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|Titolo:||The steering and control of central government Non-Departmental Public Bodies in Italy|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Autori interni:||BARBIERI, DARIO|
|Autori:||Dario Barbieri; Paolo Fedele; Davide Galli; Edoardo Ongaro|
|Titolo del libro:||COST meeting|
|Abstract:||Governments in many countries have established semi-autonomous single-purpose organisations (OECD, 2002); ministries and other departmental bodies have been split up into several entities and these entities, disaggregated from a leaner core government (in principle focused only on the formulation, the monitoring and – though not in all instances - the evaluation of public policies), enjoy some degree of autonomy. As an effect of these transformations of the public sector, we can observe a landscape characterised by a highly differentiated public sector with several ‘satellites’ which operate in a relatively autonomous way from the core government, and quite often only loosely coupled with their ‘parent’ administration. Within this broad (‘global’) trend, Italy is no exception: the number of agencies has increased over the last decade and a half. Recent publications on the phenomenon of executive agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (hereafter: NDPBs ) in Italy have examined the modalities of the disaggregation from the core government (Fedele et al, 2007; Ongaro, 2006) and the nature of the autonomy of such bodies (Barbieri et al, 2008). The 1990s were a period of profound transformations of the public sector of Italy (for an overview of the events, Ongaro, 2008, Ongaro and Valotti, 2008). In particular, the period 1996-99 was characterised by a significant production of norms and other authoritative decisions in the public management policy domain (the period started with the first Prodi government and ended with the first D’Alema government - Franco Bassanini was minister of the public function, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi minister of the economy). Main policy decisions include: the reforms in expenditure planning and financial management (legislative decree 279/97 for the State budget, followed by the regional budget and accounting reform of 2000); the new regulation of the system of controls in the public sector (legislative decree 286/99); the introduction of a framework for administrative simplification. In 1999, a major reform of the central government was enacted (legislative decrees 300/99 and 303/99). It was probably the first attempt to introduce a comprehensive reform of the organisation of the central administration in the Italian administrative history (Sepe et al., 2003). The reform package included, on one hand, the merger of some ministries and the re-organisation of their internal lines of control along the so-called ‘departmental’ model. On the other hand, the reform of the central government introduced a number of executive agencies (Fedele, Galli and Ongaro, 2007; Ongaro, 2006), to be steered by performance contracts according to an organisational model explicitly ‘inspired’ by the UK ‘Next Steps’ experience (Greer 1992 and 1994). In particular, four fiscal agencies were established, all operating in the policy field of the former finance ministry (in turn merged with the economy ministry to form the ministry of the economy and finance). This major reform of the central government can be deemed to be ‘watershed event’. In fact, in the administrative history of Italy, it is difficult to find attempts at reforming so profoundly the public sector (Sepe et al., 2003, provide an overview of the administrative history of Italy since the unification in the 19th century: the emerging picture is one of continuity of the organisational models of public sector organisations – the major changes having occurred to the size of the public sector and its role in the economy of the country, but not to its internal organisational structure). The reform encompassed various aspects of the organisation of the state: a divisional model (in the sense outlined by Mintzberg, 1983) became the general pattern for all ministries but a few; the territorially deconcentrated services of the state (prefect’s offices) were reshaped; and a number of new ‘executive’ agencies explicitly patterned according to the British Next steps were established (all these provisions are included in the legislative decrees n. 300/99 and n. 303/99). This reform was the first organic attempt at reforming the Italian state. But was such an attempt actually a breakthrough event also in practice? Or were great expectations in Rome dashed in the various Italian ‘Oaklands’ (to paraphrase the most cited Pressman and Wildavsky’s seminal work - Pressman and Wildavsky, 1973)? A central issue in the study on executive agencies and NDPBs is the governance and ‘steering and control’ of these bodies (Wettenhall, 2005). Drawing on a survey (Ongaro, 2008) carried out on a population of Italian agencies at the central level, this work aims at providing an overall description of the forms of steering and control in the Italian context. More specifically, the first research question has been formulated as follows: what are the modalities of the steering and control of Non-Departmental Public Bodies in Italy? In order to provide an accurate description of the phenomenon under analysis, time has to be taken into account as a relevant factor. The second purpose of this work is to investigate what has occurred to a specific but crucial component of such reform, i.e. the actual form taken by the executive agencies established as a follow up of the 1999 reform. What has happened along the way from the level of the formulation of decisions to the level of the actual implementation? We will address this question by focusing a specific but qualifying dimension of agencies/NDPBs, i.e. the modalities of steering and control, and we will investigate whether the characteristics of the steering and control of NDPBs established on the basis of the 1999 reform are substantially different from the systems of steering and control in place for NDPBs established before the 1999 reform. The second research question has been formulated as follows : are the systems of steering and control of NDPBs in Italy established before 1999 substantially different from those of NDPBs established as a consequence of the 1999 reform? And if so, what are the qualifying differences?|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||62 - Proceedings / Presentations|
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