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«The main purpose of our monitoring studies is providing the local self-government bodies’ officials with recommendations for continued improvements in the level of CPAS services», — Anna Kolohina, coordinator of the UPLAN Network in Dnipropetrovsk Region

Public administration /
Public Service

The UPLAN network of public law and administration has entered the sixth year of its operations. We were created to strengthen the influence of regions on the implementation of various reforms.

We focus our attention on seven areas — constitutionalism and democracy; organization of executive power and civil service reform; activity of public administration; organization and activity of law enforcement bodies; courts and judiciary; prevention of corruption; and local self-government and regional development.

Our main task is to develop analytical products. We work on this both independently and with groups of interested experts and other participants.

Martial law has created a serious challenge for us — to preserve the Network’s membership and activities as much as possible. I can state that we successfully overcame this challenge. Furthermore, we have been expanded by added another partner civic organization, «Volyn Institute of Law». Thus, besides the Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, and Lviv Regions and Kyiv City, we are currently also working in Volyn.

Our Network consists in total of more than 70 experts with individual memberships and 15 collective members – civic organizations.

In 2022, we continued working with our colleagues on monthly monitoring of the main news and messages in four areas: administrative services and administrative procedure, judiciary, local self-government and decentralization reform, and government-public interaction.

We identified certain deterioration in communications between civic organizations and representatives of the authorities. Unfortunately, martial law has led to a certain closedness of the government towards the people. In particular, due to national security reasons, local self-government bodies did not publish many of their own decisions.

The situation slightly improved after the subject of coverage of the authorities’ activities during martial law was regulated. We also noted certain aggravation in the problem of internal communications between different authorities. Incomplete decentralization reform has revealed its negative effects at this difficult time.

However, it can be stated that executive power and local self-governments maintained control over the situation, continuing to fulfill their functions and preserving the viability of territorial communities.

Under the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform umbrella, we developed the area of podcasting. With the participation of our experts, 18 episodes have already been released as part of the «Reforms Guide» series, which are dedicated to administrative services, migrants, and justice.

Our monitoring and podcasts are targeted both at the narrow expert audience and at the general public. Audio is one of the most convenient formats for consuming information. We try to explain in simple words what is happening in the state.

Last year, we also managed to conduct a study of the quality of provision of administrative services in four cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Lviv, using the methodology developed by CPLR. During this work, we focused on the activities of the CPAS and cities’ departments on social protection. We also focused on providing administrative services to internally displaced persons. Currently, the research is at its final stage, the «field» stage has been completed.

That being said, the main purpose of our monitoring studies is providing the local self-government bodies’ officials with recommendations aimed at continuing improvement of the level of CPAS services.

Digests in the area of providing administrative services

The UPLAN network regularly publishes digests on legislative amendments and innovations. We invite everyone interested to learn more about them. In brief, since the introduction of martial law, there have been changes in three main directions in the area of providing administrative services: recovery, extraterritoriality, and digitalization.

Speaking about certain services, our experts recorded both positive and negative trends in our monitoring.

The CPAS system, which recovered among the first and did not stop its activity even during interruptions in access to the registers, has worked well. CPASs have proven that besides providing administrative services, they also can be centers of humanitarian and crisis support for the population. Ukrainians give quite positive feedback on their activities.

The Government has done a lot to make life easier for Ukrainians, including for internally displaced persons – for example, regarding obtaining passport services, state benefits, registration of civil status acts. People obtained the right to receive administrative services in any part of Ukraine (extraterritoriality).

Since the beginning of martial law, many new services have appeared in the Diia app. At the same time, we have to understand that digital services are not a panacea either. Interruptions with access to the Internet and connection make it difficult to work with apps. People still need paper documents that can be carried in case of unforeseen situations.

Good governance

We are guided by the twelve principles of the good governance concept in our activity. In my opinion, the most important among them are the rule of law, openness, and transparency of the authorities’ activity.

Following the rule of law and transparency, in my opinion, the next important principle is competence and capacity. Thus, those people who work in the system of providing public services must be specialists in the area they are responsible for. This greatly affects the quality of provided services. Furthermore, there should be effectiveness and a long-term orientation.

Achieving these principles is a rather long and dynamic process. The UPLAN network, to the extent possible, will facilitate this. I believe this approach is appropriate because society is also dynamically changing and developing.

Challenges in the area of public administration

In reality, people are our most valuable resource. Preservation of public administration largely depends on the moral condition of the officials.

We observe the large migration among women of working age who have children. They represent the main category of employees in the executive power authorities and local self-government.

As a representative of the UPLAN Network in Dnipropetrovsk region, I can state that the heads of the CPASs have largely managed to preserve the human resources; in particular, in the Dnipro City CPAS, it has been preserved at 100 percent.

I am aware that the National Agency on Public Service of Ukraine paid a lot of attention to preserving the personnel potential during 2022: the relevant legislative amendments were developed, as well as a classifier that regulated the issue of remuneration of civil servants. This is highly relevant in current circumstances.

Administrative procedure

Administrative procedure is a foundation of good governance. Adoption of the relevant Law have become an important achievement of 2022. The document provides for unified rules of relations between citizens and the state.

Thus, there is a clear procedure on how decisions should be made by authorities regarding people and businesses. If it we are talking about refusal to provide a certain service, such decision must be justified and explained to the citizens.

The law should enter into force in December 2023. Such delay is necessary for the training of civil servants. Despite martial law and challenging situation, the process of their training did not stop. It is important that a lot of training activity have been already taken place in a2022: online courses and manuals were developed, and trainings are ongoing.

The Ministry of Justice has already reported on reviewing 93% of the laws related to various administrative processes. Only one third of them must be brought into compliance with the Law «On Administrative Procedure».

According to the figures that I saw, 227 documents do not require changes and 139 laws should be brought into line without significant terminological transformations. However, the positive thing is that this is not an obstacle to the entry into force of the mentioned Law.

We hope that, in 2023, there will be positive news in this area and the Law «On Administrative Procedure» will be introduced. As a result, the quality of provision of administrative services will reach a new quality level. The principle of decision-making by authorities will become more civilized. We really are missing out on all these things.

Anna Kolohina,
coordinator of the UPLAN Network in Dnipropetrovsk Region

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