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Italian Culture Minister Franceschini’s reform boosts directors’ managerial autonomy

Starting January 1st, 18 Italian museums obtained managerial autonomy, the regional directorates disappeared, the map of central directorates re-designed, and regional museum clusters were born.

This new organization is part of the reform carried out by the Ministry of Culture Dario Franceschini when he took over in 2014. The reform has finally come into effect after the Corte dei Conti – Italy's State Comptroller agency - gave its approval.

The new set of measures is a consequence of the so-called ‘Spending Review' of 2012, which forced all ministries to cut 20% in managerial departments and 10% cuts in non-managerial ones.

With this reform, the number of Director Generals increased, while all current Regional Directors lose their title. The reform abolished regional directorates and transformed them into regional secretariats (non-general managerial level offices) with the task of coordinating the activities of the various regional Ministry of Culture offices throughout the country. Museum clusters, under the supervision of the museums' Director General's office, are born. The cluster's director is given the task of coordinating the activities of all other art-related institutions on the base of value and users' needs.

The main novelty is the special managerial freedom granted to 18 institutions. Art locations must invest more in themselves, doing all they can to enhance the value, as much as possible, of their potential – in a “commercial” sense as well.

That is why, in particular, those executives in charge of the 7 museums to whom the title of “Director General” was granted can be recruited with 3 to 5 year contracts among outsiders of the administration, with job posting also open to international experts.