In recent years, public administration reform and the increase in information requests from citizens has drawn attention to the issue of reporting information (other than ‘financial’). Local healthcare organizations, as well as public administrations, have been affected by these developments. This paper presents the results of content analysis conducted on social reports published by Italian local healthcare organizations from 2009-2013 with the purpose of verifying the actual significance of the elements that according to the literature and standard setters, should define the scope and content of social reporting. The study highlights the fact that the healthcare organizations analysed tend to focus on the type and volume of the services provided, while neglecting the connection between predefined objectives and actual performance – as well as stakeholder engagement in the social reporting process. Social reports have the role therefore of being merely a tool for unidirectional communication by the healthcare organization to its stakeholders.
Keywords: Social reporting, local healthcare organizations, accountability