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IT protocol for the Italian Public Administration

Written by Carlo Olivieri - OpenKM Italy on 27 May 2022

In this article, we try to illustrate the digital protocol regulation for public administration and the functions developed within OpenKM for its management.

General rules of the protocol

 Significant recognition in Italy came with Presidential Decree 428 of 20 October 1998, which established the validity of the protocol in IT management. In March 2015, the AGID (Agency for Digital Italy) defined its guidelines.

The protocol management is usually entrusted to a specific office called the Protocol Office. It receives the producer entity's outgoing and incoming documentary material (internal documents are excluded) and annotates it in the register. In the case of an electronic protocol, the data must not be adaptable.

Registration has four elements required by law which are:

  • The progressive number for each element, both incoming and outgoing
  • Date of receipt (also hours and minutes when requested)
  • Sender or recipient
  • Summary of the content (register)

The register, paper or computerized, generally has two pages: one records the incoming documentation, the other the outgoing one. The progressive number must be assigned to grow by counting both the incoming and outgoing documents. Each number must correspond to a single document, even in the case of replies close to the same topic or business.

To these elements are added other accessories: the number of attachments, the competent office, the category (or title), the section number, and, in the case of correspondences, the progressive number of the previous reference document and that of the subsequent answer.

In the case of paper registration, the four necessary elements are affixed to the document together with the stamp of the entity and the signature of the protocol holder.

The computer protocol, on the other hand, after having scanned the document, assigns a code with all the necessary information and attaches it.

Once these registration operations have been completed, the documents are distributed to the individual offices responsible for the subject.

Classification holder

The classification holder is the fifth element in the protocol register: it is not necessary for administrative and legal purposes (its lack or incorrect arrangement does not invalidate the register), but it is now essential to fulfill the archiving obligations.

Through the holder, which is a list of the "categories" or "titles" of an institution, in turn, divided into "classes" or "sections", the documentation is sorted and recomposed during the closing of the current archive.

Close the protocol

At the end of the calendar year, the protocol register must be closed. For electronic protocols, closure occurs automatically; with the new calendar year, the numbering restarts from 1.

It is not allowed and could expose operators to criminal responsibility to leave blank boxes to complete them after 31 December concerning deeds or documents formed or received by that date.

Confidential protocol

A protocol register is a public act. For all those documents that have a particular confidential nature, some entities have also prepared a record called "confidential protocol," which is managed directly by the highest levels of the entity without going through the Protocol Office. For example, in a municipality, only the mayor or maybe the councilors have access to the reserved protocol. In a prefecture, only the prefect, and so on. Accessibility is established by the regulation.

Documents of a personal nature, such as disciplinary letters addressed to employees, or documents containing other data of a sensitive nature, or protected by professional secrecy, are usually recorded in the confidential protocol. The reserved protocol follows its numbering.

Legal validity of the protocol

Each subject must have only one protocol (except for the reserved register) since it is the fundamental link where his memory passes as it is formed.

The registered document, or file, is accompanied by unique codes and fingerprints to enjoy legal validity and is required by law in all public bodies. It is necessary that all four elements necessary for registration are present (progressive, date, sender or recipient, register) and that it is closed and opened regularly and precisely at the beginning of the new calendar year. If these rules are respected, the protocol assumes the character of a public act of privileged faith: that is, it can be used not only for practical or administrative needs, but also in any probative need in the judicial field, and has absolute validity ("authenticity" as proof ), except when falsification is explicitly proven.
The protection that the protocol ensures in court has meant that some private subjects also have a protocol office, completely similar to that of public subjects.

OpenKM has suitable features to ensure adherence to document registration needs, according to the rules defined by the AGID. Not least the flexibility of OpenKM allows you to customize and automate protocol procedures according to the organizational needs of companies with any complexity.
The OpenKM security functions, relationship between documents, document automatisms, and metadata management with context-sensitive fields, adhere to the logic of confidentiality and immutability of the data, as required by law.

Search for registered documents

With OpenKM, document and file search operations are greatly simplified by combining the data recorded for the IT protocol with those obtained from the analysis of the document content. Thanks to "alerts" and "news", the picture is completed to better manage the company's information capital.