How to successfully complete decentralisation: proposals to central government from rayon and oblast councils
At the end of September in Zatoka, Odesa Oblast, representatives of local self-government bodies – heads of rayon and oblast councils, as well as their executive structures – discussed the future of decentralisation and the steps necessary for successful completion of the reform. The event took place as part of the annual All-Ukrainian Seminar of the Ukrainian Association of Rayon and Oblast Councils (UAROR).
After the discussion, they drafted a resolution that outlined the main recommendations of the rayon and oblast councils of the Verkhovna Rada, the President, and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine regarding the continuation and completion of decentralisation.
It is obvious that irreversibility of the reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power will be ensured by its enshrining in the Fundamental Law.
Therefore, local self-government representatives of the oblast and rayon level continue to insist on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine regarding decentralisation in the Resolution.
Representatives of rayons and oblasts also expect reforming of local state administrations into prefect institutions, as well as formation of executive bodies at oblast and rayon councils, from the constitutional changes.
In addition, the resolution states that amendments to the Constitution should enshrine the proper material and resource base of functioning of local self-government bodies.
Decisions to make before local elections
The heads of rayon and oblast councils are unanimous on that in 2020 the next local elections should take place on a new legal and territorial basis of hromadas and rayons.
For this purpose, in addition to the amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine regarding the decentralisation of powers, a number of important decisions need to be made:
- the Law of Ukraine “On Administrative and Territorial Structure” is to be approved;
- the Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of Administrative and Territorial Structure” is to be approved;
- electoral legislation, in particular to ensure equal and proper representation of citizens in councils, is to be amended;
- a new version of the Law on Local Self-Government in Ukraine is to be drafted and approved;
- Budget and Tax Codes of Ukraine are to be amended taking into account the division of powers;
- state supervision over the legality of local self-government decisions is to be introduced.
Voluntary amalgamation has exhausted itself
Self-government representatives of the oblast and rayon levels recommend completing the process of voluntary amalgamation of hromadsa. It is important to keep in mind, however, the accessibility of services to people and hromadas’ capacity to provide the majority of services to the population, as described in the Resolution.
What will rayons do?
The Resolution states that after consolidation of rayons, rayon councils should have clear powers, in particular:
- management and maintenance of common facilities of culture, physical culture, tourism, architectural monuments of rayon significance, as well as management of other communal property and enterprises of communal ownership of hromadsa of the rayon, maintenance of boarding schools of general profile, specialised schools;
- provision of clearly defined specialised medical services, approval of healthcare tariffs, in accordance with the methodology for calculating such tariffs;
- management of labour archives and social assistance homes;
- construction of roads and maintenance of transport infrastructure ofrayon significance;
- set-up of units to deal with the consequences of natural disasters and emergencies;
- protection of the environment, promotion of the development of rayon’s recreational potential;
- promotion of the socio-economic development of rayon, including by attracting investments, grants and international technical assistance.
Co-financing for common assets
Representatives of local self-government of rayon and oblast levels propose legislative enshrining of hromadas’ obligation to co-finance commonly owned facilities, including secondary healthcare facilities, and to co-finance related programme.***
Therefore, the elected authorities in rayons and oblasts fully support the country's vector to decentralisation and see new opportunities as a result of successful completion of the reform. But at the same time representatives of rayon and oblast councils invite the central government to make informed decisions, listen to the opinion of those who will implement these decisions on the ground.
The material was prepared within the framework of the Project of the Ukrainian Association of Rayon and Oblast Councils “Modeling of Administrative and Territorial Structure at Subregional Level”, implemented with the support of the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and Local Government Reform in Ukraine”.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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