PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: THE REMAINS OF THE PANDEMIC
Sabino Cassese, Judge Emeritus of the Constitutional Court; Igor De Biasio, CEO of Arexpo; Marco Fioravanti, Mayor of Ascoli Piceno; Alberto Gambescia, Sole director of EUtalia (Ministry of Economy and Finance), editor of the Italian Journal of Public Management; Christian Malangone, General Director of the Municipality of Milan. Moderator: Salvatore Taormina, Coordinator of the Institutions and Public Administration Department of the Foundation for Subsidiarity.
The worldwide pandemic outbreak has been a dramatic test for the social, economic and institutional resilience of our country. The Public Administration, institutionally required to guarantee the functioning of offices and services throughout the country, had to cope with an unprecedent situation. Our public sector found itself totally unprepared to cope with such an emergency, mercilessly revealing all its cultural, organisational and structural limits, causing, even among non-experts, a malaise and a debate known for decades as well as reform attempts that have been going for more than twenty-five years. At the same time, it is precisely the challenge of the pandemic that has led to the emergence of a leading role for the individual, in terms of motivation and competence, as a founding element of the value recognisable in the public service, as was evident for the health service, as well as an experience of smart working capable of restoring centrality and concreteness, albeit amid lights and shadows, to the question of the meaning and usefulness of public work and, finally, a rediscovered relevance of the relationship with the Third Sector from the point of view of co-designing interventions. Considering the launch of the RRNP’s actions in the area of civil servants’ training and recruitment and the destabilising effect of Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine, it is legitimate to wonder what is actually left, slightly less than two years later, of that conscious drive towards change in our public administration.