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The data available in OpenCivitas web portal were collected through questionnaires submitted to local authorities and integrated with data from other official sources (Ministry of the Interior, ISTAT, MIUR, Revenue Agency, etc.) 

In this way, a new database was built allowing to analyse in detail outputs, inputs, management methods and organizational choices adopted by local authorities in service provision. 

What are standard expenditure needs?

Standard expenditure needs measure a local authority’s financial need considering territorial features and sociodemographic characteristics of resident population. 

For Municipalities it is a coefficient that represents the share of expenditure attributable to each municipality, given that 1 stands for the overall expenditure for a specific service. 

For the Wider Area Authorities, standard needs are indexes of financial needs expressed in monetary value. 

What is meant by historical expenditure? 

The historical expenditure is the actual amount spent by a municipality in one year to provide services to citizens and is calculated on the basis of the information collected through questionnaires. 

For the municipal sector historical expenditure does not include user contributions and interest expense.  

For the Wider Area Authorities, the historical expenditure takes into account the fundamental shares of expenditure possibly accounted for in other missions and including labour costs net of expenses for natural disaster and off-balance sheet debts. For the identification of of the historical expenditure of the Administration, contributions to public finance have also been excluded. 

What is Municipalities’ standard expenditures?

The Standard expenditure of a local authority corresponds to its current expenditure obtained by multiplying overall historical expenditure of all local authorities by the allotment coefficient relating to each local authority's standard expenditure need. 

How is the total standard expenditure of municipalities calculated? 

The total standard expenditure is calculated by aggregating the distribution coefficients of the individual services according to the procedure provided by the CTFS (Technical Commission Standard Requirements) and does not correspond to the sum of the standard expenses of each service.

How is the total standard needs of the Wider Area Authorities calculated?  

 In the Wider Area Authorities the total standard needs is the sum of the standard needs of each service.

What are Basic Levels of service (Italian acronym LEP)? 

The LEPs are indicators relating to the enjoyment of civil and social rights that must be determined and guaranteed, on the national territory, with the function of protecting economic unity and social cohesion, removing economic and social imbalances and providing policy guidance to regions and local authorities when drawing up their budgets and carrying out the tasks assigned to them. Their determination is the exclusive competence of the State pursuant to art. 117 of the Constitution, the principles of which are essentially reflected in the right of all citizens to health and social care, education, social security benefits for workers, etc. 

What are service targets? 

Service targets represent a kind of  virtual minimum level of service for all municipalities and in this sense should be considered as steps towards the LEPs. 

How is the database updated?

The correction of errors and changes requested by local authorities take place periodically with the support of the documentation provided by the authorities themselves. From 2015 to the current date, the database of standard needs has been updated through the information requested by submitting five questionnaires that have contributed to building a multi-year database that includes the following reference years: 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The update of the database to the year 2018 took place during 2020 with the FC50U questionnaire. The data for the year 2019 are currently being acquired through the FC60U questionnaire.  For the Wider Area Authorities, the update of the database to the year 2018 took place during 2020 with the FP20U questionnaire. 

What are the functions of the Wider Area Authorities analysed? 

The functions available in OpenCivitas for the Wider Area Authorities are:  

  • Administration 
  • Territory  
  • Environment  
  • Education  
  • Transportation  
  • Provincial police  
  • Single contracting entity  
  • Equal opportunities  
  • Exclusive functions Metropolitan cities  
  • Exclusive functions Mountain provinces  

Are data always comparable?

Since 2017, methodological innovations have been introduced, first concerning the Social Sector, Road Access and Territory and the Waste Disposal Service and, in 2018, the Nurseries service. Therefore, from the year in which the methodological change took place, the results of these functions and of the total aggregate are not comparable with previous years. The 2017 and 2018 years are however comparable with each other except for the service of Nurseries and the Total Functions.

For more details, see the methodological notes “Aggiornamento e revisione della metodologia dei fabbisogni standard dei Comuni per il 2021”. (Update and revision of the methodology to determine Municipalities' standard expenditure needs of 2021) e Aggiornamento e revisione della metodologia dei fabbisogni standard dei Comuni per il 2022. 

Are the computations related to the Wider Area Authorities comparable? 

The computations for 2018 are not comparable with previous years due to the change in the methodology underlying the determination of standard needs approved by the CTFS (Technical Committee for Standard Needs) on 2 November 2021) In addition, for the year 2018 the functions related to Procuring entity, Equality of Opportunity Exclusive Metropolitan City functions, Exclusive Mountain Province functions have not been activated for several authorities. 

Why do we compare standard expenditure with historical expenditure in municipalities? 

To allow citizens to assess the level of historical expenditure for each service provided by the local authority. The difference in euro is positive when the historical expenditure is higher than the standard, it is negative when the standard expenr ditu e is higher than the historical.

Why do we compare standard needs with historical expenditure in the Wider Area Authorities?  

To allow citizens to assess the level of historical expenditure of each service offered by their authority. The difference expressed in euros is positive when the historical expenditure is higher than the standard needs, negative when the standard needs is higher than the historical expenditure. 

What does it mean when a municipality has a historical expenditure above the standard? 

A historical expenditure exceeding the standard indicates that the expenditure incurred by a local authority is higher than the average expenditure in municipalities with the same number of inhabitants.

Is it possible to assess a local authority’s efficiency based on the difference between historical and standard expenditure? 

The difference between standard and historical expenditure is not enough to assess the efficiency of a local authority. The difference can depend on the efficiency in providing services, the quality, and the quantity of services offered. 

What does it mean if a local authority offers a greater amount of services than the standard? 

An amount of services greater than the standard indicates that the municipality provides more services than those averagely provided by other local authorities with the same number of inhabitants. 

What is meant by standard level of services? 

The standard level of services of each municipality is the amount of services averagely provided by local authorities with similar characteristics in relation to each function.

What are load factors? 

The load factors refer to exogenous components that are not directly attributable to the discretionary choices of local governments, but are directly linked to the demand expressed by other higher-level Administrations and other actors outside the Local Authority. 

What are the levels of services provided? 

The levels of the services provided measure the services provided by a municipality in relation to the average of the municipalities with the same number of inhabitants. 

What are the determining variables?

For municipalities, the determinants of standard expenditure needs measure the weight of the variables used to determine the overall expenditure needs and each service. Therefore these indicators highlight the local authority's characteristics, mainly affecting its standard expenditure needs. Regarding municipalities, the variables used in the evaluation of standard exèpenditure needs are 66 divided into 15 homogeneous groups. For provinces and metropolitan districts, 13 variables contribute to the determination of standard expenditure needs. For the Wider Area Authorities, the determinants of standard needs measure, for each authority, the weight of the variables used to determine the overall needs and the individual services. These indicators highlight, therefore, which are the characteristics of the authority that predominantly generate its standard needs. 

In total 28 variables contribute to the determination of the standard needs. 

What is the Municipal Solidarity Fund (FSC)? 

The Municipal Solidarity Fund (FSC) was established by the Stability Law no. 228/2012 and began to be applied in 2015. It is an equalization fund through which the needs and fiscal capacity are allocated to local authorities. This tool allows overcoming historical expenditure by equalizing payments based on standardized criteria.  

When will the FSC become fully operational? 

The Fund should have achieved 100% of the equalization by 2021 by allocating increasing shares of resources. However, the 2019 stability law and the subsequent Decree Law No. 124/2019 postponed the deadline to 2030, increasing by 5% per year the resources allocated to municipalities. 

How the funds of the Wider Area Authorities are allocated?

Paragraph 783 of Article 1 of Law No. 178 of 2020 provides that "From the year 2022, current contributions and funds allocated to the provinces and metropolitan cities of Ordinary Statute Regions converge into two specific funds to be allocated taking into account progressively the difference between standard needs and fiscal capacity".    

In spite of the establishment of two distinct funds, one for provinces and the other for metropolitan cities, the functioning mechanism of both is the same and allows a gradual transition towards a distribution based on standard needs and fiscal capacity. The progression of equalization is coordinated with the increase in vertical resources as established by Paragraph 785-bis of Article 1 of Law No. 178 of 2020. 

The operating mechanism is based on two types of allocation:  

  • the horizontal redistribution of the net contribution to public finance according to standard needs and fiscal capacity 
  • the distribution of the vertical contribution on the basis of standard needs only.