I sistemi di controllo interno negli enti locali: i casi tedesco e italiano a confronto


The research analyses the development of internal control systems in German and Italian municipalities. The modernization process of public administrations promoted by the New Public Management movement has implied worldwide the adoption of private sector derived techniques and tools in order to improve public management. According to the literature, the adoption of internal control systems, together with the improvement of accounting and auditing techniques, can help to increase the level of efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and transparency of public sector organizations. Moreover, internal control systems are a useful tool for the ethical execution of operations and for corruption prevention, which are two keystone for public sector. The reform trajectories followed by the countries have been different. In particular, the reform process was slow in “Rechtsstaat” or legal state countries, like Germany and Italy. The reform process in these two countries, which are the object of this study, started later as in the other OECD countries and implied the adaptation of the proposed tool and techniques to the existing administrative system. Moreover, in the two countries the process of innovation started and has been more advanced at the local government level. The municipality level was therefore chosen as the object of the study. A second reason for this choice lies in the fact that the municipality level allowed a homogeneous comparison between the two countries. Indeed, they have a different state structure, Italy is a unitary state and Germany is a federal republic; the lowest level of government is the one that allows a homogeneous comparison. The study is aimed at: a) describing the characteristics (objectives and components) of internal control systems in German and Italian municipalities, compared to private sector standards concerning internal control systems; b) comparing the internal control systems of the two countries in order to identify their similarities and differences. Considering that the ethical execution of operations and the prevention of corruption are two keystones for public sector, one additional purpose was to ascertain if these need produce effects on the internal control system adopted. The research is mainly based on the analysis of the laws and regulations issued on this topic and uses an internationally accepted standard – the CoSO model for internal control systems – as a framework for the analysis and the comparison between the two countries. As in both countries the municipalities have a high level of autonomy, two case study, two towns, were selected to complete the general analysis and to deal with the third objective of the research. The selected towns, one Italian and one German, have in fact undergone a process of restructuring and of improvement of their administration, which is aimed at dealing with the problem of ethics (Italian town) and corruption (German town). The analysis conducted shows that both countries are with different approaches and different solutions moving towards the international standards

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