The general government transactions information system (Sistema informativo delle operazioni degli enti pubblici, SIOPE) records payments and receipts of general government treasuries electronically. The SIOPE was created jointly by the State Accounting Office, the Bank of Italy, Istat and the banking community, pursuant to Law 289/2002, Article 28. The system is governed by Law 196/2009, Article 14, paragraphs 6-11. SIOPE is managed by the Bank of Italy under a convention of 31 March 2003.
The system began operation in 2003 for State budget payments effected via an expenditure procedure called the “electronic payment order”. It is to be extended to all the general government bodies specified in a list published annually by Istat in implementation of Law 196/2009, Article 1, paragraph 3.
The system serves three purposes:
- furthering knowledge of public finance developments by increasing the amount and timeliness of the data;
- by using a single code for types of entity, overcoming the differences among the accounting systems used by the various parts of general government without affecting the entities’ budget structure;
- fostering coordination between central and local public finances.
A decree of the Ministry of Economy and Finance dated 23 December 2009 abrogated quarterly cash flow observations. This makes SIOPE the main source of data for preparing general government bodies’ consolidated quarterly cash-basis accounts , which must be presented to Parliament under Law 196/2009, Article 14, paragraph 4.
At first the data collected via SIOPE were only made available on the website to the entities involved in the data collection, to help them set budget policy and monitor their cash management. Since 16 June 2014, however, under Article 8 of Decree Law 66/2014 (“Urgent measures for competitiveness and social justice”) the SIOPE data managed by the Bank of Italy are “freely accessible” on the SIOPE website. At present the site, operated by the Bank of Italy, provides the data on:
- practically all sub-national governments and local public institutions (regions, provinces, municipalities, consortiums of municipalities, universities, health units, chambers of commerce, etc.);
- some central government institutions (research institutes, institutes food and livestock prophylaxis);
- central government department payments made via electronic payment order.
Lastly, as part of the harmonization of the budgets of local governments envisaged by Legislative Decree 118/2011 (“Measures regarding the harmonization of the accounting systems and budget templates of regional and local governments and their bodies”), in observance of Law 42/2009, Articles 1 and 2, the present SIOPE codes will be adapted the new accounting plan laid down in Article 8 of the Legislative Decree.