Methodological summary

The indicators the Administrative Capacity Index is based on are mainly built on data that Public Administrations are obliged to publish pursuant to current regulatory requirements, in particular Legislative Decree 33/2013 and Law 190/2012. These are not only economic and financial indicators, but also and foremost qualitative indicator, pertaining to the Public Administrations ESG sustainability (Environmental, Social, Governance).

The model uses the same methodology as the ESG Sustainability Indexes used in financial markets for the corporate world.
It is made up of two levels of analysis: macro-indicators and indicators.

There are six macro-indicators: budget, governance, personnel management, services, public procurement, environment. 
To each macro-indicator a score from 0 to 100 is assigned, weighted according to their relevance.
Each macro-indicator is divided into indicators. Similarly, a score from 0 to 100 is assigned to these indicators, again weighted according to their relevance.  

For each indicator a Public Administration can receive the highest score (equivalent to 100%), a medium score (50%) or a minimum score (10%). 

In the event that a Public Administration did not disclose data pertaining to the indicator, the score given to the relative indicator is “n.d.”, equivalent to score 0: this is because the regulatory obligation to disclose information should not and cannot be disregarded, especially by Public Administrations that spend public money. In other words, we evaluate the absence of data as useful data to measure Public Administrations’ accountability. 
After the analysis is completed and the scores are set, some algorithms elaborate the final Public Rating for each Public Administration, in comparison to the other Public Administrations in the same category. The scoring system, made up of seven classes of rating, is the following:

Public Rating Rating Score Rating Class
PPP+ 90-100 Excellent
PPP 80-89 Very Good
PP+ 60-79 Good
PP 50-59 Satisfactory
P+ 40-49 Weak
P 20-39 Poor
F 1-19 Fallible


The final Public Rating can be broken down into each of the six macro-indicators and into each single indicator.

According to the overall Rating achieved, each Public Administration is placed within a ranking relative to its category (for example, Municipalities): it is therefore possible to measure its distance from the relevant benchmark, which is the Rating achieved in the same year by the best Public Administration in the category.

The choice of the indicators and the setting of the scores, of the weights and of the classes of Rating have been determined based on the experience and expertise of our Chiefs of Research, who co-founded Fondazione Etica and have been researching on ESG Sustainability for more than two decades.

The model is protected by copyright and by the registration of the logo and of the trademark. It has received merit awards from Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Confindustria, and KPMG. It comes from the cooperation with the European Commission, the World Bank and multiple regional and national Public Administrations, including but not limited to the Department of Regional Affairs and Autonomies, the Department of Public Functions, Agenzia per la Coesione, ANAC, Regione Toscana and Regione Lombardia, Municipality of Milan, ANCI Lombardia. The model is also the base for the work of “GovLoc Lab” research centre in LUISS-ICEDD. 

Our analyses are periodically published by the national newspaper Corriere della Sera. 


La fonte principalmente utilizzata è quella indicata dal d.lgs. 33/2013, modificato dal successivo d.lgs. 97/2016: la sezione Amministrazione Trasparente all’interno dei siti web delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni.

Le fonti comprendono anche, a titolo esemplificativo ma non esaustivo, le banche dati del Mef, del Ministero dell’Interno, della Corte dei Conti, dell’ISTAT; il sito dell’ANAC e quello del Ministero della Funzione Pubblica; rapporti annuali come quelli di Legambiente; motori di ricerca.

Non è prevista, invece, la richiesta sistematica di informazioni direttamente alla singola Amministrazione analizzata, neanche dopo l’introduzione dell’accesso civico generalizzato. Tale scelta metodologica si basa sulla considerazione che le informazioni necessarie all’alimentazione del Rating Pubblico, da un lato, devono essere pubblicate per legge, e, dall’altro, rientrano nel dovere di accountability che le PA hanno nei confronti degli stakeholder.

Regulatory References

In Italy
The Italian legislator enacted multiple laws introducing strict obligations for Public Administrations on transparency, integrity and performance: Law 241/1990, Law 59/1997 and Law 15/2009, as well as the more recent Legislative Decree 90/2014, and  Law 124/2015, Legislative Decree 97/2016. Nevertheless, the biggest steps have been achieved thanks to Law 190/2012 and, above all, to Legislative Decree 33/2013.

In particular, Legislative Decree 33/2013 requires not only that Public Administrations are transparent, but also that they do so in a standardised way, since they all have to disclose the same data, in the same way, with the same frequency and in the same website section. 

The legislator translated the general obligation for transparency into a specific concept of accountability. The difference between the two concepts is not merely terminological, but also substantial, allowing: 
    • on the one hand, complete knowledge of a specific Public Administration (in practice, a kind of due diligence) and, consequently, its evaluation; 
    • on the other hand, the comparison between Public Administrations of the same category, based on their respective ranking and the comparison to the benchmark. 

This is what the Department of the Public Function wrote on the website
"To make data regarding the community usable and accessible, so that everybody can benefit from it, is not an innovation destined to few experts, but it involves everyone, because it allows citizens to gather information – in practice already available to users – transparently and directly, making citizens more informed and therefore more aware. There is indeed no doubt that the availability of data concerning a person’s City Hall’s budget, or data on traffic, or on the environment, ecc. is an asset that every citizen has a right to have."

At the European level 
Member States might have quite different administrative systems, but they are all called to carry out the same task: offering services to citizens. Is it possible to evaluate administrative systems? It is, according to applicable laws. Indeed, every Member State aside from Austria and Luxemburg passed a legislation establishing a right to civic access to Public Administrations’ data (the so called FOIA, Freedom of Information Act). 

The right rests on two pillars: 
    • the citizens’ right to access Public Administrations’ data, 
    • the obligation for Public Administrations to publish directly at least some of that data. 

All this allows citizens to access data and information regarding Public Administrations. 
Ensuring this right is more difficult for those States that focused on enforcing the first pillar, neglecting the second. 

Nevertheless, in order to enter the EU and stay in it, Member States must not only guarantee minimum democratic standards, but also meet minimum requirements on transparency, anti-corruption measures and efficiency. In short, they must guarantee a minimum level of administrative capacity. 

European references

In 2018, the European Commission, in its Report on Member States’ Public Administrations titled "Measuring Public Administration: A Feasibility Study for Better Comparative Indicators in the EU", stated that: 

"Good governance and quality of public administrations is recognisably in the interests of the EU citizens and Member States, to achieve maximum value from finite public funds and create a public-private interface that raises employment and growth. Worldwide, the evidence is irrefutable: high productivity, high income per head economies have the most effective and efficient public institutions."

In other words, there cannot be economical and social development without a good public governance.