of legal sources is quite complex since we have the enactment of two
parallel delegations contained in Law 59/97: one for the legislative
decrees (from which the one stop shop originated) and that of article
20, paragraph 8. Fortunately there seems to be no contrast between these
acts. If there had been any contrast, it is unclear which act would
have prevailed. If it is true that the Legislative decree prevails on
the regulations it also true that art. 20 of law 59/97 aims at controlling
the subject by means of regulations.
The right solution is probably the following: since the introduction
of the one stop shop is higly innovative, the Goverment has preferred
to intervene initially with a legally binding act, using the delegation
in art. 1 of Law 59/97. The next rule, based on article 20, paragraph
8, has overlapped with art. 23 and with the successive articles of Legislative
Since the power of delegification has been exercised, the new text prevails
automatically over the previous one (and does not integrate with it)
albeit of a higher rank; because it governs the entire subject area,
articles 23-27 are all abrogated, if no explicitly stated otherwise.
The recent legislation: the contents.
the above mentioned decrees establish and what discretions do they allow
for? I think that there are no contrasts between legislative decrees
and ministerial regulations. Nevertheless it is important to say that
in the future, law making power will be sufficient to change D.P.R.
Legislative decree 112/98 and DPR 447 provide for:
a) The unification of the proceedings and the possible decision making
b) The direct involvement of the administrations (articles 4 and 7 of
DPR 447) whose task is, according to current legislation, to issue “acts
granting authorization and permission”; the function of these administrations
is to guarantee public interests, such as safety or the safuguarding
of standards and limitations regarding public lands, nature, seismic
zones, water supplies, forests and environmentally sensitive areas,
as well as places of important historical, artistic and archeological
c) General and “problem avoiding” computer based information
on the procedures to be followed;
d) computer based management of the information on initiated proceedings.
However I believe that a more widespread use of telematics is necessary:
in fact it paves the way to improvements in general efficiency without
any need for new laws.
We can therefore identify two important limits in the set of rules:
1) The three aims concern the settlement of productive assetts, and
so they do not concern private citizens.
2) Legislative Decree 112 and DPR 447 do not enforce a real computer
based management of the proceedings. Therefore: paper procedure is still
possible with all the steps being subsequently transmitted to an information
system that could be modelled on the computer based record outlined
by DPR 20 October 1998, No. 428.
It seems to me though, that the computer based record, separately considered,
is not in itself an objective that satisfies those who pursue the best
Computer based information systems are certainly important to citizens
(and to Public administration) but, if pursued in a paper world, it
could represent a burdening of the procedures.
DPR 428 is not very clear on this but there should be a link with the
aims set in art. 2, paragraph 2 of DPR 447/98. The inevitable consequence
would be a rule according to which no paper document should be moved
from one desk to another if the employee responsible for the computer
based record has not taken note in order to simultaneously activate
the computer based information, which would mean a further burden.
The main gap in the law, which is that it limits advantages only to
productive assets, has to be filled as soon as possible, by extending
the system of the one stop shop to all administrative procedures and
therefore to all citizens.
This objective requires a more thorough use of delegification as to
article 20 of Law 59/97, which provides for the extension of the one
stop shop system, in particular to municipal administrations (for
example the granting of building permission to all those who are
entitled to it). I believe that, by means of telematics, the one stop
shop system should be a decentralised service, also applied to
procedures where jurisdiction lies with the state, the region or
province, without necessarily involving the local authority.
Bringing the citizen closer to public administrations should be the
general objective, and not only in filing procedures regarding local
government. When we book a flight (or so I'm told) the booking procedure
goes through a data elaboration centre located in India.
Why then shouldn't documentation regarding motorcars or firearms licences,
or building plans for a secondary school be initiated in a local authority,
and then processed by another organisation? The chief aim should be
to meet the needs of the citizen according to responsibilities laid
down by the law.
As regards both the resolutions of the Presidential Decree 447 and these
wider projects, it is clear that telematics must now play a more central
role: I believe the time is ripe to eliminate paper documents and to
set up "single telematic window in the most complete sense, i.e.
a datacommunications workflow that begins within one administration
and links directly to other administrations that need to be involved
in the procedure". Such a solution, which is essentially what can
be termed teleadministration (first conceived in 1978 and perfected
in 1991-93), resolves every possible problem (no extra protocol procedures
are necessary) because the telenetworking system itself automatically
creates the information to be protocolled; the question of the physical
location of windows is irrelevant, since the networks make the distance
factor redundant and it will no longer be necessary to come to Cagliari
to apply for documents whose issuing is normally the competence of the
region or the state.
The one stop shop and the telematic one stop shop. Teleadministration
As I have stated, new technology enables us to find new solutions.
The difficulty lies in its application, or rather adapting new technologies
to law and the law to new technology and then finding effective solutions
with the available means.
One of the first suggestions for effective modernisation that I had
the task to formulate was to combine all the filing procedures of any
given documenation into one single public administration. This is the
basic principle of teleadministration.
However, it is important to note:
Teleadministration is based on concepts which were first elaborated
20 years ago: electronic form, computer networking management of procedures
and electronic signatures identifying the employee responsible. It has
its origins in a paper I presented at the five yearly conference of
the Italian Supreme Court of Appeal in 1978, in which I first set forth
the hypothesis of an administrative act in electronic form, telematic
procedure and electronic signatures.
The word teleadministration was adopted later, in 1991, at another conference
of the Court of Appeal, and in 1993 the main principles of this new
administration management philosophy were laid down.
There are 10 principles, but I will mention here only those that concern
the one stop shop.
PRESENTS A REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS AT A PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OFFICE,WHICH
IS THEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENTIRE PROCEDURE
-ONLY ONE FILE IS OPENED,IRRESPECTIVE OF THE NUMBER OF SEPARATE ADMINISTRATIONS
-AT ALL STAGES OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE, WHETHER INTERNAL TO THE
OFFICE OR THOSE REQUIRING EXTERNAL (NO IMPEDIMENT) AUTHORISATION, A
SIMPLE ORDER TO PROCEED IS SENT TO THE OFFICE MANAGER WHO WILL THEN
EFFECT THE NEXT STAGE FROM HIS OWN TERMINAL, THUS BECOMING RESPONSIBLE
FOR THAT PHASE OF THE PROCEDURE
-ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION ALREADY STORED IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION FILES
WILL BE ACCESSED ELECTRONICALLY, WITHOUT THE CITIZEN NEEDING TO DEAL
PERSONALLY WITH DIFFERENT OFFICES
(the bringing into effect and bypassing of article 18, paragraph 2 and
3, of law 241/90).
other principles, but the first three in particular clearly state that
teleadministration and one stop shop are practically the same thing
and came into existence in 1991-1993.
Besides, it would have been absurd if such a new and at the time revolutionary
solution were merely to reproduce in electronic form, all the defects
of a paper office.
By eliminating paper altogether (even though it may have many advantages,
such as being less tiring on the eyes), we can be sure of smooth data
workflow: only electronic signals travel along wires and therefore only
electronic documents will be accepted in the new system. Furthermore,
having sacrificed paper on the alter of workflow, it would be insane
not to restructure the system so as to maximise available potential.
It was for this reason that the idea of a citizen dealing simultaneously
with various offices was excluded; as was the possibility that workflow
be carried out using electronic mail, which has at least two disadvantages:
1) Documents are duplicated every time it is used, creating problems
of exact reference ; 2) it interrupts the line of "one telematic
procedure" at the server used by the competent administration.
Legislative decree 112 and DPR 447 between innovation and stagnation.
The problem of relationships between different administrations.
Why did Legislative decree 112 and ministerial regulation 447
also provide for a one stop shop system in the field of paper administration
It was considered important not to delay the practical advantages for
the entrepreneur citizen, where teleadministration coming into full
effect might require a longer period of time. The "Confindustria"
( Italian Business Confederation) urged the government to push through
legislation on the one stop shop and the state obliged: by May 27th
1999 all municipalities were to be able to deal with applications for
setting up productive businesses (2 months for the regulation DPR 447/98
to come into effect + 90 days= 27 May).
It is not simply a question of payment due dates: the entrepreneur citizen
has a well defined legal status: "simple legitimate interests are
his main concern, so any demand for compensation for damages incurred
would probably not be considered; however, letter h of paragraph 5 of
article 20 of Law 59/97 does state that money compensation will be paid
for delays caused by public administrations: a regulation which embodies
the guiding principle for delegifying regulatory power, which has not
however been adopted in the issuing of the regulation concerning the one stop shop.
Leaving aside worries for the 27th May deadline, let us look at other
aspects of this innovation.
The citizen must deal with only one administration, which will carry
out the whole procedure. In the provisions examined, the said administration
is the local municipality.
And since these are the most geographically widespread administration
in the country, it is destined to become the one stop shop for all procedures.
Presidential decree 447 is , in my view, only a starting point.
The provisions that we are examining have merely initiated the simplification
process, giving the local authorities an extra burden, which will require
greater interaction between public administrations: no light burden,
and one from which not even self certification procedures provided for
by article 6 and 7 of Presidential Decree 447 are exempt. Such procedures
will require a series of checking stages to be carried out by the administrations
But will all this work without telematics? Can the often inadequate
local administrations really replace the post-man citizen in transmitting
all the required documentation to the administrations charged with granting
authorisations and nulla ostas?
From the viewpoint of information technology and telematic networks,
the new legislation is a breath of fresh air since it obliges people
to use a network (internet?) to register and start up a business. Another
clearly positive step is the moving of documentation from one administraration
to another using a network system. (I believe that in Trieste they already
have such a system in place, whereby an application is forwarded telematically,
via internet, with the sender using a digital signature as identifation).
But May 27th is near and there is bound to be a measure of disappointment,
except where the following conditions pertain:
1) The municipality
has little need to collaborate with other administrations, because there
do not exist serious limitations or restrictions as regards territorial
environment, seismic danger, hydrogeological conditions, environmentally
protected areas of forest, which often mean that they are assigned artistic,
archaeological or historical importance.
2) In other cases, two conditions must be met:
a)The municipality must have the will and ability to implement telematic
b) they have to be able to interact with other administrations likewise
equipped to dialogue telematically.
pessimism if these conditions were not to be met?
I base my fears on a comparable experience.
241(1990), art. 18, intended to facilitate procedures for the citizen,
eliminating certificates and going beyond self-certification: it would
be sufficient to state that all data was registered with another administration.
But this never worked; indeed it proved necessary to bring back self-certification,
It is evident that only a telematic system can make the one stop shop
function effectively. Otherwise Decree 447 runs the risk of paralysing
most of the municipalities that are still far from being efficient:
without the assistance of the citizen post-man, the municipal authorities
will be bogged down with extra problems that will simply slow down the
speed of proceedings even further.
system, on the other hand, that works according to the principles of
teleadministration, tends to unify into one single procedure what is
today a series of connected procedures. The concept of administrative
procedure will eventually be replaced by this unifying administrative
Pessimism turns to optimism though if we consider that many of the more
progressive municipalities see the challenge as a kind of competition
to see who can go furthest beyond the minimum requirements of the new
legislation, towards more complete telematic management.
I am hopeful
that teleadministration will become a reality through the one stop shop
system: not limiting itself to the minimum innovation requirements set
by the law, but that it will develop its technical advantages and translate
these into advantages for the non entrepeneur citizen too.
Preventing the one stop shop from becoming a computerised tower of Babel.
There is one major worry concerning the overall one stop shop system:
if this danger is not taken into account, there may be several simultaneous
overlapping solutions which if left running too late, will require great
expense and energy to put right.
Every public administration has its own self organising autonomy, and
so could adopt different computer systems, making it then difficult
to collaborate with other administrations involved in the same procedure.
The single telematic window could well fail as a direct result of the
variety of simultaneous concrete solutions adopted.
What might happen: a large municipality or a group of smaller municipalities
may choose one type of telematic system, say type A, while others might
opt for different systems, B,C etc.
All these municipalities will however need to dialogue with the same
regional or central government administrations whose job it is to safeguard
specific public interests.
If the rudimentary
electronic mail system should be avoided ( I have indicated above why
this would be problematic), the central ( regional or state) offices
that need to dialogue with several "municipalities" will have
to use the same interface software for all local authorities:
it would be unrealistic to expect a functionary to learn 10,20, or 100
different systems, even if the final objectives are similar.
This would happen because with telematic management of procedures, according
to regulations set to make the one stop shop operate and those aimed
to bring the citizen closer to public administrations, a central administrative
office would technically become a terminal for those on the periphery,
and not vice versa. It may seem strange, but new organisational strategies
are needed if administrations and citizens are to be brought closer
We trust that this message will be heard by those able to take action.
(Until we can guarantee global solutions- in the working dialogue with
local administrations it will perhaps be preferable to resort to the
imperfect system of electronic mail).
from university research or other research sources often have unpredictable
destinies: they may lie for decades before being taken up seriously;
or they may be adopted enthusiastically - with blind regard for the
final objective- and hence risk not paying due attention to those problems
that need to be addressed from the start in order to reach the final
I will conclude
by saying that this danger of a tower of Babel for one stop shops should
not manifest itself in Sardinia if, as is hoped, the Bill of Law presented
by the 8th regional reform group, is passed. In order to guarantee the
complete computerisation of local administrations throughout all of
the regional area, the Bill provides for the creation of a consortium
between the Region of Sardinia and all other administrative boards in
order to oversee and direct all decisions that affect different administrations.
for your attention.