Photo credit: Andriy Krepkikh / UNDP Ukraine

Over more than 2.5 years of the Parliamentary Reform Project which was implemented by UN Development Programme with the support of the European Union, many changes have been proposed and implemented aimed at strengthening the work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU). The experts worked fruitfully to make Ukrainian parliament more efficient, accountable and transparent in the performance of its constitutional functions – law-making, oversight and representative. It is time to share the most significant accomplishments of the implemented initiative.

Ways to overcome “legislative spam”

Since today the Verkhovna Rada is overwhelmed by a large flow of low-quality draft laws, and the number of existing regulations exceeds 1 million, project experts worked to develop methods to overcome the so-called “legislative spam” through quality planning and evaluation of draft regulations. A methodology for assessing the effectiveness of regulations was developed and piloted in every third VRU committee. In particular, for this purpose the project experts analyzed 45 effective legal acts. All the experience gained is summarized in the Report on the results of cooperation with the pilot committees of the Verkhovna Rada.

Assistance in legal drafting

Experts of the Parliamentary Reform Office actively contributed to drafting Laws 5707 “On Legislative Activity” and 5178 “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine to Improve the Planning Process of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine”. The recommendations were based on the best practices of the European Commission and individual EU Member States, the conclusions of the Venice Commission and the developed analytical materials. Support was provided, inter alia, on planning of draft laws, analysis and assessment of the impact of draft laws, monitoring of legislation, producing a White book on improving the legislative process in Ukraine.

Development of a new organizational culture and producing a development plan of the VRU Secretariat

During December 2019 – April 2020, for the first time, a functional survey of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada was conducted. Based on its findings, the experts prepared recommendations for strengthening its work. The main conclusion was that a change in the functions of individual units of the Secretariat or the procedure of interaction between them is unlikely to bring tangible results without taking into account the new strategic context and fundamental changes in organizational culture. Therefore, with the participation of experts from the Parliamentary Reform Office, a draft Strategic Development Plan of the VRU Secretariat for 2020-2024 was developed and proposals for the Action Plan for its implementation for 2020-2021 were drafted.

Development of the first Human Resources Development Strategy for the VRU Secretariat

To create an effective HR management system, optimize and strengthen the capacity of the Verkhovna Rada, implement modern practices and technologies and build institutional capacity of the parliament, the EU-UNDP project experts have prepared a Human Resources Development Strategy of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine until 2022. To ensure its productive implementation, the project has also developed an  Action Plan for 2020, with 70% of its items have been implemented in full. The implementation of the Strategy enables the staff of the VRU Secretariat to competently and responsibly perform their functions, timely and promptly promote innovation processes aimed at the effective implementation of the powers of the Verkhovna Rada.

Start of professional modernization of the VRU Secretariat

The project took action for the development of parliamentary public service, as well as initiated the implementation of innovative practices of HR management – quality management, corporate culture and implementation of gender equality standards, HR practices for mentoring, staff mobility and talent management.

The project also implemented comprehensive activity for improving the system of training and professional development of staff of the VRU Secretariat and other groups of parliamentary stakeholders. In particular, 18 thematic training courses for professional skills buildings were developed, about 80 training events were organized with the participation of more than 1,000 trainees, and an online training platform of the VRU Secretariat was developed.

Development of internal communications of the Verkhovna Rada

The project approached the development of communications within the parliament comprehensively and on all fronts. The Concept Note of Internal Communications of the Verkhovna Rada was developed and on its basis, an online course on the development of internal communications for the staff of the VRU Secretariat was produced. During March-July 2020, a training programme to increase the communication capacity of the Verkhovna Rada committees was successfully delivered – the staff of the secretariats of the committees mastered modern communication technologies and learned from the experience of experts. In particular, a consultant was assigned to each committee to assist in the development of media plans, content plans and support for their implementation based on the VRU Communication Strategy.

Increasing the efficiency of using social networks

Thanks to the project, the VRU’s online communication capacity has been significantly improved. The 15 pages of Verkhovna Rada committees on Facebook, the Verkhovna Rada’s Facebook page, the Verkhovna Rada Education Centre's Facebook page and the Verkhovna Rada’s Telegram channel received a blue verification badge indicating their official status.

Launch of the first press centre of the Verkhovna Rada

As part of the implementation of the VRU Communication Strategy, with the support of the EU-UNDP project, the concept and design of the first press centre of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was developed, as well as technical assistance was provided to procure furniture and equipment for its installation.

Opening the Education Centre of the Verkhovna Rada

In July 2019, with the assistance of the project, the work of the Education Centre of the Verkhovna Rada was launched. It aims at raising awareness of young people about the activities of the parliament, its functions and role in the system of public authorities. As part of the Centre’s activities, school children and students participate in interactive meetings with MPs of Ukraine, thematic lessons, and field lessons in the regions, as well as mock VRU committee meetings are organized. In 2 years, almost 12,000 school children attended the events of the Education Centre offline and more than 7,000 participated online. In addition to the education component, live communication with representatives of the Verkhovna Rada contributes to increasing trust in the parliament as an institution.

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To support the Verkhovna Rada in implementing the e-Parliament Strategy and paperless operation, as well as for the comfort of citizens, the project has developed a tool for online registration of visitors to the Parliament for guided tours, exhibitions, visits to the Education Centre or other open events.

Comprehensive parliamentary education programme

In the follow-up to studying the peculiarities of the work of the parliament, the EU-UNDP project has developed a Comprehensive parliamentary education programme. Designed for school children, students and adults, it aims to raise awareness of the work of the Verkhovna Rada, tools for interaction with citizens and participation in the legislative process. Based on the education programme, in May 2021, an All-Ukrainian parliamentary lesson was held, which was joined online by more than 35,000 school children. In addition, the programme launched new types of tours around the Verkhovna Rada in the format of quests, as well as developed a learning mobile game application Parliament GO (for iOS and Android) that can tell you more about the Verkhovna Rada, its functions and structure.

Analytics and recommendations for optimizing the legislative process

To improve the legislative process in Ukraine and introduce modern tools of parliamentary oversight, the project experts have produced a number of important analytical publications that assess the legislative process and offer effective solutions to improve the interaction of legislative and executive branches. Including:

Concept note on improving the legislative process in Ukraine

Identifies the key problems of the current legislative process, provides an overview of current approaches to understanding the effectiveness of this process and defining criteria for its effectiveness. Includes conceptual proposals for changes in the legislative process in Ukraine.

Handbook on parliamentary oversight: Practical Tips and Recommendations for Efficiency”

Explains the essence and principles of parliamentary oversight in Ukraine, provides account of its advantages and systemic shortcomings. Contains suggestions on how to effectively use oversight tools, which are based on the results of an in-depth analysis of effective legal acts regulating the work of the parliament and its committees, as well as take into account international and national expertise.

Methodological guidelines and recommendations for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on assessing the effectiveness of the application of legislation

In this guidelines, the project experts comprehensively consider the evaluation of the effectiveness of the application of legislation – from the prerequisites and conceptual and methodological principles to the evaluation process itself.

Proposals to improve examination of draft laws

The publication describes problems of the examination of draft laws (budget, inclusiveness, gender, anti-corruption examination, as well as examination of compliance with EU legislation) and provides recommendations to overcome them. The study will help carry out an in-depth and objective analysis of the regulations and identify possible positive and negative consequences of its approval.

Proposals on the main approaches to planning and monitoring of legislative activity in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

This publication considers different approaches to the organization of planning of legislative activity and analyzes international experience. Focus is made on to the plan of law-making activities of the Verkhovna Rada.

Proposals for the launch of impact assessment and the process of preparation for impact assessment

The publication describes key elements of a comprehensive tool for integrated regulatory impact assessment and its advantages compared to the regulatory impact analysis currently implemented in Ukraine. Provides account of the international experience of regulation and impact assessment and contains proposals for the introduction of such assessment in Ukraine.

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About the project

The EU-UNDP Parliamentary Reform Project was implemented by United Nations Development Programme with the financial support of the European Union from February 2019 to October 2021.

Activities within the project were aimed at strengthening the work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and included 3 key components:

1)       # Rada4Reforms – aimed to promote the role of the parliament in the overall reform process, with a special focus on improving the legislative process and parliamentary oversight.

2)      #ProfessionalRada (#RadaPro) – provided support for professional modernization of the Verkhovna Rada.

3)      #Transparent&Service-OrientedRada – focused on increasing transparency, accountability and communication between the parliament and citizens.

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