Information Technology Reference
In-Depth Information
website) in the 28 days of the consultation lifespan. The flow of messages increased
on given days, but it always kept above 20,000 messages a day. Citizens submitted
an array of complaints, from throwing out uneaten hospital food to leaving the
heating on during the summer. But the most recurrent theme focused on the outlay
required to maintain Italy's political class and their related cost, like chauffeured
cars and privileged pension plans. The responses reflected the growing frustration
of those who felt overtaxed by elected representatives, who many perceived as hav-
ing placed their own interests before those of the public good.
The range of variability demonstrates the absence of a common policy on online
consultations. Ministries consulted citizens in full independence. It is exactly for
this last reason that, in November 2012, the government drafted a series of guide-
lines to be used for future online public consultations held by central public admin-
istrations. The project was interrupted because of the fall of the government in
December and the subsequent elections.
As already mentioned, in June 2013, the government led by Enrico Letta
launched two large online public consultations. The first was dedicated to con-
stitutional reforms; the second addressed the topic of foreign investments in the
Italian market. In both cases, the website hosting the consultations (and the staff
that worked on it) was drawn directly from the project elaborated in 2012. As far as
the first consultation is concerned, two questionnaires were available. To the first,
a shorter version, 131,676 citizens answered. Another 71,385 answered the lon-
ger version of the questionnaire. The second consultation was linked to the report
Destinazione Italia .” This consisted of 50 measures whose goal was to reform a
broad range of sectors, from tax to employment and civil justice to research, and to
develop investment-focused policies to promote Italy at the international level. The
consultation was opened right after the presentation of the report, to give Italian
citizens, foreign business communities, business associations, trade unions, and
experts at various levels a say on its contents. The government committed to trans-
lating these opinions into the report and, thus, into provisions and laws and to
begin monitoring their implementation on a weekly basis.
4.6 An ineffective (Digital) Democracy: Scopes and
target of Web-Based Participatory experiments
Having described the most relevant experiences of digital participation in Italy,
this section is aimed at evaluating the success of such initiatives and expounding
the reasons behind their underwhelming results. Five reasons will be considered
in evaluating the still ineffective digital democracy in Italy. The first and second
reasons involve the scope of experiments in digital participation and the target of
participants, respectively. A third reason relates to the current state of the Italian
digital market; the fourth reason links to the digital divide in public administra-
tions; the fifth argument concerns the budgetary bounds on public bodies.
Search WWH ::

Custom Search