Open Government Partnership suggestions for the best use of the Recovery and Resilience Funds
The implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRP) which involve all EU governments, opens a phase of significant opportunities but at the same time of major risks for the deployment of economic policies to move out of the pandemic emergency.
The open government method is the main antidote to the misuse of substantial resources made available by Europe, which must, moreover, be spent within a very limited period of time. The threat to distance from the expected results resides in the atavistically low spending capacity of our administrations, as well as in the diversion of decisions, actions and information by lobbies.
The OGP found it useful to bring together officials of the European Union, representatives of national public authorities and civil society, to lay down some guidelines, so that governments concretely pursue the path of transparency in the use of resources and of accountability for the choices made. The round table between governments and civil society, inspired by OGP, made a contribution through recommendations and best practices summarized in the three actions that the European leaders can adopt for a strong, inclusive and sustainable recovery of European economies.
- Making public spending more transparent. A greater level of transparency can be achieved by publishing proactively the detailed information on the NRRP spending. Specifically, governments could publish all information on contracts concluded in the frame of the projects included in the NRRP and make available the data on final beneficiaries, including the data on beneficial owners. The Open Spending EU Coalition has published a series of specific recommendations and tools to help governments make spending more transparent, to identify what data should be published and how.
- Make published data accessible and reusable. All relevant information should be made available in open data format. Governments and the European Commission should develop interactive web portals and ensure that all information is updated and timely published.
- Building spaces for civic participation. Governments should positively involve civil society and citizens into participation using the methods that go beyond the classic consultations and simple sharing of information.
The team OGP Italia, coordinated by the Department for Public Administration, has applied these indications in the definition of the draft 5th National Action Plan for the open government, currently under consultation on the ParteciPA platform.
Commitment 5.02 “Open standards for the inclusiveness and participation of civil society in the monitoring of public spending“ provides the possibility of making available machine-readable open data on tenders / contracts, part of which will relate to procurement for implementing the NRRP. The National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC), the coordinator of the initiative, is expected to publish the datasets regarding the phases of call-for-tenders publication, of award and of contracts finalization in open format according to the model proposed by the Open Contracting Partnership for all contracts worth more than € 40,000.
Commitment 2.01 “Networks for integrity and transparency” networks relevant actors for the prevention of corruption in Italy, capable to promote greater involvement of civil society and public administrations and institutions in order to strengthen corruption prevention strategies in the NRRP implementation phase; to support the key actors for corruption prevention (the Persons in Charge of Corruption Prevention) in addressing the challenges of the NRRP implementation in the best possible way; finally, to enhance the presence of our country on the international arena, in the field of corruption prevention also through the dissemination of best practices.
Finally, commitment 3.01 “Promoting opportunities for participation in the NRRP” aims to promote the opportunities for participation envisaged by the national legislation for the interventions of the NRRP and the Complementary Funds Plan, to support citizen’s involvement for improving implementation of the planned measures. It will be implemented through the promotion of knowledge on public debate processes for major works, and through the creation of a structured collaboration between the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility (MIMS) and the CSOs to improve accessibility and usability of data, as well as interaction between PAs and citizens on a platform prepared by the MIMS for highlighting data on the NRRP interventions.
Therefore, Italy is fully committed to the launch of the NRRP. This is not merely an activity of data release or detection of corruption risks, but of creation and support to strategies, networks and solutions able to structurally reduce current information asymmetries regarding the quality and integrity of public spending, especially (but not only) in the NRRP context.
For further details of all commitments of the 5th Italian National Action Plan and for proposing integrations and comments take part in the consultation accessible through the link.