This project studied the dynamics (i.e. evolution) of learning and innovation of socio-economic governance, focusing on administrative partnerships. Administrative partnership are interpreted as attempts at innovating socio-economic governance – introducing new norms and targets, raising the level of co-ordination among private and public actors, and across policy areas (local development and labour policy), in order to secure the goals of stability and growth, competitiveness and employment. As forms of ‘networked governance’ they involve a social dialogue process in which (private and public) actors inform each other of their intentions and capacities, elaborate and exchange information provided to them, and clarify and explain their assumptions and expectations.
In particular, within the broader aim of the project, POLEIS has concentrated its efforts on defining the most appropriate method to study the sources and dynamics of learning and innovation of socio-economic governance with respect to the so called “administrative partnerships” i.e. a new mode of governance at the local level involving public and non public actors not only in the decision-making stage, but also in the administration phase (i.e. implementation and evaluation) within specific policy areas. In this sense, local administrative partnerships are considered as part of an array of “concertative arrangements” and analysed (i.e. portrayed in a static manner) along different dimensions such as: the degree of formalisation of the interaction among the parts (i.e. the weight of formal/informal interaction praxis); the range and scope of policy fields involved; the degree of involvement of non-public actors.
In the second phase, the focus was on issues of evolution patterns – i.e. partnership consolidation. More in detail, the POLEIS/URGE team looked into the different evolutionary paths experienced in Italy and in Spain, pointing out the relevant features of consolidated administrative partnerships and providing information on how (and why) their emergence was followed by consolidation. Furthermore, a ‘thick’ description of the Italian case and a comparative analysis moving from the Spanish experience was produced in order to reflect on possible virtuous mechanisms of partnership consolidation which could also apply elsewhere in the European Union.
The final two reports contained: theoretical introduction on the relevance of administrative partnerships as a relevant case of new modes of governance; theoretically grounded information on the specific forms and evolution of analysed administrative partnerships; analysis of conditions under which the emergence of an administrative partnership is followed by its consolidation; concluding remarks providing specific policy recommendations on how to make administrative partnerships for local development successful in the European Union.