The Procurement Code is an extremely important body of legislation for today’s Italy, especially in light of the efforts required of the country by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). The code’s reform, outlined in law no. 78/2022, contains some significant additions, the first and most prominent of which concerns the role of the State Council directly charged with drafting the text, and not only as a mere panel of experts. The result was a drafting committee that, availing itself of the authority of a constitutional body, was able to expand to include a multidisciplinary pool of IT, engineering and linguistics professionals. Moreover, the process included a comparative study focused on harmonizing the strong influence that European bodies and norms exert over public contracts.
The new text – delivered in only three months to the outgoing government and passed on in December, after some modifications, to the new executive – revises the basis on which the public contracts sector has been regulated to date; no longer a set of rules for preventing illegal maneuvering, their main focus now is results. Consequently, the rest of it contains numerous simplifications of norms already in force and optimizes administrations’ discretional ability, offering more freedom to awarding entities, thus allowing them more and more effective dialogue with operators. All this must necessarily be accompanied by improved digitalization.
Apart from the way in which the reform proposal was drafted, the code’s real news concerns its capacity for self-activation: the text already contains the necessary enabling mechanisms, making it possible to anticipate European deadlines. Indeed, the new code leaves a period of three months – up until the beginning of July – to go from approval to effective application; i.e., the time needed to properly train the public administration and to ensure effective norms for completion of PNRR tender procedures.