10 CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING THE REGULATORY CONDITIONS FOR PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IN THE AC “Association for Community Self-Organization Assistance” together with regional partners held a comprehensive interregional study of how the public participates in the processes of communities association and development. Based on the analysis of local normative legal acts adopted in the united territorial communities (AC), and access to the information, we have come to 10 conclusions regarding the regulatory conditions created with respect to public involvement.
MARIYA DZUPIN, analyst in All-Ukrainian NGO «Association for community self-organization assistance»
10 CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING THE REGULATORY CONDITIONS FOR PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IN THE AC “Association for Community Self-Organization Assistance” together with regional partners held a comprehensive inter-regional study of how the public participates in the processes of communities association and development. Based on the analysis of local normative legal acts adopted in the united territorial communities (AC), and access to the information, we have come to 10 conclusions regarding the regulatory conditions created with respect to public involvement. 1. In AC, there are problems with access to public information. Only 17 communities (50%) of total 34 AC councils have official websites, and only 8 sites placed at least one legislative act on which the study was conducted. With regard to information requests, only 1/3 of the total number of Councils provided a response to the first request. As a result, we did not get nearly 40% of the information necessary for the research. Recommendations: 1) For AC Councils – to adopt an internal document which will regulate the procedure for access to public information, to identify the persons responsible for the provision of public information and access to it. 2) For AC Councils with official websites - to publish drafts and acts adopted by the Council and the Executive Committee, subject to the provisions of the Law "On Access to Public Information". 3) For high level government authorities and civil society institutes (CSI) – to organize a series of training for AC officials on access to public information. 2.
There are different practices of regulations adoption by the AC Councils, which should, among other things, resolve public involvement. On average, the Councils provide the legal regulation of approximately 20-45% of the possible tools for public involvement.
Recommendations for AC Councils: 1) to adopt the procedure for holding public consultations with a view to creating legal opportunities for residents to participate in the formation of local policies; 2) to adopt the Regulations on the order of creation and activity of Public Self-Organization Bodies (PSOBs) - village committees, the Model Regulations on the PSOBs. The Regulations should prescribe the mechanisms of interaction of PSOBs - village committees with the AC Councils and headmen; 3) to adopt PSOBs promotion programme with the inclusion of rules on the provision of financial and logistical support. This Act will contribute to the establishment and development of these bodies in the AC villages. 4) to adopt the Regulations on the consultative and advisory bodies.
2. In matters of institute of headmen functioning in the South of Ukraine: ±
Providing a legislative framework for the regulation concerning headmen election financing (except for regular election) at the expense of local budget allows some councils of the amalgamated territorial communities not to hold elections of headmen, giving reasons for such a decision, that they have no funds in the local budget. In this case the obligations of headmen are performed by previous local heads of the communities or anyone else. However, in cases, when acting headman voluntarily retires from responsibility, that happened to Kochubeivska amalgamated territorial community, the head and local council at their discretion make decisions related to the representation of interest of peripheral communities.
Under the conditions, when a legislator does not bound local authorities to call an election of headmen (paragraph 1 of Article 14 of the Law on Local Government), in every community a model and, correspondingly, efficiency of the representation can be different;
In every peripheral community there is a possibility of headmen coalition occurrence in the amalgamated territorial communities, consisting of a great number of communities, in case of electing headmen. Thus, in Baltska amalgamated territorial community, consisting of 16 communities, there is a headman in every community. Accordingly, there are 16 representatives of the peripheral communities in the executive committee according to positions, that in the future will allow them providing a certain balance, when protecting interests of central and peripheral communities;
In the situations with the asymmetric communities, where 2-3 communities join the central one, the influence of one or two headmen on the decisions making is complicated. In such cases, it is important to fix in the Regulation a system of local checks and balances, that will allow blocking decisions of the council, conflicting with the interests of their communities. In this connection, can mention the provision in the Regulation on Headman of Baltska amalgamated territorial community, that provides a headman with a right to adjust draft decisions related to the property of Baltska amalgamated territorial community, located in the territory of the relevant populated locality (village, town) of Baltska amalgamated territorial community;
Only one Baltska amalgamated territorial community of the South of Ukraine (Baltska) developed and downloaded on the Web site the Regulation on Headman, namely, a basic document, regulating the work of headmen, their rights and obligations, powers in the amalgamated territorial community. Rights and obligations of headmen mentioned in the Regulation allow a headman efficient representation of peripheral communities of Baltska amalgamated territorial community
3. In matters of informational support of the amalgamated territorial communities' activity: Insufficient informational support of activity of local councils of the amalgamated territorial communities complicates access of inhabitants, including peripheral communities, to the information related to the activity of councils. Among 10 amalgamated territorial communities of the South of Ukraine only a half of them has own official Web sites. However, information content and data update on the existing sites require improvement. We can take a favorable view of functioning Web sites of Biliaivska and Baltska amalgamated territorial communities, where we can see decisions of the council, advertisements, and useful information. 4. In matters of immediate information of inhabitants of peripheral communities in decision-making processes: The practice of consultations with the inhabitants of the amalgamated territorial communities, including peripheral communities, by means of immediate participation, is not widespread. Only in 3 of 10 amalgamated territorial communities, (Biliaivska, Baltska, Kutsurubska) we found information on the Web sites related to the public consultations concerning the local development. Only 2 Web sites (Kutsurubska, Kochubeivska) have information on availability of the Articles of Association of the amalgamated territorial communities.
RECOMMENDATIONS Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine shall: Âą
At the legislative level regulate a legal status, election procedure, and revocation of authority of headmen. The Ministry of Regional Development of Ukraine together with the representatives of local authorities of the amalgamated territorial communities, institutes of civil society, shall develop a draft Law on Headmen, or prepare required amendments to the Law on Local Government in Ukraine, where:
To define clear criteria, according to which local council of the amalgamated territorial communities has to foresee by its decision, in what villages (towns) a headman shall be elected and on what conditions they can be elected to represent two or more populated localities
Define a term, during which local authority of the amalgamated territorial communities has to call first election of headmen in villages, towns (which are not administrative centers), being members of the amalgamated territorial community
fix a right of headman to be elected as a head of population self-organization entity (village, town committee); define reasons and procedure of early termination of the powers of headman
The Amalgamated Territorial Communities of the South of Ukraine shall ±
approve the Regulation on Headmen with clear definition of rights and obligations of headmen therein, as well as mechanism of checks and balances, allowing headman to protect interests of inhabitants of community, they represent in the local council. In particular, it is necessary to introduce a provision related to the approval by headman of draft decision related to the interests of the peripheral communities
provide headman with premises, where he can receive callers. If necessary, introduce a position of secretary or another employee, who will help headman to exercise his functions, into the staff schedule of the council of the amalgamated territorial communities. Provide headman with the required material and technical resources
develop official Web sites of the amalgamated territorial communities
provide on timely basis inhabitants of the amalgamated territorial communities with complete information on the activity through the official Web sites. Use Web sites for public consultations, on the model of Biliaivska and Baltska amalgamated territorial communities
define helpline, using which people can receive counseling, information in the field of functioning and work of the amalgamated territorial communities
draw up and approve the Articles of Association of territorial community, where to specify clear and realistic procedures of inhabitants' participation, including peripheral communities, in decision-making process
draw up and approve provisions on establishment and work of population selforganization entity
draw up and approve Development Program for population self-organization entity
draw up and approve regulations on interaction between headmen and population self-organization entity
hold, if necessary, but, at least, once in 3 months, general meetings of members of territorial community according to place of residence in villages, towns, which did not join the amalgamated territorial communities, where officials, deputies will report on their work, make important decisions of local significance of this populated localities
introduce practice of establishment and work of population self-organization entities in villages, joined the amalgamated territorial communities, and their interaction with headmen and deputies of the amalgamated territorial communities
communities, which hegemony of one populated locality is peculiar for, regulate at normative legal base budgetary funds distribution proportion between populated localities, which are not members of the amalgamated territorial communities, in order to avoid their exclusive use by the center
POLICY ANALYSTS OF ASSOCIATION:
Andrii Krupnyk expert on public administration and local government
Oleksndra Kalashnikova expert on community development, local government reform, participatory democracy
Mariya Dzupyn analyst, lawyer, expert on local democracy and local governance
Oleksii Kolesnikov expert on election law, local democracy, regional and global policies
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