MiBACT, from August dl rain of direct-call appointments and a course-competition. But there is strong criticism

The August decree confirms direct-call appointments in the Superintendencies and the course-competition for MiBACT executives. But there is strong criticism

The final text of Decree-Law No. 104 of August 14, 2020, known as the “August Decree,” confirms the measures on direct-call appoint ments that were included in the August 7 draft. Specifically, Article 24, paragraph 1, provides for the allocation of 4 million euros for 2020 and 16 million euros for 2021 for direct appointments of experts with proven expertise who will be able to go to the Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape Superintendencies as external collaborators to “ensure the performance in the territory of competence of the functions of protection and enhancement of cultural heritage and landscape.” Each assignment will have a maximum duration of fifteen months and a maximum amount of 40,000 euros. This means that there will be at least 500 direct call assignments. In addition, these collaborators will be able to be assigned the functions of the single procedure manager (this is the figure that, according to the public contracts code, carries out all the tasks related to contracting procedures: in essence, the superintendence’s procurement manager will be able to be an external collaborator).

Also confirmed is the potential increase in managerial staffing: no longer at 20 percent as in the August 7 draft, but at 15 percent (it is currently at 10 percent). For the recruitment of managerial staff, the selective training course-competition is also confirmed, announced by the National School of Administration in competition with the School of Cultural Heritage and Activities, with which a special agreement will be signed (the course-competition will be held at the headquarters of the BAC School). Only candidates who have completed a doctoral degree, or tenured employees in public administrations with a master’s degree, will be admitted to this course-course. The course-competition will have a maximum duration of twelve months, including a period of application at MiBACT, within ordinary budgetary allocations. “The programs of the course,” reads the text of the decree, “provide participants with training complementary to the qualification held for access to the course.” During participation in the course and during the application period, a scholarship is paid, which will be borne by the BAC School. On the other hand, course-competition students who are also civil servants will be paid, by the administration to which they belong, their current full salary, without any mission allowance.

Some criticisms have been raised against these measures. The latest is that of Federico Fubini, who, in Corriere della Sera, comments on direct-call appointments and the raising of the quota for managerial staff. On the former, Fubini writes that “the beneficiaries will be individuals who work in the arts, entertainment, craft trades or other, but no university specialization is required: they go by direct call, even without a degree. With good peace to those who sweated on books to reach the degree and wait for the ministry to complete the competitions already launched for the same functions.” On the second, the journalist points out that “it is not clear why the August decree should raise only for the Cultural Heritage from 10 percent to 15 percent the share of ministerial staff with second-tier management positions (once at 8 percent) with the possibility of direct conferment to external figures or non-managerial staff (again, there is competition already planned). Strengthening skills in the administration is important, but perhaps it should be done with a transparent public debate, an approach that includes all strategic areas, and an ad hoc legal measure.”

On the course-contest, on the other hand, the association Mi Riconosci? I am a cultural heritage professional, which it already called “resoundingly useless” after the release of the draft. “Given the existence in Italy of postgraduate courses unparalleled in Europe (the Schools of Specialization),” the activists wrote on August 10, “adding an additional course is inexplicable if not as an ill-fated fulfillment of that project of the former president of the Superior Council of Cultural Heritage Giuliano Volpe, very close to Dario Franceschin.” To become managers, the activists write, “it will be necessary to study at least 9 years (three-year + master’s degree + specialization + newborn course): a situation without comparison in the Italian public administration. This training madness takes place in a ministry where, already now, officials present a training course of (at least) 7 years, a case also unique in the entire public administration.”

Criticism from activists also on direct-call assignments: “at a time when there is an established structural shortage of personnel, when thousands of hires are needed (5-6 thousand, it is estimated), when competitions have been announced and others have already started, here we are incentivizing flexible contracts, as if it were 1992, as if the last 30 years have not clearly illustrated that greater precarization leads to the worsening of problems, not to their solution. Should we expect those thousands of hires to be replaced by time contracts used as structural stopgaps? If competition-winning officials are among the lowest paid of all Italian ministries, we dare not imagine how much these precarious workers will be paid. And the fact that this is already happening informally (think of the hiring of the company ALES, 100% owned by the ministry), does not justify the choice, but makes it even more embarrassing at a time when all the knots are coming to a head. Increasing precariousness, increasing the years of study, will have only one result: selecting cultural heritage professionals on the basis of criteria that have nothing to do with their competence, but with their ability to resist exploitation, guts and the availability of economic stability that comes from outside, particularly from the doriginal household.”

Pictured: the Collegio Romano, headquarters of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism

MiBACT, from August dl rain of direct-call appointments and a course-competition. But there is strong criticism
MiBACT, from August dl rain of direct-call appointments and a course-competition. But there is strong criticism

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