Full text: Gender budgeting in Europa (99)

18 benchmarks and when an indicator signals unsatisfactory performance, related expenditures are analysed and discussed. However, this methodology encounters serious difficulty when it is fol- lowed for a small community, as I will discuss later. About the project The Comuni involved in the project are listed in Table 1. These comprise only 8 out of the 36 Comuni that make up the province of Siena. The selection of the Comuni was the first issue to be discussed by the promoter of the project and the "experts" she engaged (Professor Francesca Bet- tio and Professor Simonetta Botarelli of the University of Siena, and myself). We had considered several "rational" criteria for our choice: i) homogeneity of economic structures; ii) size of the Comune; iii) geographical proximity. In the end only one criterion prevailed: the willingness of the administration of the Comune to take part in the project. The Comuni which agreed to take part in the project, after a meeting where it was presented, were not many. They are listed in Table 1. Table 1: The participants in the project Comuni Population Siena 52.586 Asciano 6.483 Castelnuovo Berardenga 7.522 Chiusi 8.607 Montepulciano 13.869 Poggibonsi 27.404 Rapolano Terme 4.782 Sinalunga 11.802 As the table clearly shows, they vary in size, and also their economies are different. Some are ba- sed on services (Siena), others on tourism and agriculture (Montepulciano, Rapolano Terme), agri- culture alone (Asciano and Castelnuovo Berardenga), or industry (Chiusi, Poggibonsi, Sinalunga). They are up to an hour's drive apart and are of different size. The small size of a Comune, with less than 10,000 inhabitants in 4 cases out of 8, implies pros and cons. The pros: the municipal employees are few and the administration is small (in some cases it con- sists of just the mayor and four or five assessors). One single officer may have an extremely de- tailed knowledge of the budget, almost as if it were the budget of his/her own family. In any case, information is easy to acquire, since everybody knows everybody else inside and outside the ad- ministration. The cons: Resources are insufficient. We had asked that at least one person for each Comune be sent to attend our meetings, but attendance was very irregular. If the person in charge of the project was a member of the Local Authority, he/she was likely to combine the duties of public administra- tor with a regular full-time job. If it was an employee, he/she was often busy with other urgent work. We realized very soon that a big flaw of the project was the lack of economic incentives for the em- ployees who saw their participation as an increase of their workload which disrupted the normal or- ganization of their working day. They did not mind coming to Siena for the meetings if the sched- ules did not require them to leave home earlier than usual, but they found hardly any time to per- form the work we asked them to do. However, we managed to organize five meetings. Indeed, reading the budget documents did not take us far and we realised that it was absolutely necessary to gather information directly from the local administration if we wanted to know more about how money was spent. We organized one meeting per month, each on a specific subject. These were

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