At the beginning of the 1990s, the need to increase the efficiency of administra-tive activity resulted in legislative initiatives to extend some of the management tools developed in the private sector to the Italian Public Administration. Among these instruments, a key role was assigned to internal controls. Over twenty years since their introduction, the functioning of public internal controls still displays several critical aspects. Through a comparative assessment with other European models, the author highlights the main shortcomings affecting the legal frame-work of Italian public internal controls, such as the lack of a clearly identified internal audit structure or their excessive focus on formal aspects. Moreover, the results of past performance assessments show that the principles of "accountability" and "transparency" are not widely applied within the Administration, thus undermining the effectiveness of internal controls. Some of these weaknesses have been addressed with the recently adopted regulation on measuring the performance of the Public Administration; the positive effects of the new measures will, however, depend on their concrete implementation.
Keywords: Planning, internal controls, accountability, efficiency
Jel Code: JEL: K23, H83, M42