The state of economic and financial difficulty that persists at the international level has triggered a worsening of public accounts and the gradual reduction of the public resources available: this makes it unrestable, in all countries but above all in Italy for its very high public debt, a use more careful and rigorous than public money.

Beyond the financial motivations, any State that wants to call itself modern, efficient and transparent must be able to know and measure the performance of the complex public machine. Citizens ask for it, who are its financiers and users at the same time; asks Europe, which with the Stability Pact requires the Administrations to contribute to the overall reorganization of public finance.

It is in this context that Fondazione Etica has decided to study and build an evaluation model capable of measuring the effectiveness of Public Administrations according to criteria attributable to the concept of sustainability, also taking into account qualitative variables: the result is the Public Rating (acronym) REP).

It complies with the requirements of the maximum Italian public administration body, the Commission for the Assessment and Integrity of Public Administrations (Civit), then transformed into a National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC), which in a 2010 resolution writes:

Measurement systems are even more relevant in situations of negative economic cycle, against which the legislator has taken the urgent measures provided for in the decree-law 78/2010. These measures, in fact, require the effective implementation of a performance measurement system for at least two reasons:

the first one related to the satisfaction of the citizens’ needs and the second one related to the better ability of choice and selection by the competent authorities with regards to the allocation of resources.

With regard to the first profile, the system for measuring the performance of public administrations must be oriented mainly to the citizen; the citizen’s satisfaction and involvement are, in fact, the real engine of improvement and innovation processes. As for the second profile, the measurement of performance makes it possible to improve the allocation of resources between the various structures, rewarding those that are virtuous and of excellence and reducing waste and inefficiencies.

The Public Rating aims precisely to create an incentive mechanism for Public Administrations, based on merit, allowing the qualitative performance to be measured from the point of view of the stakeholders.

It is to the latter that public administrations must account not only for “how much” they have spent, but above all for “how” and “for what“. The evaluation of Public Administrations, in fact, cannot be limited to merely economic and financial criteria, but must also be able to measure the quality of the service performed.

Moreover, it is what is done now, even within private subjects: on the stock market the so-called Sustainability Indices allow for some time to evaluate the performance of a financial security or of the economic entity that issues it – company or state – taking into account not only of economic and financial performance, but also of qualitative variables such as the relationship with the environment, social impact and corporate governance (Enviromental, Social and Governance). Not many people know that that type of Indices, for example, were able to predict the 2008 Lehman Brothers default.

The Public Rating is based on the principles and methodology of the Esg Indices adapted to the public system, as well as on the indicators required by Legislative Decree 33/2013.

Why didn’t you do it before? Because in order to evaluate and measure we must first know, and this is what allows the so-called “transparency decree” to be done a few years ago.

In Italy to date there is no single and up-to-date database of PAs: the Public Rating allows the creation of a constantly updated PA database.