NGOs learn how to improve public service in Ukrainian cities

11 Nov 2013

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At some point in life each Ukrainian faces a need to get a certificate or a document from the local authorities. Many people anticipate this moment with a dread. According to recent polls, 65% of people were partially or fully 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. NGOs can be very instrumental in improving the situation through public monitoring.  In many countries civil society organizations serve as watchdogs and help to establish effective feedback loop between the authorities and citizens. One of the most effective instruments in this regard is a so-called "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.

The UNDP-EU project «Smart Practices of Oversight by Non-State Actors on Administrative Service Provision», aims to strengthen capacities of the civil society organizations to monitor and oversee the administrative service provision in municipalities in order to improve them. It has created the Reference Centre on the basis on the Lviv CSO Samopomich that has years of experience in the field.

On November 4, the project has presented a guidebook to help NGOs do the monitoring"Participation  of Civil Society in Monitoring of Public Service Delivery: Legislative Regulation and Existing Practices”  more effectively and efficiently. Entitled, the publication analyzes existing legislative and normative regulation framework of administrative services provision and citizen’s participation in monitoring and supervision over its quality. It also includes detailed case studies of effective public monitoring from abroad and Ukrainian municipalities.

The guidebook covers a number of issues related to public monitoring, including step-by-step tips on applying a "secret client" method to identify the problems and develop recommendations for improvement of municipal enterprises operation (based on Lviv and Voznesensk examples); surveying the  clerks who are  providing public services and clients for  measuring adherence to the rule of law principles in the most distressed urban settings (based on example  of Feodosiya); gauging customer satisfaction with the quality of administrative services in CASP (based on examples of  Voznesensk and Ivano- Frankivsk); conducting  public expertise of the implementation of programs related to social protection of citizens (based on example  of Slavutych); and  using   exit poll to survey public services clients (research of the  Center for Political and Legal Reforms ).

Each example is supplemented with a clear problem statement, detailed description on how to solve it, the necessary people and financial resources, the achieved results and contact details of people who can provide further advice and guidance.

The Project also plans to provide 15 small grants to CSOs to implement their monitoring initiatives at the municipal level. On November 4 in Lviv representatives of 30 CSOs from different regions of Ukraine attended training on effective methods of public monitoring of administrative services and learned the positive experience of the city in this area.

The training participants were excited to learn that public service can be provided in a very efficient and professional manner. According to Olexander Chepur, representative of the Poltava Oblast Youth NGO "Tviy Svit/Your World" who was impressed and eager to share what he has seen with his colleagues: "The employees of the Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk Centers for Administrative Services Provision that we visited differ a lot from the traditional image of the public officials. They communicate with their customers easily, and the centers are not afraid to engage the non-governmental organizations to public monitoring of their services. These institutions managed to make their service delivery processes citizen-oriented”.

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The guidebook "Participation  of Civil Society in Monitoring of Public Service Delivery: Legislative Regulation and Existing Practices”,  can be downloaded here.

If you wish to receive a hard copy of the publication by mail, please contact  Galyna Smirnova, the Project  Monitoring and Communication Officer,  via email galyna.smirnova@ undp.org.