Analysis of the New Procedures for Telematic Verification of Sureties in the Public Contracts Sector

uomo che scrive la nuova procedura della verifica digitale della fideiussione bancaria

Article 106 of Legislative Decree 36/2023, which introduces the new Public Contracts Code applicable from January 1, 2024, marks a significant turning point in the digitization process of sureties.

With the aim of increasing efficiency, transparency, and security of transactions in the public sector, the decree provides that sureties must be issued with digital signatures and be verifiable telematically.

This approach aligns with the indications provided by the National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC), which aims to counter corruption and promote transparency in public administrations.

Technological and Regulatory Implications

The last period of paragraph 3 of Article 106 introduces specific requirements for the issuance and verification of sureties. 

The requirement that these must be “verifiable telematically by the issuer” or “managed through the use of platforms operating with technologies based on distributed ledgers” (blockchain) imposes on issuers, mainly banks and insurance companies, the adoption of advanced technological solutions. 

The characteristics of these platforms must comply with the standards defined by the Agency for Digital Italy (AgID), thus ensuring the security and reliability of the process.

The request for compliance with specific technological standards poses some challenges. On one hand, banks and insurance companies must invest in blockchain technologies and advanced digital signature systems. On the other hand, they must ensure that these technologies are easily accessible and verifiable by public entities, so as not to hinder the process of verifying sureties.

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Challenges for Issuers

The indications of ANAC and the requirements established by the new Public Contracts Code entail potentially burdensome and complex procedures for issuers of sureties. The implementation of systems based on distributed ledger technologies requires specific expertise and investments in cybersecurity, in addition to the need to continuously update platforms to comply with evolving technical and regulatory standards.

Furthermore, the digitization of the process of issuing and verifying sureties raises issues related to privacy and data protection. Issuers must ensure that sensitive information is handled in compliance with the current legislation on the protection of personal data, such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) at the European level.

Opportunities and Benefits

Despite the challenges, the introduction of telematic procedures for managing sureties offers numerous advantages. Digitization and the use of blockchain can significantly improve process efficiency, reducing verification times and increasing the transparency of operations. The traceability and immutability guaranteed by blockchain technology can also help reduce the risk of fraud and manipulation, increasing trust in the public contracts system.

The transition to telematic verification of sureties, as envisaged by Article 106 of Legislative Decree 36/2023, represents a significant challenge for the banking and insurance sectors. However, if managed correctly, this innovation has the potential to positively transform the landscape of public contracts in Italy. Constructive dialogue between institutions, surety issuers, and technology providers will be crucial to ensuring that the new procedures are effectively implemented, while ensuring the security and protection of personal data.

What is ANAC responsible for?

The National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC) is an independent Italian body established to prevent and combat corruption within the Public Administration. Its creation has been strongly influenced by the need to address growing concerns regarding transparency, integrity, and efficiency in public administration and public contracts. ANAC was founded following the evolution and merger of previous entities with similar functions, assuming a central role in Italy’s corruption prevention system.

Main Functions and Duties of ANAC:

  • Corruption Prevention: ANAC develops and periodically updates guidelines for corruption prevention within public administrations, supporting them in drafting corruption prevention plans.
  • Transparency: It promotes and monitors the implementation of transparency policies in public administrations, considering transparency as a fundamental tool for preventing corruption.
  • Evaluation and Oversight of Public Contracts: ANAC carries out supervision activities on the adequacy of public contract award and execution systems to ensure compliance with regulations and prevent corrupt practices.
  • Regulation: It issues regulations and guidelines to ensure efficiency and transparency in public contract award processes, including defining standards for business qualification and contract award.
  • Whistleblowing: It manages reports of misconduct (whistleblowing) made by public or private employees, protecting the identity of whistleblowers and ensuring that reports are adequately investigated.
  • Training and Awareness: ANAC organizes training and awareness activities to promote a culture of integrity and legality within public administrations and society.
  • Monitoring and Sanctions: It monitors compliance with anti-corruption rules and can exercise sanctioning powers against entities or individuals violating legal provisions on corruption prevention and transparency.

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology is a data structure that allows for the creation of a digital ledger of transactions and sharing it among a distributed network of computers. It is best known as the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but its applications go far beyond. Blockchain is based on principles of decentralization, transparency, and security. Here are some key aspects that help understand this technology better:

  • Decentralization: Unlike traditional systems where data is stored in a central server, blockchain distributes data across a vast network of computers. This means there is no single point of control, making the system more resilient to failures and cyberattacks.
  • Transparency: All transactions recorded on the blockchain are visible to all participants in the network. Each participant can independently verify transactions, contributing to a trusted environment.
  • Immutability: Once a transaction is confirmed and added to a block on the blockchain, it cannot be changed or deleted. This ensures the integrity of the transaction ledger and prevents fraud and manipulation.
  • Blocks and Chains: The blockchain consists of a series of “blocks” linked in a “chain.” Each block contains a set of transactions that have been verified by the network. Once a block is full, it is closed and linked to the previous block, forming a chronological chain of all transactions.
  • Mining and Consensus: The creation of new blocks and verification of transactions are carried out through processes called “mining” and consensus mechanisms. These processes ensure that only valid transactions are added to the blockchain and that all participants agree on the current version of the ledger.
  • Smart Contracts: Another important feature of blockchain is the ability to execute “smart contracts” – self-executing digital contracts when specific conditions are met. This allows for the automation of agreements and operations without the need for intermediaries.

The applications of blockchain extend to numerous sectors, including finance, logistics, healthcare, law, and many others, offering solutions for traceability, data security, reduction of operational costs, and process efficiency.

In summary, blockchain is a revolutionary technology that promises to transform the way information and value are exchanged in various sectors, providing a level of security, transparency, and efficiency previously difficult to achieve with traditional systems.

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