Italy

   

Executive Capacity

#19
Key Findings
With modest reforms succeeding where more ambitious attempts failed, Italy receives middling scores overall (rank 19) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.6 points relative to 2014.

Former Prime Minister Renzi’s decision to resign but retain the position of leader of the largest governing-coalition party complicated coordination and policymaking. The new government had less control over ministers, and successor Gentiloni adopted a softer leadership style as a consequence. Weaker coordination led to occasionally hasty and ill-prepared decisions.

RIAs are increasingly used, but tend to be more formal than substantial when conducted by ministries. A new, more comprehensive RIA regulation took effect in late 2017. The Gentiloni government was less confrontational than Renzi’s, seeking to consult more broadly with trade unions and employers.

Gentiloni’s limited government program was largely achieved. Incremental electoral reforms proved more successful than Renzi’s broad and ultimately rejected constitutional reform. New instruments for monitoring the public administration have been introduced.

Strategic Capacity

#23

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
6
The concept of strategic planning is not particularly developed in Italian governmental and administrative culture. This is in part due to the fact that governments have been predominantly preoccupied with coalition problems and that the administration is still very much guided by a legalistic culture. Nevertheless, some progress has been made with recent governments. Recent government programs have been more detailed, and become significant instruments for organizing and planning government activity. Within the government office (called the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, or Presidenza del Consiglio), a special department guided by a minister without portfolio has been created to oversee the implementation of this program. This department produces regular reports on the program’s implementation status. The financial aspect of strategic planning is more developed, as the treasury has to implement rigorous budgetary stability goals, and works within a triennial perspective. While under the Renzi government, which featured a strong personalization of leadership, the minister of finance had to negotiate with the prime minister before implementing strategic plans in coordination with EU authorities. However, under the Gentiloni government, the minister of finance has a stronger role.

How influential are non-governmental academic experts for government decisionmaking?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental academic experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Scholarly Advice
5
The government does not regularly consult non-governmental academics. A small group of partisan experts selected by the prime minister frequently offer strategic and technical advice. However, independent experts are rarely consulted. Important legislative proposals do not benefit from an institutionalized, open and transparent consultation process. In the finance, culture and labor ministries the role of external experts is more established. Independent academic experts have been involved in the spending review, but only on a short-term basis.

Interministerial Coordination

#16

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills substantively?

10
 9

The GO / PMO has comprehensive sectoral policy expertise and provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s strategic and budgetary priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO has sectoral policy expertise and evaluates important draft bills.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise, but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
6
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as a rule evaluates all draft bills before they are submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval. This scrutiny however mainly deals with legal aspects (which largely concern compatibility with European laws) as the PMO itself does not have the systematic sectoral expertise that would allow it to conduct a detailed policy scrutiny. This means that intervention by the PMO is in general more reactive than proactive. The office gets more deeply involved in issues when problems emerge during the policymaking process. Important draft bills are in general scrutinized by the office with regard to the effects a bill may have on the cohesion of the majority coalition. A detailed scrutiny of the financial implications of each bill is conducted by the Treasury, which has a kind of preventive veto power. The previous prime minister, Renzi, had a dominant role in government. Both Renzi and his personal political staff had significant influence in steering the cabinet. In contrast, the current prime minister, Gentiloni, has adopted a softer leadership style when guiding the cabinet. The PMO’s staff has not changed significantly and its limited size does not allow it to fully control the technical aspects of legislation. As a result, corrections to legislative proposals are often necessary during parliamentary approval.

Can the government office / prime minister’s office return items envisaged for the cabinet meeting on the basis of policy considerations?

10
 9

The GO/PMO can return all/most items on policy grounds.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO can return some items on policy grounds.
 5
 4
 3


The GO/PMO can return items on technical, formal grounds only.
 2
 1

The GO/PMO has no authority to return items.
GO Gatekeeping
8
Prime Minister Renzi resigned following the constitutional referendum defeat in December 2016. Subsequently, the position of prime minister has become more complex, as Renzi, the leader of the largest government coalition party, is not a member of the government. There is now a sort of dual leadership shared by Prime Minister Gentiloni and Renzi, the leader of the Democratic Party. This means that the initiating and gatekeeping of legislation require the agreement of both leaders, which is not always granted.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination in the GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
7
The Prime Minister’s Office is regularly kept informed of the development of policy proposals generated by line ministries. With regard to the policy proposals of particular political relevance for the government, the consultation process starts from the early stages of drafting and is more significant, involving not only formal but also substantive issues. In the fields less directly connected with the main mission of the government, exchanges are more formal and occur only when proposals have been fully drafted. Moreover, given that the Gentiloni government was only formed in the last year of the current parliamentary term without a well-articulated government program, control over line ministries is less strong than in previous governments. For example, several ministers respond more readily to their party leader than to the head of government.

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The large majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
8
A significant number of policy proposals require de jure scrutiny by a Council of Ministers committee or even the explicit consent of a plurality of ministers. In a number of cases, this is only a formal exercise and the Council of Ministers committees are not an important mechanism. It is more significant that a number of important issues are de facto dealt with through consultations among a few ministers (and their ministerial cabinets) before being brought to the Council of Ministers or are sent to this type of proceeding after preliminary discussion in the council. These consultations, which usually include the Treasury, typically avoid provoking conflicts in the council. In meetings of the Council of Ministers, discussion of policy proposals are typically very cursory. Most problems have been resolved before meetings of the Council of Ministers, either in formal or informal meetings.

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
8
Before every Council of Ministers meeting there is a preparatory meeting – the pre-consiglio – where the heads of all legislative ministerial offices filter and coordinate the proposals to be submitted to the Council of Ministers meeting. The head of the Department for Juridical and Legislative Affairs of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers chairs these meetings. Proposals on which there is no agreement will rarely make it to the Council of Ministers. Further informal meetings between ministerial officials take place at earlier stages of drafting. However, the bureaucracies of individual ministries are normally protective of their prerogatives and are not keen to surrender autonomy.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
7
During the Renzi government, the prime minister – as leader of the dominant party of the government coalition – was able to steer the government using informal mechanisms of coordination, a close circle of friends and the undersecretary to the presidency. Under the Gentiloni government, with the leader of the Democratic Party now outside the government, these informal coordination mechanisms have become weaker. The Treasury has acquired a more important role in these informal coordination mechanisms. This weaker coordination can lead to hasty and ill-prepared decisions, which later need to be revised.

Evidence-based Instruments

#22

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
6
RIAs are in principle required from all ministries and local authorities (under laws 50/1999 and 246/2005). At the national level, RIAs fall under the responsibility of the ministries. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is responsible for the review and quality control of the whole RIA processes as well as for the coordination of activities associated with a RIA. The Department for Juridical and Legislative Affairs of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers is responsible for the elaboration of RIA methodology. Annual reports are submitted to parliament.

Following reforms adopted by previous governments, the current RIA framework prohibits any discussion by the Council of Ministers of a proposal that lacks a RIA. It is, however, questionable whether sufficient resources are available to implement RIAs effectively. While in the past these rules were not always applied, things have gradually changed and now most normative acts are accompanied by a RIA. The 2016 government report to parliament documents this increase, which is also due to the growing pressure of EU rules. The quality of RIAs is, however, still far from homogeneous and qualified observers have found that while RIAs conducted by independent authorities are in general more sound, those of ministerial departments continue to be rather formalistic (Osservatorio air 2014). From 15 December 2017, a new RIA regulation takes effect which should be more comprehensive.

Citations:
Maria Francesca Rocchetti: Impact Assessment in Italy: State of the Art and Patterns of Regulatory Reform: http://regulatoryreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Rocchetti-Impact-Assessment-in-Italy-Sept-2014.pdf
http://presidenza.governo.it/DAGL/uff_studi/AIR.html
http://presidenza.governo.it/Sito2015-Presidenza/DAGL/uff_studi/Relazione_2016.pdf
http://www.osservatorioair.it/lair-e-gli-altri-strumenti-per-la-qualita-della-regolazione-nellannuario-2014/
http://www.osservatorioair.it/l%E2%80%99air-nelle-autorita-indipendenti-il-nuovo-libro-a-cura-dell%E2%80%99osservatorio-air/
http://www.osservatorioair.it/in-gazzetta-ufficiale-il-nuovo-regolamento-di-disciplina-dellair-della-vir-e-della-consultazione/

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
5
The RIA process is still in its infancy in Italy. The participation of stakeholders remains limited and is not systematically pursued. The annual reports, which are presented by the Prime Minister’s Office to parliament, indicate a gradual improvement in this field. Communication to the public needs also to be significantly improved. The impact of RIAs on the policymaking process is still insufficient.

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
5
Sustainability checks within the framework of RIA are still underdeveloped but are gradually improving. The reports of the Prime Minister’s Office to the parliament show that they are not yet systematically integrated within RIA and they are not exhaustive from the point of view of the indicators included (economic indicators play a greater role than social and environmental ones). With a decision taken in 2017, the PMO together with the Ministry of Environment will exercise tighter control over the adoption of sustainability criteria in regulation.

Citations:
http://presidenza.governo.it/DAGL/uff_studi/Relazione_2017.pdf
http://www.minambiente.it/pagina/la-strategia-nazionale-lo-sviluppo-sostenibile

Societal Consultation

#28

To what extent does the government consult with societal actors to support its policy?

10
 9

The government successfully motivates societal actors to support its policy.
 8
 7
 6


The government facilitates the acceptance of its policy among societal actors.
 5
 4
 3


The government consults with societal actors.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Negotiating Public Support
5
Consultations with economic and social actors have not been a key priority for recent governments. Pressed by the need to face a very difficult budgetary and economic situation, recent governments have been reluctant to involve themselves in long and (according to experience) often unproductive consultations. Former prime minister Renzi in particular, who was keen to communicate the image of an innovative and responsive government, tried to avoid entangling himself in official discussions with trade unions, which are increasingly less popular. He also publicly criticized trade union leaders for being too conservative and focused on the interests of the most protected employees, while ignoring the problems of unemployed people. The Gentiloni government’s style is less confrontational. The government has tried to consult trade unions more extensively, particularly concerning the delicate question of reforming the pension system. However, these consultations have not been particularly successful. Relations between the government and the employers’ association, Confindustria, have been smoother.

Policy Communication

#24

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

The government effectively coordinates the communication of ministries; ministries closely align their communication with government strategy. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 8
 7
 6


The government coordinates the communication of ministries. Contradictory statements are rare, but do occur. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries are responsible for informing the public within their own particular areas of competence; their statements occasionally contradict each other. Messages are sometimes not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
Coherent Communication
5
Italian governments have in general coordinated communication rather weakly. Ministers and even undersecretaries have often been able and willing to express their personal positions without coordinating their comments with the Prime Minister’s Office. Under the Renzi government, the prime minister had largely overshadowed the communication of other government bodies. Under the Gentiloni government, the prime minister and his press office have adopted a much less aggressive communication strategy. The prime minister intervenes much more rarely and generally adopts a softer tone. The government’s strategy, because the main government coalition party’s support for the government is less firm, has been to avoid divisive issues as much as possible. The fact that the leader of the largest party of the majority does not sit in the cabinet and that several ministers respond more to the leader of the largest party than to the prime minister has led to uncoordinated and contradictory government announcements.

Implementation

#19

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Efficiency
8
The current Gentiloni government, which only took office in the last year of the current parliamentary term, did not have an ambitious government program. The government had to sensitively conduct budgetary policy. This entailed respecting EU rules (under the close scrutiny of the European Commission), while promoting economic recovery. This was necessary to win parliamentary approval for the electoral reform following the failed attempt of the Renzi government. The government also had to manage and control the number of immigrants arriving in Italy by sea from North Africa, and deal with problems in the pension system. With a few failures in delicate legislative areas (e.g., extending citizenship to children with a migrant background born in Italy), the government has proven fairly successful in achieving its program. In particular, the relationship between the government and the European Commission has improved and the flow of irregular immigrants has been reduced.

Citations:
http://www.programmagoverno.gov.it/media/2998/report_30-ottobre_2016.pdf

To what extent does the organization of government provide incentives to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
8
The current prime minister, Gentiloni, has weaker instruments to ensure ministers fulfill the government program compared to the previous prime minister, Renzi, who was the leader of the dominant government coalition party. However, given the more modest ambitions of the current cabinet, whose main purpose is to reach the end of the parliamentary term without disaster and prepare for the forthcoming elections, the prime minister has proven more able to steer the government than was initially expected. Gentiloni has been aided by ministers from other parties, because of the weakness of their parties and their need to avoid immediate elections, would prefer not to rock the boat.

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
8
The monitoring of the implementation of the government program is delegated to one of the undersecretaries attached to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and supported by a special office of the presidency (Ufficio per l’attuazione del programma di governo). This office monitors the main legislative activities of the ministries and more recently has started to monitor regularly also the implementation activities related to the legislation adopted. The office publishes a monthly report. The current undersecretary in charge of the office is a close political friend of the leader of the Democratic Party, but is less close to the current President of the Council.

Citations:
http://www.programmagoverno.gov.it/notizie/stato-di-attuazione-del-programma-al-2-agosto-2017/#

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies and executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies, Bureaucracies
4
Autonomous executive agencies are not very common in Italian ministries, but they have increased with time. Although their activities are monitored, this monitoring is neither systematic nor particularly effective. There are some exceptions: for example, the monitoring of the tax agency (Agenzia delle Entrate) by the Ministry of Finance is more effective than many other oversights. The Corte dei Conti – the main Audit Office – performs a systematic monitoring of bureaucratic offices and also of executive agencies but this monitoring is mainly focused on legal and procedural aspects and is much less effective in covering other aspects such as cost efficiency. Monitoring of regional health care agencies, and health care expenditure and procurements is still inadequate. Despite major regional differences and deviations from “standard costs,” established by recent studies, systematic oversight is not yet in place. After long discussions about the introduction of nationally defined “standard costs” in the health sector this decision is yet to be implemented. The capacity of regional governments to properly manage and monitor health care resources can vary significantly from region to region, which has cast doubt over further decentralization and the ability of the central government to control this sector.

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
6
In recent years, a double and to some extent contradictory trend has taken place in the relationship between central government and local administrations (regions, provinces and municipalities). On the one hand, constitutional reforms and normal legislative and administrative changes transferred broader tasks to local governments. This has particularly been the case for regions where the devolution of functions in the field of health care has been particularly extensive, for example. On the other hand, however, because of budgetary constraints and strong pressure from the European Union and international markets, the central government has increasingly reduced transfers to local governments in order to balance its own budget. Local governments have tried to resist this fiscal squeeze without great success and have had to increase local taxation. At the same time, the government has reduced the autonomy of municipalities to levy property taxes. As a result, functions delegated to subnational governments are now often underfunded, and local authorities have been forced to cut services.

In 2016 and 2017, the government - made the “internal stability pact” more flexible. The pact significantly restricted the budgetary autonomy of municipalities and in particular damaged the “virtuous” ones, which could not spend their budgetary surpluses. This change should enable virtuous municipalities to increase investments. Furthermore, the central government transferred special issue funds to the regions to allow them, among other things, to better align with EU law.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
7
The constitutional and legislative changes, which had substantially increased the powers and scope of regional government activity over the last 20 years, did not make the relationship between different levels of government less antagonistic. Across an increased number of policy fields, central and regional governments have concurrent legislative powers. In these areas, the central state should simply define general guidelines, leaving the articulation of specific legislative contents to regional assemblies. However, the national government and parliament have a tendency not to respect this division of authority, impinging upon the sphere of regional autonomy instead.

For their part, regions often adopt a posture of resistance to national rules. This has produced an exceeding amount of litigation before the Constitutional Court. Tensions between the two levels have also increased as a result of the strained fiscal context. The central government has sought greater oversight over local governments (often perceived as the culprits of unrestrained spending). In order to balance the national budget, central government transfers to local authorities are repeatedly cut. These cuts are typically applied universally, rather than selectively. However, in several emergencies, the national government has given substantial financial aid to municipalities and regions. Moreover, central government has provided the necessary funds whenever local governments have been close to defaulting.
A clearer definition of the powers and responsibilities of central state and regions failed when the proposed constitutional reform was defeated in the referendum of December 2016.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
5
Minimal standards for decentralized public services (e.g., public health care and utilities) are agreed upon and set at national level in a number of areas. The permanent conference for relations between the state, regions, provinces and cities (Conferenza Stato-Regioni ed Unificata) is an important forum in which national standards are discussed. However, the implementation of these standards is still far from satisfactory: as the administrative quality of different local authorities varies significantly, standards can differ substantially from one area of the country to another. In many fields the north–south divide remains significant, and seriously affects equality of opportunities and national cohesion. So far, efforts to overcome it have not proven very successful.

National standards have increasingly been adopted for utilities (e.g., water, electricity and communications), but in most cases independent authorities are responsible for the definition and implementation of standards. Implementation in this field is fairly adequate.

Adaptability

#9

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures no matter how useful adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
8
In the medium term, the most significant impact that international, and particularly supranational (EU-related) developments have had upon the structure and working of the government concerns the role of the minister of finance and of the treasury. Because of budgetary requirements deriving from European integration and participation in the euro zone, the minister of finance has acquired increasing weight in the governmental decision-making process, exercising an effective gatekeeping role with respect to the proposals of line ministries. Another example of this development is the strict internal stability pact, designed to meet the European Union’s stability and growth pact obligations across all administrative levels.

The prime minister and finance minister have gained a central role in the implementation of the government program, guiding the most important decisions. Other ministers have had a secondary role.

Starting with the Monti government, the structure of the government was streamlined, with a smaller number of ministers and undersecretaries than in the past. However, the Gentiloni government has slightly increased the number of ministers and undersecretaries. There are currently 13 ministers with portfolio, five ministers without portfolio, seven deputy-ministers and 36 undersecretaries.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively in international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
7
The ability of Italian governments to take a leading role in international efforts is generally limited. This is in part due to the country’s relatively small size, but also because Italian politics tends to focus on internal matters. Moreover, frequent changes in political leadership have made it difficult to provide a strong and clear position in international efforts. There have been occasional exceptions when the government has been more active on a specific issue (such as the abolition of death penalty, or in the promotion of peace talks in the Middle East). The Gentiloni government has mainly focused on the EU level, with the executive actively engaged in EU policy discussions promoting the need for economic growth over simple fiscal balance. With regard to the immigration crisis, the Italian government has promoted the shared responsibility of EU member states. Overall, the government has shied away from confrontation in the European arena, and opted for cooperation with the European Commission and the main EU member states.

In general, the government has increased domestic awareness of Italy’s international responsibilities and consistently worked toward increasing Italy’s influence in EU decision-making processes.

Organizational Reform

#14

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
6
Traditionally, the attention paid to the internal organization of the government machine has been selective and sporadic. No systematic monitoring was accomplished on a regular basis. The spending review initiated under the Monti government, and continued by the Letta, Renzi and Gentiloni governments has reformed this field. Reforms have focused mainly on financial aspects, but have also involved the monitoring of institutional arrangements of government (with particular attention given to the structures of local government). However, many proposals for a deeper restructuring of government offered by these review exercises have not been implemented. Under the Renzi government, the Prime Minister’s Office has been partially restructured to increase effectiveness in implementing the government’s program. However, a full restructuring is yet to be undertaken. The reform of state bureaucracy – promoted by the minister for public administration – introduced stronger instruments for systematic monitoring of public administration (Decree DLgs. 25 May 2017). Though it is too soon to determine how effectively the new instruments have been used.

Citations:
http://www.funzionepubblica.gov.it/sites/funzionepubblica.gov.it/files/Valutazione_DLgs_25_maggio_2017_n74.pdf

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
7
Despite several years of public debate, successive governments have been unable to significantly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of central government. The attempt of the Renzi government to introduce a broad constitutional reform was strongly rejected by the referendum of December 2016. The reform had aimed to reduce the delays caused by and veto powers originating from the perfect bicameralism, and redistribute powers between regional and central governments to make the responsibilities of each level clearer. The rejection of the reform demonstrated the difficulties of introducing broad reforms. The current government has followed a more prudent approach, and concentrated on promoting an electoral reform with the purpose of making the political configuration of the two chambers more similar and reducing the possibility of deadlock. The current government’s success in this field suggests that incremental transformations are more easily attainable.
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