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1 THE INTRODUCTION OF ACCOUNTABILITY INTO POLITICAL PARTIES BY WAY OF A SOCIAL BUDGET: The Italian Experience Ubaldo Comite Faculty of Economics, Department of Business Sciences, University of Calabria, Rende (Cs), Italy ABSTRACT The subject of this paper is the introduction of accountability into political parties by way of a social budget. In the context of accountability, the practice of social reporting in the public sector has spread in Italy over the past decade. This has been accomplished by the use of instruments designed to engage stakeholders in government activities as well as by attempts to satisfy stakeholder needs by creating value for the entire community. In this context, corporate social reporting by political parties is a phenomenon that is still experimental in nature and not yet widespread. Even contemporary political parties cannot shirk the responsibility inherent to all public institutions to report on achievements by reconciling a business approach with the provisions, regulations and directives that govern daily political activity. Keywords: political parties, accountability, management, social budget 1 INTRODUCTION Corporate social reports (social budgets) are voluntary instruments of accountability. They allow companies and governments to create communications strategies that are widespread, transparent, and able to promote consensus and social legitimacy, all of which are prerequisites for the achievement of any goal, including those related to profitability and competitiveness. Social budgets are documents that are generated alongside other, pre-existing reports and documentation. They provide information to various stakeholders about the social and environmental effects of decisions. End users of social budget reports include interested stakeholders. These are not only direct representatives of a company or institution, but also those who are indirectly affected by the consequences of corporate or political actions. In the context of accountability, the practice of social reporting in the public sector has spread in Italy over the past decade. This has been accomplished by the use of instruments designed to engage stakeholders in government activities as well as by attempts to satisfy stakeholder needs by creating value for the entire community. In this context, corporate social reporting by political parties is a phenomenon that is still experimental in nature and not yet widespread. Even contemporary political parties cannot shirk the responsibility inherent to all public institutions to report on achievements by reconciling a business approach with the provisions, regulations and directives that govern daily political activity. 2 INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE Major international scholarly contributions help to clarify how the principle of accountability has been enriched and transformed over time thanks to the varying positions taken by the numerous scholars who have explored this subject. Accountability can be expressed concisely as the adoption of clear and transparent behaviour, straightforward use of resources to ensure easy verification of their use, and verification of practices employed in resource use. If one reflects on the principle and meaning of accountability, it is possible to its origin from the birth of developed civilization, as there has always been a need for it (Jenkins, Cray, 1992). According to Stewart, it is possible to distinguish two key subjects within the definition of accountability: the part responsible for responsible reporting, and the part which requires certain behaviours, which can be identified as "referent." This latter part includes a right to know the facts and to understand how an activity has been carried out (Stewart 1984). 25

2 Accountability, writes Willmott, serves: in the sense of rendering intelligible some aspects of our lives or ourselves - is a distinctive and pervasive feature of what it is to be human. Human beings are continuously involved in making and giving accounts to others, and to ourselves, about who we are, what we are doing, etc. This universal aspect of accountability is a condition of our participation in any social world. The universal aspect of accountability enables our experiences to be rendered intelligible to others and to ourselves (Willmott 1996). Thus, in the broadest sense, the principle of accountability refers simply to the asking of questions and the response that explains how resources are used (Roberts, Scapens 1985). More specifically, the meaning of accountability has been linked with accounting and reporting functions, or in other words, an expression, explanation, or a justification of managerial actions (Patton 1992). Accordingly, there is greater emphasis on the need to identify clear objectives in order to enable a process of accountability that is based on standards and measurement of performance. This process is possible only if related responsibilities are specified (Hood, 1991). Roberts defines accountability as a kind of relationship which resides in the social sphere and which possesses both a moral dimension, which in a sense depends on subjective perception, as well as a strategic dimension (Roberts 1991). Williams connects accountability to the concepts of fairness and ethics (Williams 1987). Pallot's approach to accountability is based on emphasizing communal values rather than traditional and individual values (Pallot 1992). Lehman incorporates the dimensions of both ethics and strategy into the equation of accountability, while also drawing attention to the dimension of quality (Lehman 1996). The theme of accountability has also been studied by the research and consulting team of the Government of Australia. They argue that not only does accountability provide rationale for the actions of those in powerful positions, it also includes a set of goals, the provision of information, and a report on results and consequences that derive from given behaviors (Core 1993). According to Levaggi, being accountable decreases the potential for information asymmetry and prevents deceptive behaviors. In addition, accountability should be seen as one level of a broader informational system, which is itself based on accountability (Levaggi 1995). Accountability is not limited to the reporting of facts and the effectiveness of management, it is also connected to the responsibility that operators hold within government (Olson, Humphrey and Guthrie 2001). Hoskin highlights a more definite separation between the meanings of responsibility and accountability in that when organizations carry out activities the meaning of accountability is in fact broader and more general than the meaning of responsibility (Hoskin 1996). While responsibility involves behaviour that allows a person to be accurate and reliable about the use of resources, accountability produces an additional request: namely, to report and measure the level of performance achieved. In addition, one can see how accountability refers to the formal process of presenting useful explanations of various levels of decision-making, while responsibility concerns the execution of actions that are occurring. Thus an explicit dualism emerges between the spheres of accountability and responsibility in which they no only influence each other but must also find an appropriate balance so as to create a useful process. This can be expressed concisely as accountability, given that although it is not customary to distinguish between the two issues they are often integrated. According to Uhr, the following three elements help to define the principle of accountability: 1) responsibility; 2) being accountable; 3) responsiveness. 26

3 The first two elements relate to the functions of supervision and delegation. The third element, however, refers to how closely the activity meets the needs of the community (Uhr 1999). In addition, accountability is not exclusively limited to the field of business, but also applies to political, social and relational spheres. Mulgan argues that there is no exact definition of accountability in European literature, but the principle is linked to the creation of democratic control (Mulgan 2000). Olivier, speaking from the point of view of liberal democratic public administration, emphasizes the need to explain achievements to the public (Olivier 1991). Majone associates accountability with a very strong system of judicial review (Majone 1996). Nolan's definition relates to managers working in the public sector. He discusses their need to be accountable to the collective for their decisions as well as the requirement to undertake all necessary measurement and evaluation activities (Nolan 2000). Thus accountability is a behavior that begins with identifying clear objectives and attributing defined responsibilities, and which then, through management, is able to detect and explain in a transparent and understandable way what has occurred and what has been accomplished in relation to targets, standards or performance measures. 3 THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE Inspired by several foreign scholars who have addressed the theme, the meaning of the term accountability can also be explained by drawing from a large base of Italian business-economic literature. For Mussari, accountability expresses the need to account... having to demonstrate... having to explain, even if in order to define accountability with greater specificity it is customary to accompany it with adjectives and thus one can write of managerial accountability, political accountability, and financial accountability, according to the parties involved and the objective of "having to account for" (Mussari 1996). Accountability becomes even more important when government decision-makers, who are responsible for the administration of public resources, assume a higher degree of responsibility and autonomy (Mussari 1997). Buccellato understands accountability as the capacity to give an account of work done and the ability to take responsibility for results. In particular, it is interesting to see how Buccellato establishes the principle of accountability in relation to the concept of a mandate to manage assets on behalf of third parties, in the sense that it requires the identification of expected result from operations that are attributable to one particular person (Buccellato 1997). Moreover, it can be said that the principle of accountability refers to the combination of responsibility and resources. This is particularly relevant because this association highlights the need to empower operators to achieve the goals entrusted to them with the resources allocated for the work (Vagnoni 1998). According to Martini and Cais, the meaning of accountability goes far beyond simple reporting and concerns the relationship between delegation and responsibility. These two scholars imply that a person liable for an organization (or a policy or project) must "be accountable," particularly to external stakeholders, for choices made and results achieved for activities under their control. Martini and Cais thus define the relationships affected by the principle of accountability, which bind two subjects, one of which has a duty towards the other to account for actions taken. At its core, accountability deals with the delegation of responsibilities and the relationship between entities, both of which require checks and balances. To summarize, one person gives another the mandate to deal with a certain problem and to report back by a predetermined deadline (Martini, Cais 2000). Thus the term accountability highlights the need for those in positions of social responsibility to be accountable to both society at large as well as to interested stakeholders (Pezzani 2001). Treating accountability as a way of conducting business means that business is conducted in a certain way that indicates briefly, but effectively, an attempt to meet two contemporary needs: those of society and those of business, as businesses are the instruments by which society operates. This refers to the ethics of responsibility, accountability and transparency (Brunetti 2002). 27

4 Coda notes that accountability involves administrators and managers being able to account for how they have performed in the face of their responsibilities to safeguard, develop, and make a company more competitive, more profitable and better able to meet the expectations of human, social and environmental progress (Coda 2002). According to Hinna, while the notion of accountability originates from profit-oriented companies, it involves all categories of business. (Hinna 2002). Ricci's definition of accountability systematically connects the responsibilities held by certain individuals with the ability to accomplish certain objectives, and explains the achievement of results based on this connection. He considers accountability a responsibility, in that a subject must account for his actions in relation to others in order to responsibly and credibly define the relationships between planning, decision making and control (Ricci 2005). Guarini connects the principle of accountability to the concept of responsible public administration. He states that corporate behavior must be judged on the basis of certain abilities, including (Guarini 2003): - generating "value" for relevant communities; - measuring and recognizing this "value"; - being accountable to the community for corporate actions and the outcomes of actions. Matacena has clarified the concept of accountability as the need to account for results when using resources that are not one's own. Matacena relates accountability to goal-setting and corporate governance. He states that based on a systemic approach, it is necessary to coordinate goals and governance to ensure their responsiveness to each other (Matacena 2003). 4 ACCOUNTABILITY IN POLITICAL PARTIES Political parties arise from peoples' need to come together to share common values and defend and promote shared ideals. Legally, a political party assumes the role of an association of people. The result is that not only is a party responsible, the members involved also assume personal responsibility and solidarity to those who act in the name and on behalf of the party. From a corporate standpoint it is possible to view a political party as a supply and distribution business founded by individuals motivated by a shared political agenda for which they offer commitment and resources (where multiple interconnected management systems coexist, including: distribution, capital, and production system). The complexity and idiosyncrasies that characterize the activities of political parties mean that important informational tools such as financial statements can represent only part of overall management activities, which include economic, financial and capital elements (Rinaldi 1988). The purpose of financial statements is to provide a system of values and data concerning economic, financial and asset performance. These statements do not offer information about goals, methods chosen to pursue them, and the results and benefits arising from any activities, which are of considerable importance to the type of business activity being evaluated. As an example, consider the important role played in a party by so-called "activists", i.e. by those individuals who carry out activities of propaganda and the dissemination of the party's ideas on an entirely voluntary basis. Their contribution does not appear in a party's financial reporting, but it is nevertheless important to "account for" these activities via informational channels that provide a "moral account" of the activity of the party itself. From this perspective, a party's search for transparent disclosure is that which allows for communication with a multiplicity of stakeholders involved in its affairs to varying degrees, as well as recognition of the importance of achieving a process of "due and proper rendering of accounts." These strategies should involve disclosure of goals, of methods chosen to pursue them, and of actions carried out to achieve the goals, all of which serve to emphasize the importance of accountability. Increasing attention to this matter has highlighted the need for a suitable reporting tool, one which is not only economic and financial but also social in nature. A social reporting tool such as a social budget would allow adequate representation and communication of corporate complexity in both qualitative and quantitative terms. 5 THE ROLE OF SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN POLITICAL PARTIES One the one hand, the goal of social accountability in a political party is to make explicit: - ethical-political values being referenced; - desired objectives; 28

5 - consistency of political action with values, and effectiveness in the pursuit of goals; - codes of conduct that govern the actions of decision makers. On the other hand, political accountability draws attention to the impacts of a party's actions on various stakeholders and demonstrates a party's ability to meet stakeholder expectations. With regards to a relationship with the outside world, social reporting and accountability are of great value to political parties. This is both because of the broad context of whom they reach, including advocates, readers, communities, national and international institutions, as well as because they fulfill the requirements of legitimacy. In fact, political parties do not find legitimacy in economic performance, but through political actions and the disclosure of tangible results in social terms. Internally, social reporting can function within a party as a means of self-verification. In other words, it can possess considerable organisational value due to the fact that it involves a justification of actions before a message is communicated. An organization's use of social reporting has a number of effects, namely project and organizational review and periodic review of the modus operandi of the party. In other words, the use of social reporting leads to regular reviews of activities and periodic evaluation of objectives and communications to ensure easy interpretation by stakeholders (Servalli 2005). This can be achieved through the adoption of social budget reporting. 6 THE EVOLUTION OF CORPORATE SOCIAL REPORTING It is possible to identify some fundamental milestones in regards to the evolutionary process that has characterized the international development and dissemination of social reporting (Giandomenico 2008). The first, which we can call pioneering, is what conventionally indicates the emergence of social reporting. The first attempt at social reporting by a company occurred in 1938 in Germany, where AEG prepared a document that integrated the data contained in its annual financial statements with an informational piece containing information about the performance of the company as it related to staff interests as well as all expenses incurred by the company for the benefit of the community. Only thirty years later did U.S. companies, in response to environmental movements and consumer advocacy groups, start to voluntarily include items of public interest in financial statements and traditional budgets. Around the mid-70s, as a result of the spread of social reporting, the section of narrative disclosure discussed above, which was once just supplementary to financial reports, became a stand-alone document. This document had greater autonomy to deal with issues such as product quality and safety, environmental protection, and protection of workers, consumers and the community at large. The American Accounting Association model, the Linowes model and the ABT model are some of the most important examples of this document. A significant contribution to the structure of the social budget was provided in Germany in 1976 by Sozialbilanz-Praxis. Because a fundamental section of this document is dedicated to the determination of valueaddition and an explanation of how this value is distributed amongst direct and indirect actors in the company, the way in which the document assesses social performance is largely self-evident. Social reporting initiatives developed in France are also worthy of their own analysis. Here, in 1977, legislative action led to the introduction of the Bilan Social, which imposed duty on companies to submit reports to a state agency for a variety of issues, including employment, security, training, health, education, working conditions, and pay levels. In the same period of time there were some significant events occurring in Italy as well. The company Merloni is worth mentioning, as it was this company that created Italy's first social budget report in This experiment, however, remained an isolated incident, so much so that it was necessary to wait twenty years for news of another social budget report, that of the National Railway, which was released in In theory, the first Italian studies on accountability reporting were developed in the 1980s (Bandettini 1983). 29

6 The 90s were a time of great development for corporate social reporting and the social budget, and it was during this time that these took hold and spread in the non-profit sector. Furthermore, there was a gradual expansion of this reporting tool in the public sector that also began in the mid- 90s. Compared with private companies, however, the government was late in adopting social reporting tools. Nevertheless, they have shown interest in these issues. For public companies, which are "social" by definition, the choice social reporting should be an obligation, not an ethical choice (Santosuosso 2012). It should be noted that Italian business doctrine has taken conflicting positions on the role played by the social budget. This is because while a part of the Italian business community has acknowledged the social budget's particular qualities and purpose, another part supports the possibility of finding the social aspects of corporate activity in traditional financial documents. Even today, the Italian business community not only lacks a unified view of the definition of social budget (Cavalieri 1987), but also disagrees on the use of the term "social budget," preferring the terms "social report," "social accounting statement," "socio-economic budget," "societal" budget, and so on, with meanings sometimes being ambiguous (Manni 1998). This gap is also present in international literature and, in particular, in English language literature, which discusses corporate social reporting, ethical statements, social accounting, values reporting, social auditing, ethical audits, social statements, and social responsibility accounting (Grey, Dey, Owen, Evans, and Zadek 1997). Controversy also surrounds the use of the term "budget," given the absence of a real and proper accounting balance technique (Terzani 1985). The lack of a uniform terminology, which stems from the relative applicability of the issues in question, has resulted in a failure to support related methodology and content (Travaglini, 1997), despite the widespread recognition of some common principles (Zavani 2000). In Italy, as in most other countries, social reporting is not mandatory and is thus not legally binding. Furthermore, no standards or recommendations have been issued by independent bodies to establish minimum contents, although, over the years, there have been several attempts to do so (Rebecca, Borriero 2003). Even in France, where social reporting is in fact mandated by federal regulation, the reporting requirement often conflicts with other national laws, a fact that highlights the lack of a complete and cohesive standard. Despite this doctrinal debate, the decision to adopt the term "social budget" emerged from the cyclical nature of the regulatory document in question, which was created based on pre-existing fixed rules and was aimed at measuring quantitative and qualitative information as well as the common base of information prescribed in literature. A definition of such a reporting tool, widely acknowledged in the literature, is one that treats all accounting documents equally and which, together with "traditional" financial budgets, aims to provide quantitative information on a company's operations as a result of the social objectives it has taken on (Matacena 1984). Thus the social budget is presented as a summary document, i.e. an informational tool exposing the social balance or imbalance in which a company operates. The social budget is also able to highlight the costs and results of any strategies and policies established by a company to deal with environmental changes (Marziantonio 1997). It is intended to enhance the results of financial statements and, with these, to promote changes in structures and relationships represented by the socio-economic fabric of businesses and business-environment relationships (Matacena 1984). 30

7 The purpose of the social budget is thus the recognition of the social outcome achieved by a company in terms of the effects of its choices and behaviors. These effects, although not directly related to economic and operational characteristics of the company, are in fact, for internal and external organizational reasons, a central aspect of management (Campedelli 2004). The social budget is thus the instrument through which participants become the social partners of a company and are able to monitor corporate behavior. This allows corporations to achieve social consensus and the good reputation they require for long-term success (Campedelli, Cantele 2004). In view of this it is possible to recognize, on the one hand, the potential of social reporting as a tool to enhance corporate image. On the other hand, there is also a need to view the social budget as simply a "tool," and not the "end" of the process of corporate social responsibility (Marziantonio 1990). It is possible, however, to highlight some key features. A social budget: - is prepared on a regular basis; - allows temporal analysis of the evolution of the subject matter; - enforces regular reflection of social issues; - provides the stimulus to establish an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders; - because of its nature, it is used to compare the targets set ex ante with ex post results; - enhances the image and positioning of a company, as well as that of the goods and services produced and supplied by a company; - has considerable potential for accuracy and objectivity; - helps to create a reputation of reliability and transparency as well as a climate of trust with internal and external stakeholders; - boosts motivation and the sense of belonging of staff, which results in an improvement in organizational coordination; and - because it is often attached to traditional financial statements, reaches a large number of social partners. Thus the social budget can be considered the main instrument through which a company aims to improve its image and direct the behavior of various actors with which it interacts. 7 ADOPTION OF THE SOCIAL BUDGET WITHIN POLITICAL PARTIES In 2012 the Democratic Party became the first and only Italian political party to propose a social budget. In its first rendition, this document was prepared according to the principal reporting standards generally accepted in Italy and internationally (Accountability 1000, Global Reporting Initiative, Copenhagen Charter, the Study Group for the Social Report, as well as the Directive of the Minister of Public Function on Social Accountability in Public Administration) (1). One peculiarity of this Party is that it does not allow complete adherence to standards or guidelines that are intended for for-profit companies or associations or other organizations active in the social sector (2). The social budget document provides a broader framework for the Party's activities, illustrating relevant aspects of these activities conducted during the year The data and indicators contained in the social budget make reference to the period from January 1, 2011 to December 31, However, where it was deemed possible and relevant, a proposal was made to compare the 2011 data to that of the previous period. The data was processed and verified by the various heads of Party activities. The social budget was developed with the technical and methodological support of PriceWaterhouseCoopers Advisory SpA, was approved by the Treasurer, and shall be published on the website of the Party (www.partitodemocratico.it). The budget report consists of four main sections, each of which contain analysis and detail: 1) the premise and identity of the Party (including origins and history, vision and mission, and organizational structure); 2) institutional activities (areas of action, projects, results, relationship with stakeholders); 3) resource allocation (resources used in relation to projects, cash flow statement); 4) methodological note (targets for improvement, corrections for future editions of the social budget). Each section on its own constitutes a "container" which can be "filled" (or rather customized). 31

8 CONCLUSIONS From what we have seen, it is clear how the actions of political parties are by their very social projections, as their actions and performance by definition have an effect on society. Creating a social budget within a framework of accountability means being able to organize information to account for institutional performance, representing the achievement of the objectives that are the driving force of political action. From this perspective, the overall accountability of a party is built on two levels: the first is the mandatory level of economic and financial reporting, and the second is that of accountability, which, while not mandatory, allows a party to communicate from a social perspective. For a political party, choosing this type of accountability involves an awareness of the party's goals and the strategy it is pursuing. It also offers the potential for organizational re-evaluation, including improvements in project programming in which political action is substantiated, as well as managerial improvements with a view to increasing self-awareness. These action will give political parties access to tools that can highlight not only the economic and financial impact of the choices made, but their social impact as well. REFERENCES Bandettini, A. (1983). Contabilità sociale dell azienda e bilancio sociale, in AA.VV., Scritti in onore di Pietro Onida, Giuffrè, Milano. Brunetti, G. (2002). Il controllo direzionale alla luce dei problemi del nostro tempo. Intervento presentato al convegno L evoluzione del controllo di gestione nelle aziende italiane. Macerata, 4 5 novembre. Buccellato, A. (1997). I controlli nelle pubbliche amministrazioni: l accountability ed il sistema informativo, in G. Farneti, E. Vagnoni, (a cura di), I controlli nelle pubbliche amministrazioni, Maggioli, Rimini. Campedelli, B. (2003). Comunicazione d impresa: in crescita il ruolo della disclosure sociale, in IR TOP, Anno II, n. 4, Milano, ottobre-dicembre. Campedelli, B., Cantele, S. (2004). Bilancio sociale e gestione aziendale responsabile, alcune riflessioni, Rivista italiana di Ragioneria e Economia Aziendale, n 7-8, Roma. Cavalieri, E. (1987). Aspetti sociali dell informazione economica d impresa, Rivista Italiana di Ragioneria e di Economia Aziendale, marzo, aprile. Coda, V. (2002). Prefazione, in L. Hinna, (a cura di), Il bilancio sociale, Il Sole 24 ORE, Milano. Core, P. (1993). Accountability in the public sector, in Australian public service: pathways to change in the 1990s, Edited by J. Guthrie, North Sydney: IRR Conferences Pty, Ltd. Di Giandomenico, M.E. (2008). Il bilancio sociale e il modulo aziendale etico, Giuffrè, Milano. Grey, R.H., Dey, D., Owen, D., Evans, R., Zadek, S. (1997). Struggling with the Praxis of Social Accounting: Stakeholders, Accountability, Audits and Procedures, in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 10, n. 3. Guarini, E. (2003). Un modello di riferimento per la progettazione dei meccanismi di accountability delle aziende pubbliche, in F. Pezzani, (a cura di), L accountability delle amministrazioni pubbliche, Egea, Milano. Hinna, L. (2002). Quadro di sintesi, in L. Hinna, Il bilancio sociale, Il Sole 24 ORE, Milano. Hood, C. (1991). A public Management for all season?, Public Administration, Vol. 69, Spring. Hoskin, K. (1996). The Awful idea of accountability: inscribing people into the measurement of objects, in Accountability power, ethos and the tecnologies of managing, edited by Munro and Mouritsen, International Thomson Business Press, London. Jenkins, E.G., & Cray R. (1992). Accounting and Environmentalism: An Exploration of the Challenge of Gently Accounting for Accountability, Transparency, and Sustainability, Accounting Organizations and Society. Lehman, G. (1996). Environmental accounting: pollution permits or selling the environment, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 7, n 5. Levaggi, R. (1995). Accountability and the internal market, Financial Accountability and Management, Vol. 11, n 4. Majone, G. (1996). Regulating Europe, Routledge, London. Manni, F. (1998). Responsabilità sociale e informazione esterna d impresa. Problemi, esperienze e prospettive del bilancio sociale, Giappichelli, Torino. Martini, A. & Cais, G. (2000). Controllo (di gestione) e valutazione (delle politiche): un (ennesimo ma non ultimo) tentativo di sistemazione concettuale, in M. Palumbo, (a cura di), Annuario 2000 dell Associazione Italiana di Valutazione. Esperienze e riflessioni, F. Angeli, Milano. Marziantonio, R. (1990). Bilancio: la lente dell immagine, Ipsoa, Milano. Marziantonio, R. (1997). Comunicazione & processi di miglioramento. La cultura d impresa come sistema di scambio, G & M Strategia d Immagine, Milano. 32

9 Matacena, A. (1984). Impresa e ambiente. Il bilancio sociale, Clueb, Bologna. Matacena, A. (2003). L accountability nelle aziende non profit. Laboratorio: Verso il mercato di qualità sociale. Convegno svoltosi il settembre 2003 presso il Centro Universitario di Bertinoro, Forlì Cesena Mulgan, R. (2000). Accountability: An Ever-Expanding Concept?, Public Administration, n 78. Mussari, R. (1996). L azienda del comune tra autonomia e responsabilità, Cedam, Padova. Mussari, R. (1997). L ordinamento finanziario e contabile ed il nuovo modello di ente locale: le ragioni e le opportunità del cambiamento. Il management delle aziende pubbliche. Profili teorici. Azienda Pubblica, n 2, Maggioli, Rimini. Olivier, D. (1991). Government in the United Kingdom: The Search for Accountability, Effectiveness and Citizenship, Milton Keynes Open University Press. Olson, O., Humphrey, C. & Guthrie, J. (2001). Caught in an Evaluatory Trap: a Dilemma for Public Services under NPFM, The European Accounting Review, Vol. 10 n 3. Pallot, J. (1992). Elements of a Theoretical Framework for Public Sector Accounting, Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 5, n 1. Patton, J. (1992). Accountability and governmental financial reporting, Financial Accountability and Management, Vol. 8. Pezzani, F. (2001). Il ruolo dell accountability nella società civile, Azienda pubblica n 4, luglio-agosto, Maggioli, Rimini. Rebecca, G., Borriero, G. (2003). Bilancio sociale, Contabilità, Finanza e Controllo, n. 4, 2003, Il Sole 24 Ore, Milano Ricci, P. (a cura di) (2005). Enti strumentali regionali e loro accountability: il caso Campania, F. Angeli, Milano. Rinaldi, L. (1988). Il bilancio del partito politico, Giuffrè, Milano. Roberts, & J., Scapens, R. (1985). Accounting system and system of accountability understanding accounting practices in their organizational context, Accounting Organizations and Society, Vol. 10. Roberts, J. (1991). The Possibilities of Accountability, Accounting Organizations and Society, Vol. 16. Santosuosso, P. (2012). Valori etici nell economia aziendale, Giappichelli, Torino. Servalli, S. (2005). Possibili percorsi di accountability nel partito politico, Rusconi, G., Dorigatti, M. (Ed. by) Modelli di rendicontazione etico-sociale e applicazioni pratiche, F. Angeli, Milano. Sinclair, A. (1995). The chameleon of accountability: forms and discourses, Accounting Organizations and Society, Vol. 20. Stewart, J. (1984). The role of information in public accountability, Public Sector Accounting, Ed. by A. Hopwood, C. Tomkins, Philip Allan Publishers Ltd, Oxford. Terzani, S. (1985). Introduzione al bilancio di esercizio, Cedam, Padova. Travaglini, C. (1997). Le cooperative sociali tra impresa e solidarietà: caratteri economico-aziendali ed informativa economico-sociale, Clueb, Bologna. Uhr, J. (1999). Three Accountability Anxieties: A conclusion to the Symposium, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 58, n 1. Vagnoni, E. (1998). Linee di rinnovamento nel sistema contabile dell amministrazione dello Stato: note da altri Paesi, Azienda Pubblica n 3, maggio-giugno, Maggioli, Rimini. Williams, P. (1987). The legittimate concern with fairness, Accounting Organizations and Society, Vol. 12, n 2. Willmott, H. (1996) Thinking accountability: accounting for the disciplined production of self. In R. Munro, J. Mouritsen, Accountability: Power, Ethos and the Techologies of Managing, International Thomas Business Press, London. Zavani, M. (2000). Il valore della comunicazione aziendale. Rilevanza e caratteri dell informativa sociale e ambientale, Giappichelli, Torino. Endnotes (1) Social budget models are highly heterogeneous and approach related subject matter from different perspectives: some propose a scheme for the preparation of social budget reports, while others broaden the outlook of the social reporting process, creating a model of stakeholder relationship management. The adoption of these standards is certainly not mandatory, but will have two positive effects: it will strengthen the credibility of the document proposed to citizens and it will make corporate and political social budgets more comparable using benchmarking techniques. There are numerous standard products. For the purpose of classification, it is appropriate to consider the fundamental breakdown between content standards and process. The goal of content standards is to define the structure, form and content of the social budget, while process standards tend to identify a process for social reporting in which activities must promote a change in corporate culture and thus generate more responsible management, both economically and socially. Moreover, process standards outline a real management cycle that enables the company and/or government to improve their economic, social and 33

10 environmental performance. It is possible to say that regardless of the standard used, the process of creating a social budget (for both public and private enterprises) must not be seen as a process that is disconnected from the planning and management of the business. Instead, it must be created in adherence to structural and systematic matters. (2) In general, the social budget of a political party should be guided by the following principles: 1) annual: in terms of time, reporting on management is to be carried out in one single exercise. The social budget will be linked to financial statements, even while presenting itself as a stand-alone document and not as an attachment. In this way, it does not replace but supplements and accompanies the traditional budget; 2) it must be complete in that it references the entire management of a political party, not just a part of it. Obviously, different levels of detail will be included, even while considering management it in its entirety; 3) comprehensibility and clarity of information, which must be designed to allow easy reading for an audience that does not have specific expertise in accounting. As a result, quantitative indicators and accounting technicalities will be limited and supported by other qualitative explanations; 4) accuracy of the data to ensure the credibility of the document to the citizen. The social budget will not have to adhere to the criteria of self-reference, and data must be sourced from assessments that are methodologically appropriate. For this reason, it would be appropriate to subject the document as well as the process that led to its creation to an affidavit; 5) the social budget must be transparent so that people can get a look inside the party structure and understand how to use its resources, thus meeting the notion of the party as a "glass house." In doing so, political parties will be able to give more concrete application to the principle of so-called administrative transparency; 6) significance and relevance of the information to stakeholders so that a judgment can be made with regards to management; 7) value sheet and programmatic reporting. In the political sphere, any financial gaps that are noticed will have to be highlighted and removed as a cause of inefficiency, so as to give feedback on the future planning of the party; 8) orientation and stakeholder assessment for which the social budget is intended. Precisely because it is considered a tool that can be improved based on findings presented by recipients, the budget must be based on a cultural approach that is founded on openness, dialogue, and that involves an exchange between the community and the top leadership of the organization. ADDITIONAL READINGS Anselmi, L. (2003). Percorsi aziendali per le pubbliche amministrazioni, Giappichelli, Torino. Aupperle, K.E., Carrol, A.B. and Hatfield, J.D. (1985). An empirical examination of the relationship between corporate social responsibility and profitability, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 28, n 2. Bartocci, L. (2003). Il bilancio sociale negli enti locali, Giappichelli, Torino. Bertocchi, M., Bisio, L. (2005). Bilancio sociale. La casa di vetro per il governo locale, in Città e Territorio, n 4, aprile. Borgonovi, E. (2006). Principi e sistemi aziendali per le amministrazioni pubbliche, Egea, Milano. Chiesi, A.M., Martinelli, A., Pelagatta, M. (2000). Il bilancio sociale. Stakeholder e responsabilità sociale d impresa, Il Sole 24 Ore, Milano. Comite, U. (2005). Il social accounting negli enti locali: un approccio critico al modello di governance. Italian Journal of Social Policy 2-05, Ediesse, Roma Comite, U. (2005). Il Bilancio Sociale degli enti pubblici: aspetti di corporate governance. Le Corti Calabresi - Quadrimestrale di Giurisprudenza Dottrina e Legislazione Regionale n Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Napoli Comite, U. (2008). Efficacia, efficienza ed economicità: la governance nella pubblica amministrazione, in Azione amministrativa e disciplina di diritto pubblico, Luciani F., Rolli R. (a cura di) ESI, Napoli. Comite, U. (2011). Il ruolo del Bilancio Sociale per il miglioramento dell accountability e delle scelte di governance dei tribunali. Un analisi descrittiva ai fini dell evidenza empirica, Economia Aziendale Online, Business and Management Sciences, International Quarterly Review, Vol. 2 n 1- marzo 2011 (pag ) Pavia University Press Comite, U. (2011). The Managerial Perspective and System of Accountability in Italian Public Administration. Observations on the measurement of effectiveness and efficiency, International Journal of Business Research (IJBR) Vol. 11, number , pp Comite, U. (2012). The Italian Public Administration and the System of Accountability in the Managerial Perspective, Business Management Review, Vol. 1 (12), pp , February. 34

11 Comite, U. (2012) Il sistema di accountability negli enti locali in Contabilità degli enti locali e contrattualistica pubblica, AA.VV., Giuffrè, Milano. Comite, U. (2012). Innovazione e creazione di valore nell amministrazione pubblica in Contabilità degli enti locali e contrattualistica pubblica, AA.VV., Giuffrè, Milano. Comite, U. (2012). Il bilancio sociale nelle amministrazioni pubbliche, in Orefice M., Comite U., Elementi di contabilità pubblica, Direkta, Roma. Comite, U. (2012). Autorità Giudiziaria e Crisi del Sistema Giustizia. Prospettiva Manageriale e Sistema di Accountability negli Uffici Giudiziari, in Paola B. Helzel, Arthur J. Katolo (a cura di), Autorità e Crisi dei poteri, Cedam, Padova. Comite, U. (2013). Governance e accountability negli enti locali: considerazioni, in R. Rolli (a cura di), Lo scioglimento degli enti locali. Una introduzione, Quaderno n , Aracne, Roma. Comite, U. (2013). Il bilancio ambientale quale modello di rendicontazione sociale negli enti locali, in K. Aquilina, P. Iaquinta (a cura di), Il sistema ambiente, tre etica, diritto ed economia, Cedam, Padova. Comite, U. (2013). Accountability e bilancio sociale nei tribunali, Cedam, Padova. De Santis G. & Ventrella M.A. (1980). Il bilancio sociale dell impresa, F. Angeli, Milano. Elkington, J. (2004). La triple bottom line, in G. Rusconi, M. Dorigatti (a cura di), Teoria generale del bilancio sociale e applicazioni pratiche, F. Angeli, Milano. Gabrovec Mei, O. (1993). Il bilancio sociale, Amministrazione & Finanza, n 6, 1993, Ipsoa, Milano. Gabrovec Mei, O. (2002). Bilancio sociale e valore aggiunto, in L. Hinna (a cura di), Il bilancio sociale, Milano, Il Sole 24 Ore. Giusepponi, K. (2004). Il bilancio sociale degli enti locali. Contenuti e relazioni con il controllo di gestione, Giuffrè, Milano. Gruppo di Studio per il Bilancio Sociale, (2001). Principi di redazione del bilancio sociale, Giuffrè, Milano. Gruppo di Studio per il Bilancio Sociale,(2004). Linee guida per la revisione del bilancio sociale, documento di ricerca n 1, Giuffrè, Milano. Gruppo di Studio per il Bilancio Sociale, (2005). La rendicontazione sociale nel settore pubblico, Giuffrè, Milano. Gruppo di Studio per il Bilancio Sociale, (2013). Il Bilancio Sociale Standard, Giuffrè, Milano. Hinna, L. (2002). Bilancio sociale: i punti cardinali, in Hinna, L. (a cura di), Il bilancio sociale, Il Sole 24 Ore, Milano. Hinna, L. (2004). Bilancio sociale nelle amministrazioni pubbliche, F. Angeli, Milano. Manni, F. (2006). Considerazioni sul bilancio sociale in ambito pubblico, Aracne, Roma. Marcuccio, M. (2002). Rendicontazione sociale e aziende pubbliche locali: uno strumento di accountability e controllo strategico, Azienda pubblica, novembre dicembre, 2002, Maggioli, Rimini. Paletta, A., Pieghi M. (a cura di), (2007). Il bilancio sociale su base territoriale. Dalla comunicazione istituzionale alla public governance, ISEDI, Torino. Pozzoli, S. (2006). Bilancio sociale versus bilancio legale?, Azienditalia, n 3, 2006, Maggioli, Rimini. Pulejo, L. (1996). Esperienze in tema di bilancio sociale. Il modello francese. Giappichelli, Torino. Rusconi, G. (1987). Il ruolo del bilancio sociale nel contesto dell economia aziendale, Rivista italiana di Ragioneria e di Economia Aziendale, marzo-aprile, Roma. Rusconi, G. (1988). Il bilancio sociale d impresa. Problemi e prospettive, Milano, Giuffrè. Siboni, B. (2005). Gli standard di contabilità sociale, in G. Farneti, S. Pozzoli, Bilancio sociale di mandato, Ipsoa, Milano. Superti Furga, F. (1977). Note introduttive al bilancio sociale, in Sviluppo & Organizzazione, novembredicembre. Tanese A. (2004), (a cura di), Rendere conto ai cittadini. Il bilancio sociale nelle amministrazioni pubbliche, E.S.I., Napoli. KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS - Company: in business economics, it is an organization of people and equipment whose purpose is the satisfaction of human needs through the production, distribution or consumption of assets. - Social budget: a document by which an organization, be it a business or a public body or association, communicates periodically and on a voluntary basis about the results of its activity without limiting itself to only financial and accounting information. Through the social budget the results of activities and a comparison of activities and objectives are made explicit so as to enable anyone, but primarily the company itself, to assess whether these objectives have been achieved or if additional action is required. - Mission: the mission (or purpose) of an organization or enterprise is the ultimate goal, the justification of its existence, and also that which distinguishes it from other organizations. 35

12 - Performance: a set of processes, methodologies, metrics and systems needed to evaluate and manage the performance (cost / benefit) of an organization. - Public Administration: in the objective sense this is a public function (administrative function), consisting of activities that benefit the interests of society (public interest), which are pre-determined by political headquarters. Subjectively, it is the group of subjects that carry out this function. The adjective "public", which qualifies the term administration, makes it clear that the latter itself has a broader meaning: in effect, any person or entity can carry out activities for their own private interests or for those of relevant communities. - Stakeholder: this term identifies influential individuals in an economic initiative, be it a company or project. Stakeholders are representative of the follwing: customers, suppliers, lenders (banks and shareholders), employees, and external stakeholders, such as residents living in the vicinity of the business or interest groups. - Business strategy: business strategy is the "discipline" that allows a company to create its desired identity within a specific reference environment and to define a plan that will allow the company to realize this identity. This discipline is also the foundation for corporate evaluation. In detail, it suggests the process through which the company projects its identity, indicates the relevant dimensions within which the company operates, and suggests appropriate language for creation of a corporate identity. - Vision: The term vision is used in strategic management to indicate the projection of a future scenario that reflects the ideals, values and aspirations of those who determine objectives and encourage action. The term vision is the set of long-term goals that top management defines for a company. This term also includes a market overview and an interpretation of the role of the company within a long-term economic and social context. Although it is usually used to refer to companies, the term can also be used when referring to associations or organizations in general, as well as in relation to individuals. AUTHOR PROFILE: Prof. Ubaldo Comite was born in Cosenza, Italy, June He took his degree in Law (1994) and Economics (1996) at the University of Messina (Italy), and earned his Ph.D. in Public Administration at the University of Calabria, Rende (Cs) Italy, in Currently he is a professor of Budget and Business Organization in the Faculty of Economics, Department of Business Sciences, University of Calabria. His research interests are: Private and Public Management, Non profit Organizations and Accounting. Faculty of Economics, Department of Business Sciences University of Calabria, Arcavacata - Rende (Cs) Italy, phone and fax , postal address: Via don Minzoni n 149 post code Rende, CS (Italy) 36

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