The paper presents a reflection on the policy of cost-cutting and spending review in the Italian public sectors. The thesis is twofold. First of all, the paradigm used by the spending reviews’ policies is based on the macro-economic theory that doesn’t take into account the complexity of the implementation processes. Secondly, the weakness of the administrative technical bureaucracies in coordinating modernisation processes produces an incoherent diffusion of innovations. The paper discusses, as empirical examples, two relevant national programmes in the field of the judicial sector; these programmes are mobilising an interesting governance network at the territorial (local) level and a vast number of projects in specific territorial areas. The implementation of these interventions shows, however, that many judicial offices of the Nation lack the necessary resources and capabilities to sustain modernisation projects and, at the same time, the difficulty of central bureaucracies to oversee and safeguard a coherent fulfilment of the diffusion objectives, due to the fragility of technical bodies.
Keywords: Spending review, paradoxes, judicial offices modernization, administrative reforms, public policy design and implementation, steering of innovation processes and diffusion of innovation.