … While we keep on organising events on open government and smart cities, the true data of Italian public administrations is neglected: that, apart from some obvious best practices, they are neither smart nor open. It must be recognized that in recent years significant progress has been made in the…

car abstract concept

The media attention of these days on public appointments seems, inexplicably, to neglect one of great importance: that of director general of the Agid, the Agency for Digital Italy. And this is symptomatic of the residual consideration that technological innovation still has in our country: acclaimed by all, in words, as the key to any…

On the Municipalities, the Regions and, in general, the Public Administration, we have been witnessing a contradictory debate for some time: on the one hand, we hear about inefficiencies, waste and corruption; on the other, smart cities, open data, e-government, freedom of information act, etc.
Very fashionable English terms, which, however, risk to sound empty, or even mocking, when referred to many of the Italian Municipalities or Ministries: how to ask to write a theme to those who reproach themselves for not knowing grammar.
The doubt, then, is that behind the formulas “smart” and “open”, continually evoked in conferences and publications, there is little more than a slogan: otherwise, the sick administrations should have been healed for some time. Since, instead, it is still subject of debate, it means that the recipes adopted so far have not worked.
Let’s start with the current reality.

The progressive decrease in public resources has made their use more careful and rigorous throughout the world and especially in Italy indispensable for its very high public debt. However, rigor alone is not enough, even in times of crisis.
Other instruments are needed, different from the traditional ones: these, in fact, force virtuous administrations to make sacrifices like non-virtuous ones, and the consequence is that the sacrifices end up being perceived as unfair, coming to undermine the consent of citizens and administrators towards the state.
The rigor, therefore, must be accompanied by incentive mechanisms that know how to reward deserving administrations and sanction those that are not. To do this there is a need for assessment and measurement tools also at a qualitative level.
The tool created by Fondazione Etica responds to this need: the Public Rating, a sustainability rating of Public Administrations.
The idea was inspired by what happened with the international economic and financial crisis of the last few years: it made it clear, on the one hand, the unreliability of a certain way of assessing financial securities and their issuers on regulated markets (listed companies and sovereign states); on the other, the better stability of the so-called Esg Sustainability Indices (enviromental, social, governance).
The greater efficacy of the latter lies in their peculiarity: taking into account not only economic and financial performance, but also qualitative and “ethical” variables, such as corporate governance, social and environmental impact.
We asked ourselves if this was possible even in the public sphere, and after several years of study and research in the field, we found that it is not only possible, but rather desirable. In fact, only quantitative analyses have proved to be as essential as they are insufficient: the downgrade in the rating of a Region or a Municipality is the indicator of a problem, but not the indication of where to intervene.
The legislator has understood this for some time: in 2009, with the law n. 15, making it mandatory for the P.A. performance measurement and assessment; in 2012, with the law n.190 on anti-corruption policies; in 2013, with the legislative decree n. 33 on transparency obligations; in 2014, with legislative decree n.90 on transparency and efficiency. Integrity and transparency are the points urged many times to our country also by the European Union.
The qualitative evaluation of Public Administrations, therefore, is no longer just an option, today, but something to be done immediately based on a national and European regulatory obligation that is sometimes unknown even to professionals and, therefore, largely unfulfilled.
To be effective, the assessment must be carried out regardless of the adhesion of the evaluated subject and be based on a plurality of sources. In other words, the evaluation of the performance must be external and independent, and serve not so much in the P.A. but to those who must relate to them, that is to its stakeholders: the citizens / users, the supplier companies, the financing State, the banks, the EU. This is what the Sustainability Rating does for the P.A., which does not intend to interfere in the sphere of autonomy of the PAs. and in their self-diagnosis systems, but to be added to them outside.
Through the analysis and weighting of objectivizable qualitative data, the Public Sustainability Rating evaluates a P.A. as a whole, also disaggregating it by macro-area – such as governance or relationship with suppliers – and comparing it with the Administrations of the same type.
The Public Rating can be one of the concrete contributions to start looking at things from a new point of view, caring not only for “how much” does the PA spend, but also for “how” and “for what”.

Focus on


Fondazione Etica intervened at the European Open Government Leaders’ Forum in Milan last February. At the invitation of the Councilor for Innovation, Lorenzo Lipparini, and as a member of the Open Government Forum at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, our Vice President Paola Caporossi spoke at the international event on the concept of…


The Italian Government presented the third Action Plan within the framework  of the Open Government Partnership. Fondazione Etica participated in the OPG Forum, working on ‘Accountability and on transparency. This wasits proposal that the Forum has supported the Ministry of Public Administration in preparing the aforementioned Plan.  


OGP, which today brings together 69 states from various continents, works to convince governments to make concrete commitments to promote transparency, fight corruption and strengthen citizen participation. OGP LEADERSHIP OGP is a model that embodies the goal of civic participation. OGP’s rotating leadership group, also coming from both sectors, with two government co-chairs and two…


Smart, metropolitan, social impact cities: all beautiful definitions, but with the risk of becoming empty, rhetorical, like the many that, in Italy, have been wasted, consumed, simply because those words have not been followed. For this reason there is distrust on the part of the people, who rightly ask for action. Instead, we need the…


First of all, promoting the active involvement of citizens, companies and stakeholders of the public sector. We often forget we are not only the ones who should benefit from the public sector, but also stakeholders, because we are the ones who provide financial support through the payment of taxes. Therefore, we have the right to…