What has “performance management” produced in Italian Public Administration at a distance of 10 years since Legislative Decree no. 150/2009? The puzzle of results is divided into multiple disappointing experiences (abandoned attempts, compliance applications, disordered implementations, realisation for their own sake) and a few but significant success stories, variously spread out across the various sectors of Public Administration.

To ensure that pursuing the expected performance, by the employees and management (individual performance) by means of the organisational units they belong to (organisational performance) and while keeping the promises of political governance (institutional performance), does not turn into disordered, compliance and self-referential activities, the performance must be standardised and finalised towards Public Value: it must be given a direction and a sense. Public Value should guide the performance of the authorities, becoming their horizon and the “pole star” both in the programming phase as well as the measuring and assessment phases, acting as a meta-indicator, a sort of “performance of the performances”:

  • in the programming phase, Public Value should inspire “institutional performance” (or expected impacts), these should guide the expected organisational performance which, in turn, should guide the individual performance expected;
  • in the measuring and evaluating phase, there should firstly be a quantification, followed by an assessment, of the contribution of the individual performances in achieving the organisational performances, the contribution of these in achieving the “institutional performances” and the contribution of the institutional performances, and in general of the different levels of performance, to the Public Value generated or consumed.

To increase the probability of creating Public Value and to reduce the risk of consuming and destroying it (Public Disvalue), Public Administrations could adopt the “Public Value Pyramid” instrument. This is based on a pyramid-type logic of progressive value accumulation centred on the combined manoeuvre of the indicators contained in the various performance levels: Health of Resources, Efficiency, Effectiveness and Impact.


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