The work of two Administrative Service Centres in new hromadas and rayon centres is too expensive for the state and inconvenient for citizens. It should be brought to an end.
Author: Roman Matviychuk, U-LEAD with Europe Programme expert
Two administrative service centres – ASCs – operate in the cities of oblast significance with the adjoining rayons of the same name: one under the local self-government body and another under the rayon state administration (RSA).
However, the model of two ASCs in one city brings new risks, when it comes to establishment of the ASC in the newly formed amalgamated hromadas (AHs) in the process of decentralisation, the centres of which are also rayon centres.
The main disadvantage is that residents of such hromadas and rayons will not get the proper improvement of the quality of services, because they have to run to various authorities for them. Moreover, none of these ASCs has a complete set of services necessary for citizens and business sector, which is the core value of an integrated office.
Establishment of two ASCs in new hromadas and rayon centres is a problem for the state, as it leads to excessive spending of budget funds. The state finances the same infrastructure twice. Consequently, the state should settle the situation with the chaotic multiplication of the number of the ASCs in rayon centres as soon as possible.
According to government plans, part of RSAs will be transformed into supervisory bodies, with no powers to provide administrative services, and the rest will be reorganised or liquidated. The local self-government body will be in charge of administrative service, therefore, it is necessary to adjust the policy of ASC establishment and development accordingly.
A good solution to this problem is the creation of a single integrated office for the provision of administrative services – a joint “city-rayon” or “rural settlement-rayon” ASC that will serve both hromada residents – the administrative rayon centre, and all other residents of the rayon.
City and rayon ASC can work in two ways.
The first one previews that de jure both ASCs are operating – under the local authorities and RSA, but their workplaces are located in one premises. Organisation of resource support – premises, personnel, funding, work of the front office and back office – is agreed upon on a contractual basis between the local self-government bodies and rayon administrations.
The second suggests that de jure the ASC under the RSA is liquidated, and all services are provided to hromada residents through the ASC of the local self-government bodies, following a coherent decision. At the same time, local authorities assume equipment, logistical and resource support of the ASC, as the funds coming from the paid administrative services will replenish the local budget.
The latter concerns the payment for real estate registration and biometric passports issue. This option is better, especially on a long term horizon. Besides, this option can be considered as a second step in the reform of the ASC of the RSA.
Establishment of a single office has a number of advantages.
1. Greater financial, resource and organisational opportunities, in particular through the attraction of local self-government resources. Local self-government has more budget funds, communal property, and opportunities for attracting international technical assistance.
Under such conditions, ASC receives the appropriate infrastructure, which is an essential condition for quality service provision. It applies to premises, furnishing, office equipment, secure communication channels for passport services.
2. Higher motivation of local self-government bodies to focus on service users. It is connected with the election of political leaders of the local self-government and their accountability to the hromada – in contrast to the hierarchical nature of the appointment of RSA heads and their subordination to the executive authorities.
3. Greater institutional and administrative capacity and flexibility of local self-government bodies in the formation of the ASC personnel and structure, as well as in personnel motivation. A wider range of ASC services is the main advantage for the consumers of services in addition to comfort and better quality of services in the one-stop shop format, especially in the context of the Governmental order No 782 dated 11 October 2017. This document envisages additional provision of social services through the ASC and possibility of integration of the services of civil status registration, vehicles’ registration and issuance of driver’s licenses into the ASC.
In addition to the services of real estate, business and land plots’ registration, the citizens and business entities receive a full-fledged single office. Consequently, establishment of joint city-rayon ASCs, especially in the context of decentralisation, is an important direction in the development of administrative service provision system.
Ukraine has some experience in establishing city-centred ASCs, as for example, in Volodymyr-Volynskyi (Volyn Oblast) and the village of Chemerovtsi (centre of the Chemerovetska AH in the Khmelnytskyi Oblast). A new ASC is being established in the Novoushytska AH.
However, this practice has not become massive because of the contradictions between hromadas’ leaders and heads of rayon state administrations, need for a high level of understanding and interaction between these leaders for the establishment of a joint ASC.
It is important to effectively use the existing ASC infrastructure when establishing a city-rayon ASCs. In spite of all the difficulties, over the recent years, reasonable conditions have been created for the provision of administrative services in some RSAs.
In these cases, such a foundation should be developed and expanded, as funds for the development of the administrative service system need to be invested reasonably. It is also extremely important to maintain a skilled personnel at the ASC, since employees are one of the most valuable resources of any ASC.
Within the framework of the initial phase implementation of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme’s Support to Improved Administrative Service Delivery, seven joint city-rayon ASCs are being established. We hope our work will be useful to hromadas.
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