How to engage citizens in dialogue with government via ASCs: manual presented in Kyiv
On 25 July 2019, the presentation of the Manual “Informing and engaging citizens. Recommendations for all stages of creating and operating ASCs” (DOWNLOAD 21.9 MB) took place in Kyiv. The manual is a part of the support package that is being developed by the team of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme responsible for improved administrative service delivery for population. Up to 600 full-scale administrative service centres (ASCs) shall be established as part of these activities.
Representatives of communication agencies being leaders at the market, communication experts of the European Union project and specialists from public organisations pro bono joined the event and helped representatives of hromadas to develop plans on informing and engaging the population for specific situations that may occur in the hromada. Professional communicators moderated discussions and shared experiences. After group work, specialists from hromadas presented the developed plans on informing and engaging residents, and experts gave them advice and recommendations for the future. More than 50 representatives of hromadas from all over Ukraine took part in the event. The participants were greeted by Taras Lylyk on behalf of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine and Nataliia Starostenko on behalf of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
Nataliia Starostenko, Sector Manager, Local Development at the European Union Delegation to Ukraine, welcomed the participants and noted: "After implementation of the decentralisation reform, local self-government has gained more authority and at the same time responsibility for improving the quality of life of its residents. The participation in decision-making processes is extremely important for the effective management and sustainable development of the regions. Raising awareness and attracting people to dialogue is one of the most important tasks of the government, which aims at the efficient and harmonious development of the hromada. The manual made by the U-LEAD with Europe Programme is an effective tool that hromadas can use in practice to communicate social changes. The EU will continue to support the improvement of the well-being of Ukrainian hromadas and the development of regions."
Olena Konoplia, Head of the Communication Team, Office of the Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, spoke about the best practices of communication for European integration of Ukraine and stressed, "Since we have to explain to people quite complex concepts, reforms or bills, we must speak simple, understandable language. Without this, communication will be ineffective. But it is also very important to always find and explain the practical benefits that residents will receive from the introduction of changes, and the theory in these matters is not clear. People are always more interested in listening to changes in their lives in practice."
Astrid Kohl, Team Leader, Communications, Dialogue and Networking Team of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, presented the best practices on engaging population in amalgamation processes and admitted, “Direct communication between authorities and residents is extremely important. The U-LEAD with Europe Programme works with citizens at all levels, especially at the local level through the Local Government Development Centres, established in each oblast. Communication helps to ensure people's confidence and engage them in the decision-making process, which contributes to further amalgamation and development of hromadas. Strengthening local self-government is an important goal of decentralisation, which is impossible without the engagement of the residents”.
The manual of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme provides practical recommendations on informing the population at all stages of ASCs creating and operating, as well as advice on developing a plan for engaging residents in dialogue with the authorities and their impact on the hromada development. "In this manual, we concentrated on the whole experience gained during the creation of the 26 ASCs of the Roll-up Phase, and attracted highly professional communicators to create hromadas planning to open an ASC, new institutions or infrastructure facilities, and practical instructions are ready for use,” noted Tamara Beresh, coordinator of institutional support to improved administrative service delivery for the population of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme.
All manuals of the Programme are available on the site on support to improved administrative service delivery for the population: https://tsnap.ulead.org.ua/library.
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