Process innovation in the development of the control system in local authorities
The reform process that involved public administrations for over twenty years (Anessi Pessina, 2000; Pozzoli, 2005; Borgonovi, Anessi Pessina and Bianchi, 2018), is related to various aspects of management, including internal controls of local authorities. Of course, the innovative scope of the reform mainly derives by its adoption, rather than by the norms. Consequently, the research question that guides this work is: how can innovation be pursued by local authorities when developing internal control systems? This, in order to overcome the “watertight compartments” logic and the mere compliance that traditionally characterize the Italian authorities called to move a step towards a managerial approach.
We examine the case of the Municipality of Lecce, which was involved in the development of certain types of internal controls provided by the current legislation. The implementation followed a synergic approach that allowed: (i) a rational use of data and information, (ii) the conscious involvement of the municipal sectors, (iii) the development of reporting related to controls starting from a single programming document, (iv) the support towards the pursuit of purposes additional to those specifically developed by the control system.
As further development of the study we argue a greater political involvement in the use of data to support the definition of public policies, as well as the design and development of a software that incorporates the functionality of the system tested in order to strengthen it.
Keywords: Process innovation, control system, local authorities.