The municipal governance of Local Public Utilities
Public Governance issues are a focal point in the debate about Local Public Utilities (LPUs). In the last decades the organizations providing Public Services in European countries are experiencing key changes in their governance and control systems. The exponential growth of shared entities managing local public utilities resulted in a new role for local authorities, which now have to lead real business holdings of public limited companies delivering services to citizens. The Italian picture is characterized by an odd dichotomy between the mission of the local authority and the activities of the LPUs. Indeed, local governments need to keep LPUs under control and to be able to define how to provide services, in keeping with the principles of social rights and equity. The research aims at verifying the state of the art of Italian local authorities governance on their LPUs by means of a semi-structured survey with multiple-choice questions. The questionnaire has been submitted to a selected sample of Italian local authorities with more than 20,000 inhabitants (515 entities).
The main result of this study confirms the previous research: local authorities need to develop a structured multidimensional information system in order to better evaluate and control the competitive, social and environmental performances of their LPUs. To date, few local authorities use governance mechanisms to control their group of LPUs, while the vast majority lacks the required tools and consequently cannot apply appropriate governance on LPUs entities.
Fissi S., Gori E., Romolini A. (2013), La governance dei comuni sui servizi pubblici locali, Management Control, Special Issue 2, pp. 87-110, Doi: 10.3280/MACO2013-002004