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Sito della Corte dei conti


The history of the Corte dei conti

The “Corte dei conti” was set up in 1862, in the newly-created Italian State, in order to control the public administration and prevent and avoid waste of money and unsound management. To accomplish this important function, the “Corte dei conti” was established as “magistracy” according to the will of Camillo Benso, Earl of Cavour, who affirmed that “there is the absolute need to concentrate the “a priori” and “a posteriori” audit in irremovable magistrates”. The principal guidelines of the Corte’s structure, organization and tasks were consolidated by the royal decree no.1214 of 12 th July 1934, still in force. Later on, the Republican Constitution gave the “Corte dei conti” the highest legitimation and a constitutional emphasis: all the traditional functions of the “a priori” and the “a posteriori” audit were confirmed, and its accountability jurisdiction was even further extended. In the decade 1990-1999 there was a complex and a wide-ranging reforming movement with the enactment of Law no.142 and Law no.241 of 1990 and Legislative Decree no.29 of 1993, for modernizing the civil service in the quest for greater efficiency. Then, the renewal of the system of the external audit of government departments was introduced by Law no.20 of 1994, complemented subsequently by Legislative decree no.286 of 1999.The fundamental features of the reform were to restrict the “a priori” legality audit to a small group of “government acts” and to give the Corte dei conti a new “a posteriori” audit function over the performance of every government department and agency, including the regional and local authorities. The constitutional benchmarks for the new and more extensive audit tasks were in the principles of the Constitution: the efficient management of public offices, the accountability of civil servants, the balancing of public budgets and the coordination of the financial autonomy of the Regional governments with the rest of the public finance sphere. Therefore, the Corte dei conti became an organ at the service of the “State-community”. The new Republican Constitutional system following the revision of the Title V of the Constitution - which is certainly designed to strengthen the Regions’ autonomy - enhanced the demand for an authority to provide those guarantees and only the Corte dei conti was able to guarantee the audit of the public financial budgets and assess the sound management of all government departments. In this new situation, the assessment of the financial equilibrium and sound management of the public resources, required by the civil community, had to be entrusted to an organ, whose neutrality guaranteed both the community and the public managers. In the Italian Constitutional system, the Corte dei conti became an organ of the Republic, both for the State and the Regions, and thanks to its history and experience it was also able to perform this new and demanding mission. In the course of its long history the Corte dei conti has demonstrated its capacity to keep pace with the development of our constitutional system, meeting different needs and priorities, while holding fast to its original mission.