This study aims to understand the long-term success of a best practice approach in the Italian administration. Based on a previous work, it re-examines a population of projects in order to understand the reasons and forces that have sustained the populatity of the model through time. By focusing in-depth on the local appropriations of the best practice idea and the forces at work in this context, the research maps its local translations and reconstructions. It then shows how actors have tailored the idea according to their own interests, supporting its spread. This means that although the concept has brought changes, these were not 'wholesale' and must be understood according to the local situation and the actors involved in the process. Bearing that in mind, the study concludes that the notion of best practice has been mainly used for legitimacy and as a tool for transparency and to influence policy making.