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Italy Design Report 2019-2021

Italy’s fourth action plan includes commitments on relevant national challenges like beneficial ownership transparency and lobbying regulation. It also builds on previous commitments on open data, and introduces measures to enhance civic participation and a culture of open government. Commitments would benefit from more targeted objectives and thus fewer milestones. The co-creation process can continue to improve through early and ongoing dialogue between government and civil society.

Table 1. At a glance

Participating since: 2011

Action plan under review: Fourth

Report type: Design

Number of commitments: 10

Action plan development

Is there a multistakeholder forum: Yes

Level of public influence: Involve

Acted contrary to OGP process: No

Action plan design

Commitments relevant to OGP values: 10 (100%)

Transformative commitments: 0 (0%)

Potentially starred commitments: 0

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Italy joined OGP in 2011. Since, Italy has implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the design of Italy’s fourth action plan.

General overview of action plan

High political turnover and distrust in public institutions remain a systemic issue in Italy. The action plan proposes some ambitious commitments relevant to the national context, including the establishment of a register of ultimate beneficial ownership and a lobbying register. Measures to enhance civic participation are a new area of focus, while thematic areas such as open data, a culture of open government, transparency, and digital services and skills are carried over from the previous action plan.

There were more opportunities for early civil society participation in co-creating the action plan than last time, although the level of participation did not change. However, the change in government midway through the process delayed the adoption of the plan. Co-creation could be strengthened through increased coordination between government and civil society and more regular meetings and interaction with Open Government Forum representatives.

For the most part, commitments reflect initiatives proposed by public agencies, but also respond to civil society priorities on lobbying transparency and beneficial ownership. Despite taking on board previous IRM recommendations, several commitments remain too broad due to a proliferation of milestones (anywhere between 5 and 41), which are small commitments in themselves, rather than steppingstones in the implementation of a high-level initiative. This also restricts the assessment of the overall impact of each commitment. This action plan contains no potentially transformative commitments (but it does have one potentially transformative cluster of milestones), fewer than the previous action plan did.

The action plan also includes initiatives from a diverse range of bodies, from the local and regional level, along with other agencies and bodies such as the Italian Chamber of Commerce (Unioncamere). Both government and civil society have stated that the design of the actions in Commitment 1 on monitoring confiscated assets is a positive example of government and civil society collaboration.

Table 2. Noteworthy commitments

Commitment description Moving forward Status at the end of implementation cycle
Commitment 3 – Register of Beneficial Owners: Establish the legal framework and implement a beneficial ownership register Consider making access to the register free of charge for all. Other improvements could include ensuring high data quality, and also clarifying how to make the best use of gender-disaggregated data. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Commitment 4 – Support for Participation: Create a national online participation portal for consultation and foster local level civic participation Ensure that participatory instruments proposed are as inclusive as possible, taking action to ensure that participation is open to all segments of the population, including those for which the use of digital systems might constitute a barrier rather than an advantage. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.
Commitment 5 – Regulation of Stakeholders: Establish and pilot a common procedure regulating interactions between public officials and lobbyists. Set targets on the number of ministries that are expected to adopt the new measures, and ensure a broad interpretation of lobbying. Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.

Recommendations

IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. Please refer to Section V: General Recommendations for more details on each of the below recommendations.

Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations

 

Strengthen the level of collaboration by increasing the Open Government Forum’s active participation in the process for selecting and drafting commitments

 

Co-create fewer, but more ambitious, targeted and coherent commitments

 

Establish a network of dedicated open data officers within public administrations

 

Ensure all public administrations implement the regulations for the national Register of Stakeholders

 

Develop and implement a monitoring system to ensure transparent allocation and use of funds related to COVID-19 response measures

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Filed under: IRM IRM Report

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