ROME The coronavirus emergency made us touch firsthand how bureaucracy impedes the application of the measures. And we all agree that the restart will have to rely on massive investments for small and large works: tangible and intangible infrastructures. In this sense, the pandemic and the massive allocations made by the government and Europe can represent a unique opportunity to modernize the country and restart the economic system. As long as you know how to grasp it. This is why great importance is attached to the Simplifications law decree, whose draft is now ready and which could go this week or next to the approval of the Council of Ministers. It is about seventy articles that address the different aspects of the problem, reconciling different approaches present in the majority: the 5 Stars that pointed to the Genoa model of the burst commissioners, the Pd more prudent and opposed to the dismantling of the procurement code. In the end, the proposal developed by the government, between interesting innovations and the repetition of old schemes that have already proved useless, could move the waters.
Among the news potentially more capable of unblocking the situation there are undoubtedly the rules on which the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, insisted for overcoming the so-called signature syndrome, which keeps public officials from giving the green light to any work for fear of ending up under investigation by some Public Prosecutor’s Office always ready to challenge the abuse of office, with the risk of having to answer also for tax damage to the Court of Auditors. In this sense, the articles in the draft that limit abuse of office to cases where there are no margin of discretion for the official from the rules and those that limit tax liability to malicious behavior go in the right direction. As well as the rules that speed up the procedures for environmental impact assessment (Via) and authorizations by local authorities. These procedures, as the government admits, can now last up to 10 years.
The decree provides for the introduction of replacement powers by the Ministry of the Environment, if the competent administration does not do so, and in any case the setting of maximum terms for authorizations. An accelerated procedure is also envisaged for the works included in the National Energy and Climate Program.
To speed up the first phases, those of the contract, the government proposes that, until December 31, 2021, proceed without a tender but with direct award for works up to € 150 thousand and with direct negotiation with at least 5 operators for those of a higher amount, reserving the actual tender only for those above 5 million, but providing for the possibility of derogating with restricted negotiation procedures also for the works of national importance identified by decree of the Prime Minister. For the implementation of the same, ad hoc commissioners will not be appointed (envisaged only for particular highly complex works), but the competent administrations will be able to exercise extraordinary powers notwithstanding any provision of the law, except for the criminal laws. Furthermore, the anti-mafia certification procedures are simplified, by providing for the intersection of the information already present in the databases of the public administration.
The intentions are commendable. But we cannot forget the previous failed attempts to identify the priority infrastructures to be built (recently the Deputy Minister of Economy, Laura Castelli, said that there are still 127 billion to spend) as well as the old promises to cross the databases.
The Fund for the continuation of public works stopped due to lack of resources also arrives: Beneficiaries of the fund are the contracting stations and the amounts are intended to finance the continuation of the works necessary for the construction of the infrastructure. Finally, article 30 of the draft dedicated to simplifications for the construction of broadband. Here too, not the first time.
Many rules concern the organization of bureaucracy, such as those that oblige public administrations to favor employee smart working: the Public Administration will have to develop its systems with suitable methods to allow remote access to its employees and thus favor agile work . News also for self-certifications, which can be filled in by users directly through an app from a PC or smartphone. In general, in terms of digital identity, digital domicile and access to digital services, administrations are obliged to offer services also in digital and mobile mode via Spid and Cie (Electronic Identity Card) and through the Io app.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Greens, Angelo Bonelli, denounces that the decree contains a new amnesty: Article 10 allows the amnesty for buildings illegally built which will comply with the regulatory plans at the date of submission of the application. A clever rule that will allow Municipalities to modify urban plans to regularize abusives. Just learned of the draft law decree, CGIL, CISL and UIL who asked the government for a meeting to be held before the decisions of the Council of Ministers.