On June 12, following a confidence vote, the lower chamber of the Italian Parliament has approved a law that will bring quite a few changes to the Public Procurement Code.
The new law, which has not been published in the Italian Official Gazette yet, has been enthusiastically announced as a way to accelerate governmental contracts, in line with the nickname of the act (“Sblocca Cantieri“, which could be translated as “Unlocking Building Sites”).
By way of example, the act allows subcontracting up to 40% (the previous threshold was 30%) and sets forth that only three competing offers will be required for contracts with a value between 40 and 150 thousand Euros. It also includes rather odd provisions, such as the increase in spending for close circuit tv cameras in public structures’ premises where small children and old people are cared for (see section 5 septies).
The law has been bitterly criticized by the head of the Italian Anti-Corruption Authority, who pointed out that the aggregate value of public procurement contracts is at its highest (139.5 billions in 2018) and that criminal infiltration in companies bidding for public works is also very significant. Many fear that de-regulation of the sector will not bring positive results.
Others simply point out that this body of law has been subject to too many changes in the past years, which makes it difficult for helpful case law to develop and confuses operators.