On June 10, 2021, Italy enacted Decree Law No. 80 of 2021 (D.L. No. 80) to support the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) through urgent measures to strengthen the administrative capacity of public agencies and the efficiency of the judicial system. This followed the passage of Decree Law No. 77 of 2021, which contained provisions establishing the governance structure for the NRRP and measures aimed at simplifying certain procedures related to the approval and carrying out of various projects under the plan.
The NRRP is “an intervention that aims at repairing the economic and social damage caused by the [COVID-19] pandemic crisis, contributing to addressing the structural weaknesses of the Italian economy, and leading the country along a path of ecological and environmental transition.”
D.L. No. 80 was converted into law, with amendments, by Law No. 6 of August 6, 2021. The following are some of the key aspects of the decree law.
Special Procedures for Staff Hiring and Assignments in Implementing the NRRP
The new legislation authorizes hiring additional personnel to perform tasks directly related to implementing projects included in the NRRP. (D.L. No. 80, art. 1(1), § 1.) The legislation makes the regulations more flexible by allowing the recruitment of staff under special employment measures, including contracts for temporary staff and collaboration contracts that may last longer than 36 months but not beyond December 31, 2026. (Art. 1(2), § 1.) Such contracts must specify the NRRP project to which the respective employee is assigned. (Art. 1(2), § 2.)
The Integrated Activity and Organization Plan
Public agencies, with the exception of educational institutions, must adopt the Integrated Activity and Organization Plan to ensure the quality and transparency of administrative activities, improve the quality of services provided to citizens and companies, and achieve a permanent and progressive simplification and reengineering of administrative processes. (Art. 6(1).)
Measures to Increase the Hiring of Youth
Additionally, the legislation contains provisions for fostering the professional training and work experience of young people in public administration through apprenticeship contracts. The law appropriates 700,000 euros (about US$823,723) for 2021 and 1 million euros (about US$1,176,747) from 2022 onward for that purpose. (Art. 2(1).)
Supplementary Functions for Italy’s National School of Administration
The legislation introduces amendments to Legislative Decree No. 178 of 2009, which reorganized the Higher School of Public Administration (SSPA, in Italian). Among other things, the amendments expand the SSPA’s functions to include promoting the qualifications, retraining, and professional-skills development of public agency staffers during their entire careers. (Art. 5(1)(a).)
Recruitment of Additional Staff for Digital Transformation Activities
The decree contains additional measures for recruiting staff for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers to oversee the implementation of the NRRP. In particular, these measures relate to implementing the plan’s digital transition goals and strengthening the Agency for Digital Italy (Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale). (Art. 10(1).)
The new legislation appropriates funds for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers to implement activities related to the digitalization, innovation, and security of public administration in the context of the NRRP and to provide adequate support for the digital transformation of central and local public agencies. The Agency for Digital Italy is authorized to enter into employment contracts for a limited time, which must not extend beyond the date the NRRP is completed and must be no later than December 31, 2026. (Art. 10(4).)
Extra Personnel for the Justice SystemOne aim of the new law is to ensure the timely resolution of any administrative and judicial conflicts caused by implementation of NRRP projects. The new legislation therefore directs the Ministry of Justice — which may avail itself of the transparency site Formez PA — to conduct a hiring process for the 2021–2024 period for a maximum contingent of 16,500 posts, under the temporary contract format, for a maximum duration of 31 months. Under this procedure, the Court of Cassation may hire a maximum of 400 workers to assist with the backlog in civil cases. In order to resolve a case backlog going back to December 31, 2019, administrative justice offices can hire an additional 326 workers. (Art. 11(1).) Under the new legislation, the ordinary judiciary can hire an additional 5,410 employees under contracts with a maximum duration of 36 months. (Art. 13(1).)