Action plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen...: Action plan – Palermo, Italy, 2021 – 2022
Action Plan Submission: 2021
Action Plan End: May 2022
Lead Institution: Towns Clerk, Municipality of Palermo
24th December 2021
The Municipality of Palermo and Parliament Watch Italia, as civil society partner, are signaling their intention with the present Plan to pursue processes of increased openness towards the citizens. For a municipality like Palermo, this is important because the transparent and participatory link with its citizens is the essential vehicle of the trust in the governing bodies that is essential in a community like ours in order to root, wherever necessary, and solidify the culture of legality and respect for the state, both in those who serve in institutions and in civil society.
For this reason, the Municipality is expressing, with this plan, the need for renewal of its organizational culture as a means to fortify the democratic and civil culture of its community, pursuing immediate objectives, namely the commitments that are the subject of this plan, within an overall medium-to-long-term perspective.
The commitments are the result of a Collaboration between government, civil society and other stakeholders (e.g., citizens, academics, private sector) is at the heart of the OGP process. Participating governments must ensure that a dive... that has involved the participation of representatives of the Palermo PA in a local forum, following an open invitation, alongside interested citizens and representatives of 15 local associations. The spirit of collaboration that animated the creation of the plan will be preserved in its implementation. The commitments provide for a collaboration that continues the work of the Forum.
The implementation phase strengthens the ties between the participants with particular skills that in various ways have found themselves taking part in the Forum, and also opens up towards the widespread skilled persons who wish to participate constructively. Making use of the contribution that skilled persons widespread in society can make to these processes is a necessity for the Municipality and Parliament Watch, since the efforts of innovation are running up against an administrative machine in difficulty due to lack of personnel and absorbed by the burdens of daily management and a local community eager to contribute to change.
Open Government Challenges, Opportunities and Strategic Vision
What is the long-term vision for open government in your context and jurisdiction?
The Municipality of Palermo hopes for a growing participation in the next and further envisioned cycles of action of the Forum. The commitments taken up in the Plan are in fact to be conceived as enabling activities for entire directions of action, as part of what amounts to a path towards the opening up of government, which the Municipality of Palermo is taking up as the first Italian local administration to be officially part of OGP Local.
The adherence to this program, the succession of cycles and the improvement of collaboration between citizens and institutions in the Forum may lead to combining the activities of opening up data and information on administrative activities with those of creating good practices aimed at activating and encouraging stable civic participation over time and developing and promoting technologies for openness and
These goals of openness are pursued as strategic means to realize the vision of a more inclusive and sustainable development of the city and its territory.
What are the achievements in open government to date (for example, recent open government reforms)?
First of all, with regard to According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More and civic monitoring, one must recall the path that has led the Municipality of Palermo to take up the responsibility for a specific OGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... within the 2019-2021 National Action Plan, which provides for the activation of an Integrity Pact for the purpose of involving its citizens in a process of monitoring a public contract that is important for the city.
In the field of social OGP participating governments are working to create governments that truly serve all people. This includes many historically oppressed groups such as persons with disabilities, women, lesbian, gay, bi..., the Palermo City Council has for some time now activated innovative policies that are particularly advanced. Highly relevant in this sense is the establishment of a “Council of Cultures”, an instrument for the democratic participation of immigrant citizens that invites representatives of minorities to share with the City Council proposals for the allocation of resources for projects aimed not only at the integration of immigrant or stateless citizens, but at a real cultural and social cross-pollination.
The attention shown to the area of environment and mobility is echoed in the tool recently set up by the City Council, the Urban Center: a physical and virtual place for the meeting between public entities, private entities, research institutions, associations and organizations, citizens and local economic actors. The Urban Center was created to ensure civic participation and inclusion regarding policies, projects and possibilities for the development of the territory.
What are the current challenges/areas for improvement in open government that the jurisdiction wishes to tackle?
The themes identified involve problems whose solutions have been conceived by the Forum, wherever possible, in consonance with administrative action and with a view to unblocking/speeding up processes and/or expanding the impact of such actions. On the Environment; theme, the Plan intends to encourage participatory processes for the enhancement of the green areas of the city and soft mobility.
On the theme of Social Inclusion, the Plan addresses the challenge of digitizing the information and document flows on which social welfare services are based. On the theme of Transparency and Civic Monitoring, the Plan addresses improving the processes for publishing data on the City’s contracts and laying the groundwork for more effective management of direct awards of contracts.
Finally, on the theme of Participatory Democracy, the Plan proposes to launch, in concrete terms, two pathways of collaboration with citizens, one provided for by law, the other widely debated in the city, which have not been implemented so far.
What are the medium-term open government goals that the government wants to achieve?
The commitment on the theme of Transparency and Civic Monitoring, proposes to make available in open format the data of the procurement portal of the Municipality and to suggest a protocol for the transparent management of directly awarded contracts.
With regard to Social Inclusion, the Icaro platform will make the requests of citizen users available to operators. The platform will integrate data relating to services of a territorial healthcare nature with data of a social-assistance nature.
The commitment on the Environment theme intends to ensure an easier access of citizens to the city green areas and promote the connection between the many green areas to encourage the development of soft mobility, an effective alternative to the use of private vehicles.
The commitment on Participatory Democracy is aimed at the effective spending of regional funds for the involvement of the citizens, so far never used by the City, and the approval of the Regulations for the shared management of Common Goods.
How does this action plan contribute to achieve the Open Government Strategic Vision?
The five commitments summarized address the pillars of the local transition towards open government. First and foremost, the implementation of the plan will allow for greater transparency for procedures available to the wide public. The activity planned in terms of social inclusion also moves in this direction, and, furthermore, suggests projects for simplifying administrative activities, promoting efficiency and punctuality of the services provided.
The commitment regarding the environment puts the citizen at the center, with participatory planning and stable co-design of the green areas of the city. With regard to participatory democracy, the planned actions will represent, within the administrative machinery, a further step towards the development of the skills and cultural guidelines necessary to manage the processes of citizen involvement in their own specific way, thus recognizing the importance of accredited interlocutors within a civic space that is not episodic but recognized and regulated.
How does the open government strategic vision contribute to the accomplishment of the current administration’s overall policy goals?
The current governance is engaged in innovating the culture of administration, trying to implement new smart solutions and improving openness through transparency and participation. Opening contracting data contributes to fighting corruption and maladministration and ensures a culture of lawfulness, which is a clear political goal in Palermo. Introducing digitalization in social services will increase accessibility and inclusion in a sensitive area of the administration.
Making Palermo a green city is an overall goal of the municipality and an open government approach will help to bring in participation and co-creation on how to recuperate and manage green areas. Finally, the open government approach can bring the legitimacy that is needed to unblock the approval of two key regulations for civic participation, namely the Government reformers are developing regulations that enshrine values of transparency, participation, and accountability in government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or reforming ... on the commons and on the participatory budgeting.
Engagement and Coordination in the Open Government Strategic Vision and OGP Action Plan
Please list the lead institutions responsible for the implementation of this OGP action plan.
- Towns Clerk, Municipality of Palermo
What kind of institutional arrangements are in place to coordinate between government agencies and departments to implement the OGP action plan?
The process has seen a progressive involvement of the political leadership of the Municipal administration, first in the application phases and then in the preliminary stages of the Forum, activating a collaborative dialogue with the Mayor and the Councilors for the development of a common strategy to be followed in the subsequent stages of the process. It is precisely because of this collaboration that all the institutional actors involved are committed to taking a proactive role in the most important moments of the process: in the preparatory phase (thanks to the dialogue between the participants in the discussion tables and the Councilors on the proposals to be included in the Plan); in the deliberative phase of the Plan (through the approval first of the draft and then of the final version passed through public consultation); finally, in the execution phase, with the commitment to take any action necessary to implement the policies contained in the document drawn up at the end of this intense and important process of co-creation.
What kind of spaces have you used or created to enable the collaboration between government and civil society in the co-creation and implementation of this action plan? Mention both offline and online spaces.
For the development of the Local Action Plan, several opportunities and spaces for debate were created between government stakeholders and members of civil society. The first online meeting of the Open Government Forum took place on May 18, 2021 and was an opportunity to start an initial discussion on the issues of transparency, participation, accountability and innovation and present the process for drafting the first Local Action Plan.
Following this preliminary meeting, four Discussion Tables were set up on the topics chosen by civil society. Each Table has operated in absolute autonomy between May and July 2021, drafting various proposals for commitments to be addressed to the Municipal administration.
Also after the constitution of the four Tables, the involvement of other subjects (single or associated) has continued to be encouraged, in order to multiply the opportunities for debate on OGP issues and thus form a properly participatory ecosystem.
What measures did you take to ensure diversity of representation (including vulnerable or marginalized populations) in these spaces?
There has been particular attention to the needs felt at the local level by marginalized communities. Already in the letter with which the Municipality applied for the process, there was a mention of the willingness of the municipal administration to promote commitments and concrete actions in the area of social inclusion. We have tried to encourage the presence within the Forum of the most vulnerable categories, addressing an invitation to participate to representatives of those associations that work in support of the most frail (migrants, women who are victims of violence, the homeless). A stimulating and constructive exchange was initiated with these subjects on how to work together in the coming months, trying to lay the foundations of a shared methodology of intervention for the resolution of issues still unresolved in the city context.
Who participated in these spaces?
Alongside representatives of the institutional apparatus (managers, technicians, employees of the departments), representatives of the University, third sector associations, qualified professionals, students in training and individuals interested in promoting opportunities for dialogue with the institutions have all chosen to participate.
How many groups participated in these spaces?
How many public-facing meetings were held in the co-creation process?
How will government and non-governmental stakeholders continue to collaborate through the implementation of the action plan?
All the subjects involved in the various stages of the process have shown full willingness to take part in the execution phase of the Local Action Plan, providing their experience and professional background as a concrete contribution to the implementation of the commitments by the technical personnel of the Administration.
Please describe what is the independent Monitoring Body you have identified for this plan.
As per the OGP Local program methodology, the implementation of the Action Plan and the commitments it contains is subject to several monitoring activities. In addition to the monitoring role played by the local civil society gathered in the Forum and the independent IRM evaluation mechanism of OGP, this administration is currently identifying a third party, external to the Forum, which will carry out an independent monitoring of the Action Plan in contact with OGP.
Provide the contact details for the independent monitoring body.
What types of activities will you have in place to discuss progress on commitments with stakeholders?
Regarding the dialogue with stakeholders during the implementation phase of the Plan, this administration will convene the Local Forum on 3 occasions with the specific purpose of presenting and discussing the progress made in implementing the commitments:
- In the opening of the works for the official presentation of the final version of the Action Plan. This presentation will be open to the entire citizen body;
- A second time between the months of December and January for a mid-term update;
- A third time between April and May to communicate the outcomes of the journey of implementation of the commitments. This meeting will also be an opportunity to revive the possibility of a new Action Plan.
How will you regularly check in on progress with implementing agencies?
From the point of view of internal Institutional and legal frameworks are necessary for providing assurance of the integrity of financial information and of compliance with budgetary rules and procedure. Technical specifications: These... at the level of the managers of the individual actions provided for in the Action Plan, the General Management of the Municipality – which is formally charged with responsibility for the implementation of the Plan itself – will continue the work already begun during the drafting of the Plan, maintaining a constant dialogue with the Mayor and the Councilors, who have chosen to join the ongoing process.
How will you share the results of your monitoring efforts with the public?
During the whole of the implementation phase of the Plan, the information about the ongoing activities will be published, with monthly updates, on the website of the Municipality of Palermo – In the section dedicated to the OGP Local program – and on the website of the Parliament Watch Italia association, the civil society partner selected by OGP for participation in the program together with the Municipality of Palermo.
In addition, a continuous activity of internal communication is planned that will provide for real-time sharing of documents related to ongoing activities, accompanied by clear identification of responsibilities for the implementation of these actions. To facilitate these processes, an internal workshop will be organized between September and October 2021 to present the entire process and the methodologies envisaged.
In addition, in collaboration with Parliament Watch Italia, training sessions will be offered to civil servants who will have the role of spokespersons for public interventions on open government initiatives.
Endorsement from Non-Governmental Stakeholders
- Andrea Borruso, President, ONDATA
- Jesse Marsh, Atelier – Studio Associato
- Paolo Rugolo, Rete Civica della Salute
- Antonella Leto, Forum Siciliano – Movimenti per L
- Ramon La Torre, Sinistra Comune
- Carmelo Cattafi, Tecnologico de Monterrey
- Andrea Bondì, Citizen
- Cecilia Gentilucci, Parliament Watch Italia
- Vincenzo Sanfilippo, Un altra storia
- Dino Trapani, Diaita
- Alberto Mangano, Citizen
- Giuseppe D Avella, Co-founder, Parliament Watch Italy
- Stefano Drago, Odv – Il Genio di Palertmo
- Federica Cocilovo, Citizen
- Manfredi Trapolino, Cesie
- Marco Cusenza, Atelier Co-Work
- Emanuele Messina, I World
- Mario Mirabile, South Working – Lavorare dal Sud
- Nino Galante, OpenPatti – Consulte Territoriali
- Flavia Amororso, South Working – Lavorare dal Sud
- Vittoria, Spicuzza, Le Onde
- Francesco Saija, Parliament Watch Italia
- Giulia Miotti, Parliament Watch Italia