When shall Ukrainians receive access to transparent electronic services? Research results

16 Jun 2014

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June 16, 2014, Kyiv: The experts have presented the results of the research "100 municipalities - a step forward: Monitoring of the introduction of e-governance tools as a basis for administrative services provision in electronic form." The study was carried out by CSO Podillya agency for regional development under support of the EU and UNDP Project "Smart Practices for Oversight by Non-State Actors on Administrative Service Provision."

 

Since the beginning of 2014, 15 Civil Society Organisations are implementing public monitoring initiatives in 23 Ukrainian municipalities to identify problematic aspects of administrative services provision and develop recommendations for their improvement. The projects are implemented under support of the EU and UNDP Project "Smart Practices for Oversight by Non-State Actors on Administrative Service Provision." One of the organizations - CSO "Podillya agency for regional development," in coalition with the Association of Ukrainian Cities, Transparency International Ukraine, and Civic Network "OPORA" - has  assessed the usage of e-governance elements by the city councils of the 100 largest municipalities in Ukraine, as well as their efforts to promote transparency in local decision-making, eliminate corruption, raise the quality of administrative services provision and mobilise the local community.

 

The research became one of the largest to date in this area and allowed assessment of the level and quality of e-governance tools’ usage, which is the basis for the electronic administrative services development. Also, it helped to analyze the changes that happened during the year, identifying trends and existing problems. Based on the results of the monitoring, the recommendations will be developed for national and local level government bodies to raise the efficiency of the e-governance introduction in local governments’ operation and e-readiness of Ukrainian municipalities to provide online services.

 

The research rates 100 largest Ukrainian municipalities based on five indicators: access to information, feedback from the public, administrative services and access to public information, and electronic document flow system.

 

In terms of the overall indicator, the municipalities of Rivne, Vinnytsya, Lviv and Sumy led the ranking. The first dozen municipalities also include Kamyanets-Podilskiy, Boryspil, Pavlograd, Odesa and Schostka.

 

According to the "access to information” indicator, the municipalities of Rivne, Sumy, Vinnytsya and Kamyanets-Podilskiy are ahead of others. According to the study, 90% of city councils pay sufficient attention to filling external web-portals. However, there are still many challenges such as poor usage of interactive tools (only 29% of sites received more than half of the possible points). According to the indicator "feedback from the public," the leading cities are Berdyansk, Vinnitsya, Lviv, Sumy, Ternopil, Lysychansk and Mariupol. While the majority of web-sites offer the opportunity to submit a request for public information through e-mail and publish statistics on public appeals, there is virtually no opportunity to assess [“assess” or “access”?]the website and contact the dispatching service of the city in real time via online chat.

 

According to the "Administrative services and access to public information" indicator, the municipalities of Lviv, Vinnytsia, Boryspil and Gorlivka got the highest scores. The list and description of administrative services provided by local authorities and templates of requests for public information are present at the majority of the web-sites. Mostly, the web-sites offer an opportunity to download application forms for a receiving administrative service. At the same time, not enough attention is paid to privacy policy (user authentication and security of personalized data entered by the user to the web-site). Often there are no mechanisms or procedures through which citizens can present their interests or otherwise influence the operation of the local self-governance body or track the status of processing applications for administrative service provision.

 

The study has analyzed the work of the Centres for administrative services provision (CASPs). The physical infrastructure of CASPs is mostly provided at the appropriate level in the assessed cities as almost all CASPs have information boards, areas to fill in the documents, and places for waiting in the queue. The mechanisms are in place for receiving clients’ feedback through the book of comments and suggestions and the box for citizens` feedback and complaints.

 

The challenges in services provision are the lack of information of electronic self-service terminals, electronic queues, lack of opportunities to make an appointment to visit CASP online, and additional services (copy, banking, etc.).

 

In addition, the access to CASP for people with disabilities should be improved, as only 8% of CASPs are equipped with special bathrooms, 4% are equipped with adapted informational self-service terminals (located on a lower level than usual), 4% of CASPs doors are equipped with call buttons, and only in 1% of CASPs will  the duty officer provide assistance to people with disabilities in case of need. Vinnitsya, Ivano-Frankivsk and Cherkasy chair the rating of CASPs.

 

Kyiv, Lutsk and Vinnytsya are leading in the category "electronic document flow system." Internal electronic document flow which covers all stages of document creation or receipt to completion or transfer has been introduced in 45 cities (compared to 32 in 2013).

 

The speakers at the press conference were Oleg Levchenko, Executive Director of "Podillya agency for regional development;" Olena Ursu, Project Manager of the EU and UNDP Project "Smart Practices for Oversight by Non-State Actors on Administrative Service Provision;" Volodymyr Slyshynskyy, Deputy Mayor of Vinnytsya; and Volodymyr Romanenko, Director of Information Technology Department of Vinnytsya City Council.More information about the event can be found here.