The new Franceschini reform published in the Official Gazette: here are all the main changes

Published in the Official Gazette the new Franceschini reform. Here are what are all the new features introduced by the minister.

Last Jan. 21, the Decree of the President of the Council No. 169 of Dec. 2, 2019, was published in the Official Gazette, which contains the Regulations on the Organization of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, the Offices of Direct Collaboration of the Minister and the Independent Performance Evaluation Body. Let’s see what are all the main changes introduced by the new Dario Franceschini-led reform.

The first concerns the directorates general, which are no longer 11 but become 12: the directorate general “Contracts and Concessions” wanted by Bonisoli has been eliminated, and in compensation the dg “Cultural Heritage Security” and the dg “Tourism” have been introduced. Slight name changes for other directorates general (“Education and Research” becomes “Education, Research and Cultural Institutes,” “Libraries and Cultural Institutes” becomes “Libraries and Copyright,” “Contemporary Creativity and Urban Regeneration” becomes “Contemporary Creativity”). In addition, compared to the Bonisoli reform eliminated two executive offices of general level, those that had been established at the General Secretariat: the unit for the security of cultural heritage (the issue merited, as it turned out, a directorate general) and the unit for planning, innovation and digitization of processes (digitization becomes the prerogative of the new Central Institute for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage).

Elevated the number of advisers called to collaborate with the minister’s direct collaboration offices (they increase from fifteen to twenty, and at least five of them, another novelty of the reform, will be called on a free basis). Thepress office will no longer coordinate with the secretary general, but rather with the central and peripheral structures involved, and in addition will coordinate the internal communication activity directed to the central and peripheral offices of the ministry (with the Bonisoli reform the latter was the prerogative of the secretary general). Again, the secretary general will coordinate the activity of protection on the basis of uniform and homogeneous criteria throughout the country, but he sees the powers that the Bonisoli reform had given him limited: the inspection nucleus operating at the general secretariat is eliminated, the coordination of internal communication activity, the coordination of policies on loans abroad, the oordination on tourism policies, and the coordination of policies on institutional communication and information are revoked.

As for the directorates general, the dg “Education and Research” will no longer coordinate initiatives to ensure the cataloging of cultural heritage (which will pass to the Central Institute for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage); the dg “Archaeology, fine arts and landscape” will prepare guidelines to the peripheral structures for the development of plans for the programmed conservation of cultural heritage; it returns to have jurisdiction over the authorization of loans as the export offices are no longer autonomous offices but become incorporated back into the superintendencies, and still promotes landscape enhancement “with particular regard to severely compromised or degraded areas, in order to redefine and reconstitute landscapes,” sees the revocation of the prerogatives of the Regional Cultural Heritage Commissions (e.g., authorization for demolition interventions) that had been abolished by the Bonisoli reform and are now reconstituted; the new dg “General Directorate for Cultural Heritage Security” ensures “the coordination, implementation and monitoring of all initiatives in the field of risk prevention and security of cultural heritage and coordination of interventions resulting from national and international emergencies, also in collaboration with other competent administrations” as well as “the smooth progress and necessary unity of the management of emergency operational interventions to secure the mobile and immovable cultural heritage, recovery actions and reconstruction in areas affected by calamitous events, as well as interventions aimed at prevention and fire safety in the institutes and places of culture belonging to the state” (in particular, performs the functions assigned to the ministry during emergencies, adopts measures on assets involved in reconstruction interventions following calamitous events, assists the dg “Archaeology, fine arts and landscape” in the preparation of guidelines to peripheral structures for the development of plans for the programmed conservation of cultural heritage, adopts guidelines on the safety of cultural heritage with respect to anthropogenic risks, and adopts guidelines for the safety of heritage and prevention from the risks of natural disasters and fire; the dg “Museums” will oversee the promotion of cultural agreements with institutions with adequate prestige, both Italian and foreign, aimed at the organization of exhibitions or shows and ensure their implementation, adopting initiatives to facilitate the international circulation of works of art, and will collaborate with the dg “Budget” to encourage donations of liberal donations from private individuals (with the Bonisoli reform, instead, it was an exclusive prerogative of the dg “Museums”) the dg “Libraries and Copyright” takes care of the promotion, also at the request of the offices concerned and in any case after hearing the same, of cultural agreements with institutions with adequate prestige, Italian and foreign, aimed at the organization of exhibitions or expositions; carries out the administrative activities related to the recognition of tax benefits in the book sector, in liaison with the Revenue Agency; ensures, through the Center for the Promotion of Books and Reading, the functioning of the Fund for the Promotion of Books and Reading; the dg “Contemporary Creativity” takes care of the preparation and implementation of the Plan for Contemporary Art; promotes, in consultation with the dg “Education, Research and Cultural Institutions”, training, in collaboration with universities, regions and local authorities, in the field of knowledge of contemporary art and architectural and urban culture, photography, design and fashion; and still promotes, in agreement with the General Directorate for Archives and other institutions in the sector, research activities, knowledge and valorization of archives of art, architecture, photography, design and fashion, ensures the coordination in and implementation of initiatives in the field of promotion and support of cultural and creative industries on the national territory, coordinates the Desk in Italy on the Creative Europe Program; almost unchanged are the competences of the DGs “Archives,” “Entertainment,” “Cinema and Audiovisual,” “Organization” and “Budget” (the latter, however, is entrusted with the care of the fulfillment of Art Bonus, while the DG “Tourism” will coordinate the actions aimed at tourism promotion.

And again, other novelties: a permanent committee for the promotion of tourism in Italy is established, the Central Institute for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage - Digital Library is created, as anticipated above, and the National Superintendence for Underwater Cultural Heritage, based in Taranto, is also created (it will be an office with special autonomy). In addition, the Central Institute for Intangible Heritage takes over from the Central Institute for Demoethnoanthropology, and the Central Institute for Restoration takes over from the Higher Institute for Conservation and Restoration. As for autonomous museums, the Vittoriano and Palazzo Venezia pole are created (which, like the Borghese Gallery, the Uffizi, Pompeii and others becomes an office of general executive level), the Girolamini Library and Monumental Complex, the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari, the National Museum of Abruzzo, National Museum of Matera, the Archaeological Park of Sibari, and the National Picture Gallery of Bologna (all of non-general executive level). Restored the autonomy of Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Parco Archeologico dell’Appia Antica and Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia, which had been incorporated into other institutes under the Bonisoli reform.

As for the Central Institute for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage-Digital Library, the new institute will be in charge of promoting programs for the digitization of cultural heritage under the Ministry’s jurisdiction and drafting the National Plan for the Digitization of Cultural Heritage, and will oversee its implementation and express mandatory and binding opinions on any initiative of the Ministry in this area. The National Superintendence for Underwater Cultural Heritage, on the other hand, will be in charge of carrying out the activities of protection, management and enhancement of underwater cultural heritage: it will have operational centers in Naples and Venice and in other superintendencies that may be indicated by subsequent provision.

District secretariats are then abolished ( regional secretariats return) and the so-called “Territorial Directorates of Museum Networks,” heirs of the former Regional Museum Poles, become “General Museum Directorates.” The functions of the contracting station return to individual agencies (secretariats, regional museum directorates, museums, libraries). Finally, regional cultural heritage commissions return, which will verify the existence of cultural interest in property belonging to public entities and private non-profit legal entities, declare cultural interest under Article 13 of the Cultural Heritage Code, they will dictate the prescriptions for indirect protection, authorize the demolition, permanent removal, as well as dismemberment of collections, series and collections, authorize the declaration of significant public interest, express opinions on the interventions to be included in the annual and multi-year programs and related spending plans. And again they will carry out the functions of the Heritage Guarantee Commission envisaged by the first Franceschini reform: in other words, they will be able to iesamine the opinions, nulla osta or other acts of assent however denominated issued by the Ministry’s peripheral bodies, within the peremptory term of ten days from receipt of the act.

Lastly, the personnel endowment of management increases: 27 first-rank managers (as opposed to 25 under the Bonisoli reform) and 192 second-rank managers (as opposed to 163). The staffing of the Ministry’s areas grows by a total of 22: 18,998 versus 18,976 under the Bonisoli reform.

In the photo: the Collegio Romano, headquarters of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. Ph. Credit Windows on Art.

The new Franceschini reform published in the Official Gazette: here are all the main changes
The new Franceschini reform published in the Official Gazette: here are all the main changes

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