Appalto Sicuro
Formez PA - Centro servizi, assistenza, studi e formazione

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Public procurements in Italy with thousands of public contracting authority, are now one of the main nerve centers of the economy. Most of the EU funds, national, regional and local spreads along the route of public procurement, often for smaller amount of money. Billions of Euros, that not only form the basis of the local economy, but also the destiny of healthy companies. The socio-economic Italian context and particularly in the southern is strongly affected by a massive infiltration of organized crime in public procurement. The inclusion of the Mafia in large and small competitions for contracts creates a distortion in the market economy, inhibition of healthy companies activity, labor market control and, last but not least, poor quality of services for communities that are directly or indirectly involved. In general, we can say that the whole country community has been directly or indirectly involved in this process, creating distortions at all levels of public money expenditure has infected the most various public sectors: health, education, social assistance, infrastructure etc.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The initiative, called "Appalto Sicuro- integrated training to fight corruption and infiltration of organized crime in public procurement" started from an agreement between the Ministry of Home Affair - Department of Public Safety and the Prime Minister's Office - Department of Public Administration and was carried out by the in-house agency FORMEZ PA - Department of Public Administration. This initiative express the need to increase, through a process of integrated training the skills of local authorities and police forces managers , in reference to the public contracts management in the “Convergence Objective” regions including Campania, Calabria, Apulia and Sicily in order to contrast and fight the corruption and infiltration of organized crime in public procurements. The main idea of the intervention can be synthesized in an attempt to assert the public contract as a "territory of law" and to work to ensure that each expenditure of public funds satisfies and follow correct procedures. That can make it impervious to corruption and infiltration of organized crime. Since public procurement in southern Italy is a very significant part of the local economy, the issue of greater control is a decisive element in the effective application of the law and, at the same time, a test of public administration reliability and efficiency . The involvement of the institutional partnership is at the origin of the project "Appalto Sicuro" with the aim of creating an integrated training course (traditional training and e-learning) for the “Convergence Objective regions”, in particular for managers and directors of Local authorities and Police forces in the area of public procurement in order to contrast and fight corruption and infiltration of organized crime. A good integrated education process is a good way to facilitate the implementation of all those interventions necessary and useful to ensure transparency in public procurement. Therefore they can develop the skills of the operators of Local Government charged of preparing public tender, following the correct procedures according to the law.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative can be considered innovative for two main reasons which are • for those who have been directly involved in the educational process; • For the way through which the training process has been completed. Regarding the first point, it should be noted that in the process of training and post training support different subjects have been working for a common goal, that is the contrast to the infiltration of organized crime in public procurements. They have been enabled to collaborate in the training process, so that the contrast method in public procurements would be stronger. Regarding the second point, it should be noticed how the process of formation and collaboration has been achieved. In fact the blended learning training method gave the possibility on large scale and with a proportionally reduced budget in order to structure learning communities both in classroom and e-learning, in order to work together and achieve the project objectives. The educational model proposed is part of a mid-point between teaching and learning model. The traditional learning and e-learning integration ensured synergy between them. In the virtual classroom has been very important the continuous meeting/interaction between teachers and users. The training platform employed for an easy and intuitive navigation, has allowed excellent results and a great integration among all participants specially trained. All that has helped the e-learning process and enriched the social process of construction and reconstruction of knowledge.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The priority of this initiative was the creation of an integrated training program on public procurement aimed to help professionals in the Objectives Convergence regions. The project was launched in February 2010. From February 2010 to December 2012 fifty training classrooms were carried out for a total of 1209 trained participants. As a result of such large number of participants in training activities and for the great importance of the training topics, in July 2013, the project has been refinanced. It is currently being evaluated further refinancing. For the realization of this activity, the following actions have been designed : Definition of a Scientific Committee It was set up a Scientific Committee with the task of chairing all project activities over the definition of guidelines for the implementation of the “Appalto Sicuro” Vademecum. Campaign to promote awareness and dissemination of results It has been called a promotional campaign that accompanied all activities of the project in different areas to give maximum emphasis to the initiative in the areas involved in the project. They were made 10 informative seminars of which 6 for the project start- up and 4 for the dissemination of results. Vademecum about “Appalto Sicuro” A particular attention was done in order to make clear, simple and stimulating the use of training materials. The project has developed many educational materials which sometimes have assumed the role of "teacher". The training has permitted that the participants may use on their own, learning and training materials specifically designed and structured for them The vademecum from the point of view of its content has been created by a team of experts, who have set up a list of contents based only on Procurement Code (Legislative Decree no. 163 of 2006 and all subsequent amendments and additions). From a teaching point of view of the Vademecum has been prepared with the creation of Learning Objects - standard SCORM multimedia- with systems of self-evaluation that allowed the project to provide users up to date teaching materials following the continuous changes in the law occurred during the teaching activities. The training plan The main topic of the training course covers on "Public Procurement" - Detailed analysis of the Code of public contracts for works, services and supplies in implementing Directives 2004/17 / EC and 2004/18 / EC and subsequent amendments and additions. Within the project there are three different training sessions: traditional education, distance learning, mentoring. The course is 60 hours in total according to the following distribution: 12 in the presence 48 distance learning. The training has been carried out with the use of multimedia tools which in a particular context such as that which concern this project, it is not sufficient to ensure effective formative effective results. The teacher took over, therefore, the role of training module coordinator, representing, therefore, the reference point of the participants along with the coordination structure and tutorial staff. A continuous teacher/student side by side. In order to promote the creation of a practice community regarding training activities subjects, the project has achieved a phase of coaching, following the end of the training activities. During the project, an expert on the course subject, ensured through the presence of a platform and a further assistance to all the participants in order a continuous updating.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Promoters of the initiative, the Ministry of the Home Affair and the Department of Public Administration, have identified FORMEZ PA, as the in-house department institution, the initiative organization actuator. FORMEZ PA for the implementation of the initiative involved the following organizations: Calabria Region, Apulia Region, the Region of Campania, Sicily Region, University of Palermo, ASL (local National Health hospitals), 18 Provinces of Convergence Objective Regions, 280 municipalities, Finance Italian Police, DIA (Anti-Mafia Investigation Department), National Park Authorities, ARPA (Regional Environment Protection Agency), Prefectures.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The initial project funding , which dates back to February 2010 amounted to 2,500,000.00 Euros. 50% of the contribution is paid by the European Structural Funds (ERDF) and the other 50% is covered by national resources (Revolving Fund of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance under Law 183/87). Following the positive project results and the continuous requests for participation in training activities, the project was refinanced in July 2013 for an amount of 965,700.00 Euros also covered as the previous loan. At present time it is being evaluated a further refinancing of approximately 240,000.00 Euros. The number of human resources employed on the project is about 80 units. Many companies also help in order to implement the project including: • Research Companies; • Consulting companies specialized in creating and managing web platforms (LCMS); • Specialized companies in events organizations.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The project proposes an integrated training program and themes which have received significant interest from the beneficiaries of the training. In particular, during the first two years of “Appalto Sicuro”, there has been a number of adhesions much larger than originally expected with various public institutions, such as the Province of Salerno, Campania Region, Region of Sicily which required a training for various Departments and Offices favoring the creation of transversal skills and an approach to networking. Specifically, in order to meet the demand for training, it was necessary to ensure the creation of 3 additional classrooms, compared to the 48 originally expected. The training methodology, proposed by "Appalto Sicuro," through the use of e-learning, encouraged the affirmation of an innovative teaching methods than the traditional lecture. The followed teaching approach, was claimed among the course beneficiaries. This is demonstrated by the growing number of students, who continue to use the platform for action learning and a continuous updating, promoted by the project at the end of their studies. The growing interest in taking a more efficient and effective public administration has lead some civil society actors to reward "Appalto Sicuro" as a good practice for growth and improvement of public administration.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Monitoring the pursuit of design strategies has been defined through the control activities, designed to certify which were the most affected areas by the mafia and therefore most interested in the realization of educational activities in order to contrast and fight organized crime. Therefore the realization of training classrooms in difficult areas with an high mafia intensity allowed to determine the attainment of strategies related to the project activities. Regarding the evaluation of training activities for the participants, questionnaires about the project have been structured in order to test the approval and a opinion on the training activities carried out. The satisfaction questionnaires results have shown, on the general judgment of the course, which were the most positive training methodologies and the best educational content provided.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main problems about the realization of project activities, concerned the skepticism with which many of the local authorities involved in the project, have expressed about it. In areas of high intensity mafia the idea of participating in a training course called "integrated training to fight corruption and infiltration of organized crime in public procurement", was seen by public institutions experts and Companies as something that could create problems in their work, or even to their own safety. Other issues still affect the approach with which some of the operators of Public Security considered education as purely theoretical and, therefore, ineffective in the fight against organized crime. This problem has been successfully overcome by one-side through the seminars that put the spotlight on current initiatives avoiding the fear of ' “abandonment” ', on the other side, through the involvement of multiple actors at local level: administrative and governmental institutions and the Police Forces.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
After over 36 months of activities of the project “Appalto Sicuro” satisfaction questionnaires analyzed showed: • A knowledge level of the project topics for about 1700 operators involved in the educational process; • A growing awareness, as evidenced by the feedback about the results of learning activities, on “importance of education” as a mean of administrative efficiency.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The Project “Appalto Sicuro”, launched in 2010, was funded by the ERDF as part of a specific program to promote the rule of law and security in the under-developed regions of Italy through the involvement of local institutions and the Police. These areas are characterized as areas in which the socio-economic and cultural diversity is more influenced by organized crime presence, especially in the context of public procurements, seen as a way of economic territory control. The training proposal is oriented to a sustainable teaching approach. The use of a web-based platform for the delivery of 80% of training provided hours, greatly reduces the cost of realization of the entire training . In addition, 48 hours of e-learning are spread over a period of time that allows the student to be able to follow the educational activities without disturbing their professional commitments. The same project as a result of the brilliant performance during the first two years , was refinanced for another 36 months always by the ERDF. The Project goal is to strengthen the Public Administration capacity and efficiency in the context of public procedures. Excluding the educational contents, related to the normative procedures of two EU directives on public procurement, the training methodology proposed, can be easily adapted to different scenarios: European and international. It is not a case that the European Union has established specific programs for the fight against corruption and strengthening the rule of law.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The experience of the project "Appalto Sicuro" through the presence of educational activities, the communication and media campaign achieved, has facilitated the claim of "legal" behavior and the birth of a social conscience on which the Public Administration can build an improvement path of improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of its action. The increasing autonomy of expenditure by peripheral public administrations, requires greater expertise in the public procurement sector, in order to create the conditions for a harmonious and integrated area development. The need to create these conditions is evidenced by a high participation of the Local Public Authorities, the involvement of different departments of the same institution. However, it is to be considered, that the request for information and new request of participation about the Project "Appalto Sicuro" also outside the eligibility areas, shows and underline the concrete results and the good skills offered by the project.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Formez PA - Centro servizi, assistenza, studi e formazione
Institution Type:   Public Agency  
Contact Person:   Eugenio Urbani
Title:   Chief Executive Project  
Telephone/ Fax:   +39-06-84893459
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Viale Marx, 15
Postal Code:   00137
City:   Rome
State/Province:   Lazio Region

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