New projects aimed at improving the administrative service provision were launched

29 Apr 2013

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A number of new projects financed by the European Union in the framework of the Civil Society Facility have been launched in Ukraine. Their common goal is to improve the administrative services provision throughstrengthening the role and engagement of civil society. One of the new projects named “Smart Practices of Oversight by Non-State Actors on Administrative Service Provision” – is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine. The project aims to improve the delivery of administrative services by local authorities through better public monitoring and creation of effective feedback loop with the civil society organisations.

According to the poll conducted by the “Democratic Initiatives” Foundation and Kyiv International Sociology Institute 65% of Ukrainians are fully or partially unsatisfied with the quality of services provided by the local authorities. Major problems include excessive complexity of the procedures, long queues, lack of necessary information, inconvenient work schedule of the administrative bodies etc. At the same time there are no proper mechanisms to obtain citizens’ feedback and transparent follow-up procedures in place.

This situation is not limited to one municipality or region. Similar situation can be found throughout the country. Strong civil society organizations which in many countries serve as watchdogs and help to establish effective feedback loop between the authorities and citizens could be an answer. However, even though in Ukraine can boast more than 3’900 civil society organizations, the participation in the activities of the CSOs is still among the least important values for Ukrainians (less than 3 points out of 5). Consequently, the index of citizens’ trust towards CSOs is extremely low (2.6 out of 5), meaning that citizens do not perceive the CSOs as viable tool for protecting their rights and do not believe in their efficiency.

«The United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine with the support of the European Union has launched a project «Smart Practices of Oversight by Non-State Actors on Administrative Service Provision», which aims to strengthen capacities of the civil society organisations to monitor and oversee the administrative service provision in municipalities in order to improve them. We have chosen L’viv as our partner since we have good relationsbetween the authorities and the civil society here», said Elena Panova, Deputy Director of UNDP Ukraine.

It is planned to create the Reference Centre for the civil society organisations on the issues of the non-state monitoring of the administrative service provision and establish its effective work on the consultative and advisory support to the civil society organisations of Ukraine. Such a centre will be formed on the basis of the Lviv CSO Samopomich that has years of experience in the field.

The project was developed based on the experience of the "secret shopper" model, whereas specially trained group of volunteers visit local authorities to get some service and develop recommendations to improve the quality of services and submit findings and recommendations reports to the management of the city councils.

In the framework of the project, 15 CSOs from different municipalities of Ukraine will be selected and trained on how to establish dialogue with the local government bodies in order to improve the quality of administrative services they provide. The training programme will include learning the best practices of L’viv municipality, other cities of Ukraine and European countries. Local CSOs will receive small grants from UNDP to implement projects in their cities. Key expected result of the project will be clear and simple system of monitoring of the local authorities’administrative services system.

«In Ukraine, monitoring activities are not rare. Some are aimed against corruption, to enhance transparency,the use of public funds. Unfortunately, the results of such monitoring are not turned into reality. It does not lead to real changes in people’s lives. We plan that the new EU-UNDP project will serve as a good example of how public can influence the quality of life in the cities. We are convinced that during three years of our joint work we will demonstrate the example of real changes for the citizens not only here in L’viv, but in many other Ukrainian cities. We are confident that we can achieve good results and establish a constructive dialogue with the authorities and make sure that our ideas turn into reality.”, added Natalia Mikhnova, head of the civil society organization Samopomich.

«Civil Society Facility has been established by the European Union in order to strengthen the civil society‘s role in monitoring and oversight on the administrative service provision in Ukraine, - said Oleksandra Pershyna, the EU Manager for Civil Society and Human Rights Sector. In 2012 the administrative service provision which include issuance of various allowances, certificates, passports, attestations, assignment of benefits has been declared as the thematic focus of the projects financed from this Facility. According to the survey ordered by the Centre for Political and Legal Reforms and conducted by the Fund “Democratic Initiatives” named after I.Kucheriv and Kyiv International Sociology Institute, today the Ukrainians estimate the quality of the administrative service provision as 3.9 out of 5 points».