The aim of these notes is to trace the origins and subsequent developments in the process of structuring Italian Public Administration, with particular reference to the most recent stages of reform, which since the early ’80s, have characterized the attempt to gradually replace the principles of hierarchy and centralization - typical of Weberian traditional bureaucratic model - with those of delegation and transferring of skills, similarly to what it was happening in the wider international context. Among the most important innovations there are: the establishment of executive agencies, as functionally independent unities, which are separated from the ministers and structured according to reticular criteria; the increase of managers’ organizational and financial autonomy; the extension of collective bargaining and the introduction of exceptions to the principle of stability of employment in the field of personnel management; the diffusion of new tools and parameters for controlling the effectiveness and the efficiency of administrative performance, for evaluating the results and for improving the quality of services. From this comes the attempt to reduce the gap between the public and the private sectors, according to the belief that the latter represents a reference for increasing the efficiency of the former. On closer inspection, it is a process that involves both improvements and dysfunctionalities, as it appears from the following considerations outlined in reference to the Italian case.
Keywords: Public Administration, reform processes, evaluation